Founder @ NowSourcing. Contributor @ Hackernoon, Advisor @GoogleSmallBiz, Podcaster, infographics
As we all know, the COVID pandemic of 2020 hit nursing homes particularly hard. Outbreaks in nursing homes were more severe due to the fragility of residents. Then the isolation and lack of connection not only to loved ones, but also to medical team members as staffing numbers were reduced, caused more illness and more serious concerns for nursing home residents.
The rest of the world moved forward with healthcare by embracing telemedicine, which is now a healthcare standard rather than a return to former methods. Nursing homes would do very well to follow suit and adopt telemedicine practices as well.
Currently, more than 10% of patients admitted to a skilled nursing facility for post-acute care never see a physician or APRN during their stay. Unfortunately, those who don’t see either of these medical professionals are 2x more likely to end up back in a hospital or even to die within 30 days. Twenty-percent of these patients will be rehospitalized if they don’t see a doctor within 30 days, but with physician care, the percentage drops to 14.
Twenty percent of hospitalized patients are discharged to nursing homes for post-acute care and these patients require more medical attention than long term residents. Without physician care, the median nursing home stay for post-acute patients is 11 days, but the average post-acute care patient waits 3.2 days to see a doctor, and in rural communities the average wait is 8.1 days. This long wait or lack of care altogether, leads to poor medical outcomes.
This is where telemedicine can help. With telemedicine, in-house medical care is available to every nursing home. Telemedicine provides augmented care for large facilities, so patients have access to medical staff 24/7. In small, rural facilities, telemedicine enables access to care even if nursing homes can’t employ onsite clinical staff.
Eighty-three percent of medical issues can be treated via telemedicine in cooperation with onsite nursing staff. This means that rehospitalization of post-acute patients drops to 17%, and overall hospital readmissions from nursing homes can drop by as much as 70%.
The rest of the world is embracing telemedicine with great success. It’s time for nursing homes to do the same so that we can better serve our most vulnerable citizens.
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