Hospitalization and post-discharge care in South Africa: A critical event in the continuum of care

Cody Cichowitz, Rachael Pellegrino, Katlego Motlhaoleng, Neil A. Martinson, Ebrahim Variava, Christopher J. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives The purpose of this prospective cohort study is to characterize the event of acute hospitalization for people living with and without HIV and describe its impact on the care continuum. This study describes care-seeking behavior prior to an index hospitalization, inpatient HIV testing and diagnosis, discharge instructions, and follow-up care for patients for patients being discharged from a single hospital in South Africa. Methods A convenience sample of adult patients was recruited from the medical wards of a tertiary care facility. Baseline information at the time of hospital admission, subsequent diagnoses, and discharge instructions were recorded. Participants were prospectively followed with phone calls for six months after hospital discharge. Descriptive analyses were performed. Results A total of 293 participants were enrolled in the study. Just under half (46%) of the participants were known to be living with HIV at the time of hospital admission. Most participants (97%) were given a referral for follow-up care; often that appointment was scheduled within two weeks of discharge (64%). Only 36% of participants returned to care within the first month, 50% returned after at least one month had elapsed, and 14% of participants did not return for any follow up. Conclusions Large discrepancies were found between the type of post-discharge follow-up care recommended by providers and what patients were able to achieve. The period of time following hospital discharge represents a key transition in care. Additional research is needed to characterize patients' risk following hospitalization and to develop patient-centered interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0208429
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Hospitalization and post-discharge care in South Africa: A critical event in the continuum of care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this