Safety vs. Self Determination: Decisions While Leaving the Hospital
By: Charissa Eaton, MSW, PhD, Associate Professor
Social Work Department, Winona State University
The largest segment of the population in the United States discharged from acute care hospitals are people 65 and older. Many of these older adults leave hospitals with on-going care needs whether they return home with services or temporarily or permanently relocate for post-acute care. In Minnesota, social workers and nurses employed by hospitals assist older adults and their families make decisions about their needs upon discharge. These decisions are influenced by the wishes of the older adult and their families, the safety of the plan, and the context of the Western medicine.