For any patient, there are a variety of settings where care may take place—such as at home, at a hospital, or at an inpatient facility. Within a certain setting, there may also be differences in the type of patient care offered—such as is the case with different departments within a hospital. Transitional care refers to care that is administered in between different care settings when patients are moved from one setting to another.
Transitional care is particularly necessary if a patient actively requires care during transport, such as if a patient with a serious but manageable condition is moving from the hospital back home, or if a hospitalized patient’s condition has deteriorated and they are being moved to the ICU.
However, transitional care also technically includes any movement of a patient, such as if a patient visits their primary care physician and then a specialist afterwards. Communication between the primary care physician and specialist would technically be classified as transitional care.