Facilitating Smoother Care Transitions

​Transitioning patients between settings has always been a bit of a roller coaster: improving, then facing challenges, then put on the back burner. The COVID pandemic brought the issue front and center, and many hope this is the start of a smooth ride. The need for clear, real-time communication between settings became a priority, and many organizations developed new systems and processes. However, while we’ve made strides, there are still gaps that need to be filled and opportunities for improvement.

https://www.providermagazine.com/Monthly-Issue/2022/NovDec/Pages/Facilitating-Smoother-Care-Transitions.aspx

A Simple Fall Prevention Strategy Comes to Light

Reducing the number of falls in long term care facilities is a goal for everyone. Current strategies to reduce falls typically include complex, multicomponent interventions requiring significant resources, staff time, and resident education. To be sure, these measures help mitigate the risk and reduce the number of falls at nursing homes and senior care facilities; but there is one novel approach that has been theorized over the last decade that has been recently validated through research and come to light.

Read more by going to https://www.providermagazine.com/Topics/Guest-Columns/Pages/2022/A-Simple-Fall-Prevention-Strategy-Comes-to-Light.aspx

AHCA/NCAL Highlights Nursing Home Quality Improvements Over The Past Decade

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) released a new report today highlighting data that shows the quality of care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) has been on an upward trend in the 10 years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information collected by the federal government proves that industry-wide efforts to raise the standard of care have benefited long term care residents across the country.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Nursing homes welcomed approximately 3.5 million admissions from hospitals each year for the past decade, and nearly two-thirds of those patients were able to return home after receiving rehabilitation therapy from SNFs.
  • Since 2011, 8.7 percent fewer residents were sent to the hospital during their nursing home stays.
  • On average, nurses were putting in an additional 198 total hours of care per nursing home each quarter.

One out of three nursing homes received four or five stars from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for staffing.

Fewer than one in seven nursing home residents are receiving antipsychotic medication – a 40 percent decline since 2011.

Nursing homes improved on 19 out of the 22 quality outcomes measured by CMS.

Read more at https://www.providermagazine.com/Breaking-News/Pages/AHCA-NCAL-Highlights-Nursing-Home-Quality-Improvements.aspx

The full Nursing Home Quality Improvement report is available HERE.

Time for a Staff Empowerment Check

The pandemic hit staff hard. Personal protective equipment scarcity, staff shortages, required COVID-19 testing, working overtime, vaccine mandates—and the list goes on. Simply put, many staff feel disempowered. This feeling, if not addressed, can lead to further turnover.​

Staff empowerment, on the other hand, allows staff to make independent decisions and act on them. Empowered staff are valued and listened to. They stay with their current employers and encourage others to join the team. They have greater job satisfaction. They are happy and want to come to work.

Read more at https://www.providermagazine.com/Monthly-Issue/2021/November/Pages/Time-for-a-Staff-Empowerment-Check.aspx

Creating Seamless Transitions in Challenging Tımes

“The best transition of care is when there is no transition at all.” James Lett, MD, coined this maxim many years ago, and it’s still the mantra of post-acute and long term care providers.

“Of course, sometimes transitions are necessary, so we need to focus on doing this as seamlessly as possible,” says Rajeev Kumar, MD, CMD, FACP, chief medical officer of Symbria in Warrenville, Ill. “Even though we are well into the third decade of meaningful EHR [electronic health record] use, we still have discordant records, and what happens in the hospital doesn’t always filter back to the nursing home, and vice versa.”

Read more at https://bit.ly/3pi1sRG

Long COVID: An Emerging Threat

Long COVID—symptoms that drag on long after someone gets ill with the coronavirus—has many in long term and post-acute care experiencing déjà vu. Diagnostic challenges, questions about treatments, and a limited body of research—these are the same issues they faced at the start of the pandemic over a year ago.

However, while there are still questions, providers have learned much from the pandemic that will help centers navigate the challenges of long COVID and implement and sustain standards, processes, protocols, and interventions that maximize outcomes and quality of life for residents with this condition.

Read more by going to https://bit.ly/3lRAwoq

Pandemic Takes its Toll on Sleep

During the pandemic, sleep was in short order for many people. In one survey, 56 percent of U.S. adults said they have experienced more sleep disturbances—ranging from problems falling or staying asleep to having disturbing dreams or nightmares—in the past year and a half. In fact, this has been so common, the phenomenon has been given a name—COVID-somnia.

Pandemic-related sleep issues haven’t discriminated. Young and old people alike report some sleep-related problem. Long term and post-acute care centers not only need to identify and address sleep disturbances in their residents but in their staff as well.

See the full article at https://bit.ly/3DWPXE1

Hitting Reset on Pressure Injury Prevention

The complexities of the COVID-19 public health emergency required skilled nursing facility (SNF) operations to change dramatically and often to save the lives of the most vulnerable population. Through heroic efforts, SNFs transformed clinical systems of care, sometimes in less than a day, to win the war against the pandemic.

While operations and resources shifted to battle COVID-19, unintended consequences emerged—one being greater incidence of pressure injuries. Now that the pandemic is at a turning point, facilities can start to refocus and improve this trend. This article suggests ways to reorient efforts toward preventing and managing pressure injuries.

Read the full article at https://www.providermagazine.com/Monthly-Issue/2021/July/Pages/Hitting-Reset-on-Pressure-Injury-Prevention.aspx

Infection Control – Lessons Learned

​In Provider’s February issue, care providers share what COVID-19 policies have stood the test of time. In “Infection Control Lessons Learned,” clinicians say that new policies like patient isolation and enhanced disinfection procedures continue to work a year into the pandemic—and will continue to be important post-vaccination. “We probably will keep cohorting and isolation procedures for future outbreaks of infections, including the flu,” says Francine Rainer, chief clinical officer at PruittHealth.
What’s also emerged from the pandemic is a new portrait of the future of infection control.  Best practices and lessons are parts of it, along with new CMS policies that providers say should continue.
Take the Skilled Nursing Facility 3-Day Rule Waiver, for example. “We are focusing on this moving forward and advocating that it be a permanent change,” says Erin Prendergast, AHCA/NCAL senior manager, quality improvement.
Find out what best practices will continue and more about the new face of infection control and prevention here​.