The needs of nursing home residents are changing. Medicare requires residents to see a physician within 30 days of admission, but this policy is a holdover from the days when patients were primarily long-term residents in need of custodial care. Currently, 20% of hospitalized patients are discharged to nursing homes for post-acute care. This means that those patients need more medical intervention than long-term residents, whether it be intravenous antibiotics, physical therapy, or skilled wound care.
The current nursing home staffing is insufficient. More than 10% of patients admitted to a skilled nursing facility for post-acute care never see a doctor or advanced practice nurse during their stay, which can lead to major consequences. Namely, post-acute nursing home patients who don’t see a physician or advanced practice nurse are two times more likely to be readmitted to the hospital or die within 30 days.
Nursing home residents need in-house medical care. Missing or delayed medical care for nursing home residents leads to poor outcomes. In one study, adding an advanced practice nurse on their staff led to 48% fewer hospitalizations and 40% lower costs. Early detection is key for many health issues and can be treated in the nursing home facility, but if acute conditions aren’t detected in time, it can lead to serious health risks. Common conditions that can be treated if detected early are pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and severe dehydration. While they may be manageable if caught early, they can become deadly as time progresses.
Telemedicine has become vital in the future of nursing homes. It greatly expands the access that residents have to physicians or advanced practice nurses that they wouldn’t see otherwise. In large facilities, telemedicine arguments onsite clinical staff for round-the-clock care. Telemedicine is also scalable for facilities that can’t employ onsite clinical staff in small or rural facilities. 83% of health issues can be treated by a telemedicine physician working with the on-site nursing staff. Through telehealth services, nursing homes can reduce hospital admissions by as much as 70%.
One company taking steps to improve your nursing home’s medical care is TapestryHealth. Currently, taking vital signs manually takes about 4 minutes, and documenting readings can take an additional 12. TapestryHealth introduced automated monitors that cut the whole process down to less than a minute, eliminating the risk of human error and giving staff more time to focus on patients. They provide nursing home residents with bedside access to a team of physicians, specialists, and behavioral health services using state-of-the-art technology. Patients are given 24/7 access to a clinician and the support they need.