Enhance Resident Engagement to Reduce Hospital Readmissions

With the introduction of new payment methods, hospital readmissions have become a top priority of skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) around the country and a key metric to measuring SNF success. With SNFs facing a 2% reduction in reimbursements, it is crucial now more than ever, that facilities have a handle on readmissions.

Hospital readmissions are also costly across the entire care continuum. According to a 2011 Kaiser Family Foundation study, 25% of Medicare residents receiving post-acute care from nursing facilities were readmitted to the hospital that year, costing Medicare roughly $14 billion. Considering that many readmissions are preventable, it is not a surprise that CMS is incentivizing post-acute providers to collaborate and keep residents on the road to recovery.

A recent McKnight’s article titled “Control Rehospitalizations Using Engagement to Drive Business” answers the question many of us ask, “Why are so many seniors being readmitted to the hospital”? The article attributes many readmissions to Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia (ADRD). McKnight’s article sites a 2014 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that found 50% of nursing home residents have stages of ADRD. Those living with the disease are at higher risk of a fall, and according to the article, 26% of residents over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s will be admitted to the hospital due to a fall.

The article also credits antipsychotic drugs as a prevalent cause of hospital readmissions. These drugs are often prescribed to individuals living with dementia but have been found to have adverse health effects, such as increased risk for falls.

“Control Rehospitalizations Using Engagement to Drive Business” reveals enhancing engagement can reduce hospital readmissions. SNFs can improve engagement by making it individualized and person-directed. In doing so, SNFs will be able to improve their bottom line by decreasing falls, improving overall outcomes, and preventing compliance risk.

Skilled nursing facilities can use technology to better engage with residents throughout their stay, and post-discharge. Nationwide, skilled nursing facilities have been successful in using CipherHealth’s care transition solutions which integrates CipherOutreach, automated outreach, with Echo, personalized care recordings, to decrease readmissions. The advantage of this type of technology is that it can help provide cost-effective personalized care to residents and their caregivers.

CipherHealth’s automated outreach technology, CipherOutreach, allows facilities to reach out to 100% of residents post-discharge to ensure that staff time is spent efficiently, alerting staff to only reach out to those who alert an issue during their call. Monitoring a resident’s recovery from home can be useful when trying to reduce readmissions, especially as SNFs are pressured to reduce the length-of-stay. Customized outreach calls allow SNFs to identify if there is a chance for residents to readmit to the hospital, and manage intervention workflows appropriately.

CipherHealth’s personalized care instructions software, CipherOutreach, can be extremely beneficial for residents living with ADRD. These residents will have difficulties remembering their discharge instructions and medication information once they return home. Giving residents access to this type of information post-discharge can advert hospital readmissions and simplify recovery and the transition back to home.

Focusing on resident engagement is a great way for facilities to prevent readmissions before they occur. Enhance resident engagement efforts by using tailored and individualized outreach. Automated outreach gives SNFs visibility into resident responses and symptoms you are prior to manually intervening, making them more efficient. Help your facility earn payment incentives by decreasing readmissions and averting compliance risk.

While the primary focus of these programs is to decrease hospital readmissions, your facility will also see an increase in resident satisfaction. By enhancing resident engagement strategies, and turning to a supporting technology, facilities will see a decrease in hospital readmissions and an increase in resident satisfaction.

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