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Hospitals Help Their Patients—at Home

To reduce readmission rates, hospitals help discharged patients with rides to the doctor and home-delivered meals.

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— OJO Images/Getty Images

That’s a sentiment that patients like 84-year-old Elizabeth Schickel can understand. Eye problems had forced her to give up driving. After her surgery in April, Schickel wasn’t sure how she would get back to Rush for her follow-up appointment. A Rush social worker told her about free rides available from the city. “That was really helpful,” Schickel says. “You don’t know those things unless someone calls you and tells you.”

Donald Musil, who has been in a wheelchair since a fall last year, didn’t need the help of a Rush social worker—but his wife did. Susan Musil says she was emotionally drained from caring for her 73-year-old husband. She worried that her stress could affect his health. When she asked the rehabilitation center treating her husband to help her find counseling, the staff gave her the only number it had—for a crisis hotline. A Rush social worker, however, found a counseling agency that specialized in therapy for caregivers and even checked back with Musil after her first appointment.

“When she called,” Musil says, “it was just a breath of fresh air.”

As for Katherine Ellis, she, too, had a fresh start thanks to the Rush program: She hasn’t been back in a hospital since she left Rush almost seven months ago.

Phuong Ly is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

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