Social Work Intervention Focused on Transitions "SWIFT"


Phase N/A Results N/A

Trial Description

In response to Program Announcement (PA)-09-164, "NIH Exploratory/Developmental Research Grant Program (R21) a randomized pilot study testing the efficacy of SWIFT: Social Work Intervention Focused on Transitions among at-risk older adults following hospital discharge to home. This study is drawn from several observations. First, transitions between care settings create elevated risk for poor outcomes and for readmission among older adults leaving the hospital for home largely due to fragmented care and poor communication. Next, while few studies exist that test methods to improve transitions, those available are largely medically focused, using a nurse or advanced practice nurse in their approach. Although evidence exists to support the effectiveness of these models, few have been replicated and none have been integrated into standard health care practice. This may be attributed to several factors including the availability of the needed staff, the lack of existing structures to support these roles, and the costs of implementing these interventions. Finally, a social work driven intervention may provide a replicable mechanism for bridging medical care, addressing psychosocial needs as well as medical needs, and improving linkages with community services while reducing care duplication. This study aimed to test a structured social work transition intervention model to reduce rates of hospital readmission and medical service use while improving patient satisfaction with the care transition process. A randomized pilot study was used to test a social work transitions model designed to improve care provided to frail older adults being discharged from the hospital to return to the community. Eligible patients consenting to participate (n=181) were randomly assigned to either the social work transitions model intervention or usual care. This project was conducted at Huntington Hospital, a 525-bed, nonprofit, community hospital located in Pasadena, California. In an average year, Huntington Hospital has approximately 10,000 older adults discharged from their facility, 44% of who are 80 years old or older. Those randomized to the intervention arm received up to six sessions from the social worker, at least one provided in the home. The social work intervention was designed to overcome common problems following hospital discharge including medication review, discussion and planning around discharge instruction, assistance in scheduling follow up appointments, assessments of psychosocial and other support service needs and provision of linkages to address those needs. Outcomes were measured three and six months following arrival at home, with an interim measure of satisfaction at 10 days following arrival at home, with measures including patient level of depression, pain, physical functioning, self-efficacy with disease management, and medical service use.



  • SWIFT home intervention Other
    Intervention Desc: 1 in-home assessment performed by study social worker, another in-home visit performed if needed. Up to 4 telephone contacts performed by study social worker. A maximum of 6 contacts
    ARM 1: Kind: Experimental
    Label: Intervention

Trial Design

  • Allocation: Randomized
  • Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
  • Purpose: Health Services Research
  • Intervention: Parallel Assignment


Type Measure Time Frame Safety Issue
Primary 30-day hospital readmission 30-days post hospitalization No
Secondary Intervention opt-out 30-days No