Post-hospital care for the underserved: a review.

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Policies that encourage rapid discharge of hospitalized patients often fail to consider barriers that underserved populations face in gaining access to post-discharge facilities such as nursing homes. Because of these barriers, long-stay patients (LSPs) remain hospitalized even after the successful treatment of their acute medical conditions. While the number of LSPs has increased in recent years, the plight of these patients has not been thoroughly examined. This review summarizes the characteristics of LSPs, the obstacles they encounter in obtaining post-acute care, and the potential impact of health care reform on access for underserved LSPs. It also discusses issues that policymakers must address to improve this populations's access to post-acute care.

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