Why Preventing Rehospitalizations is Crucial in the Long-Term Care Industry
Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a study to look at the rate of readmissions or rehospitalizations in the skilled-nursing-facility industry. The report, conducted by Yale New Haven Health Services, was meant to pinpoint the incidence of rehospitalizations within a 30-day period and determine how many were planned versus unplanned. Other studies targeting the uptick in rehospitalizations noted that most unplanned hospitalizations typically occurred after a patient experienced pneumonia or sepsis, with septicemia being the single most recurrent factor for rehospitalization.
Rehospitalization is a recurring problem for both short- and long-term care facilities, an issue that has prompted CMS to create the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP). The HRRP is value-based and automatically reduces payments to facilities that have an inordinately high rate of readmission to encourage better communication and a higher quality of care.
Reducing rehospitalization rates is not just important for facilities and payment systems—it is crucial for the ongoing, proper care of residents of assisted-living and skilled-nursing-care facilities.
Some Typical Reasons for Rehospitalizations
There are many potential reasons a patient may be rehospitalized. Readmissions are more likely to occur if:
- Patients or their families are not properly informed of care priorities once the patient has been discharged from the facility. Caregivers may not fully understand their loved ones’ treatment plan or processes—or both.
- There is a lack of collaboration between hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and physician care teams that results in care inconsistencies and poor communication.
- There is a lack of proactive, post-discharge care as opposed to management by crisis.
Finally, in some cases, the patient may be discharged before they were fully ready. In fact, one study showed that 31% of patients did not meet discharge requirements.
Three Significant Reasons Why Rehospitalizations Must Be Minimized
There are many reasons why rehospitalizations can cause problems not only for healthcare facilities, but also for patients and their families:
Readmission to a care facility can be stressful for both patients and their families, particularly when there are concurrent stays within a short period of time. Daily stressors can have a negative impact on the body’s immune system. For the elderly, especially those living in short-term or long-term care facilities, this can lower their immune response to infections and disease.
Impact to Facilities
When patients are discharged, a facility might fill their spot with another patient, reducing capacity if the patient must return. Such overcrowding may increase the burden on caregiving staff and physicians, resulting in longer work hours and, in turn, poorer care standards. In one analysis, patients in facilities with a higher staff-to-patient ratio experienced fewer readmissions than other facilities.
Shortage of Beds
Many times, family member can become overwhelmed caring for a loved one with dementia. In these cases, a skilled nursing facility becomes an important partner. However, there is a significant shortage of nursing-home beds, which can cause families great difficulty in managing their loved ones’ increasing healthcare needs. This shortage can cause significant problems for readmission cases where their spot has been given to another patient in need, resulting in stress on both patients and families.
Brickyard Healthcare—Putting Patients First
At Brickyard Healthcare, we believe in putting our patients, residents, and their families first. We do this by ensuring that we can provide the highest-quality nursing care possible. We do that by actively monitoring our residents to ensure that they are only discharged when they are truly ready and prepared for the next step in care.
In addition, we actively recruit caregivers with high-level knowledge, and we ensure that all our facilities are adequately staffed. This strategy helps us not only bring appropriate care to our residents, but also gives us the ability to spend the appropriate amount of time collaborating with other facilities, physicians, and partners while ensuring family members are kept in the loop through clear communication.
Sometimes, readmissions are necessary, especially among elderly persons. However, unnecessary rehospitalizations put undue stress on both patients and their families, so we do everything possible to avoid them. If you have a loved one that needs short-term or long-term care, we have the right facilities, staff, and heart to provide the absolute best experience. If you want to learn more, please call us at 855-855-8113 or contact us here.