This is the last week of National Alzheimer's Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. In recognition, this week's edition of Healthcare Headlines will be devoted to these and related topics.
A new study has shown that patients with dementia who were discharged from an acute care hospital to a nursing facility were less likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days than those with dementia who were discharged home or to the home of a family member. Read the story
Tampa Bay Tribune columnist has written a first-person piece about traveling with a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer's. Read the story
A new survey shows that nearly a quarter of Americans over the age of 75 have not communicated their end-of-life wishes, although the number of people who have put their end-of-life wishes into writing has increased. Read the story
As the nation’s leading provider of post-acute care services, Kindred is well-positioned to make important contributions to cutting-edge initiatives aimed at improving delivery of post-acute care across the continuum, from the long-term acute care hospital through the skilled nursing facility, rehabilitation hospital, home health and hospice.
In two Indiana skilled nursing facilities, Kindred is participating in a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-sponsored initiative called OPTIMISTIC – Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care. The project aims to improve health care, reduce avoidable hospitalizations and increase access to palliative care.
“OPTIMISTIC benefits our long-term residents,” said Pamela Zanes, RN, BSN, Ed.M., senior director of care transitions for Kindred Healthcare.
Congress has passed an act that will allow people to keep the insurance plans they thought would be canceled for not meeting new requirements under the Affordable Care Act. The new act addresses the reality that many people were being forced to give up their old plans in exchange for more expensive alternatives. Read the story
A report from the AARP has found that hospital observation stays increased substantially over a study period that lasted from 2001 through 2009 (before the implementation of readmissions penalties). Read the story
Some are hopeful that legislation will provide relief: A bill that has been proposed in both the House and Senate would allow observation stays to count toward Medicare's three-midnight requirement for the skilled nursing benefit. AARP has endorsed the legislation.
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The year was 1969. Richard Nixon was president. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Sesame Street debuted on television. And a young nurse named Naomi “Ginger” Stewart started work at Lakeside Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, a hospital that would eventually become Kindred Hospital Kansas City.
“I have fulfilled many lifelong dreams that would’ve appeared to be those of a dreamer,” Ginger said in a letter announcing her retirement after 44 years of service. “The most important one was my father and mother’s dream for me to become a ‘real nurse,’ though teaching was always in my heart.”
Ginger credits Kindred with allowing her to pursue that dream of teaching through a position as an adjunct nursing professor at Johnson County Community College.
Her own words sum up her experience best:
A group of leading technology and aging services companies recently convened in Silicon Valley to explore the future of care. The fourth AgeTech Conference and Exposition was held in San Jose, California, with partners, sponsors and presenters that included Intel, Google, Yahoo, and other technology companies, AARP, assisted living companies, and large healthcare organizations. Many of the technologies that were presented focused on aging-in-place or health/cognition.
Hospitals that rely on a government subsidy for uncompensated or under-compensated care now face a cut to that subsidy that may make it necessary to cut back on certain services, like cancer care. The subsidy cut is hardest hitting to hospitals in states that opted out of a Medicaid expansion. Read the story
The subsidy, which for years has helped defray the cost of uncompensated and undercompensated care, was cut substantially on the assumption that the hospitals would replace much of the lost income with payments for patients newly covered by Medicaid or private insurance. But now the hospitals in states like Georgia will get neither the new Medicaid patients nor most of the old subsidies, which many say are crucial to the mission of care for the poor.
Participants at Kindred’s Fifth Annual Clinical Impact Symposium – from senior leadership to the clinicians on the front lines of patient care – say you should not only remember it, but you should use it often!
A big takeaway from the three days of discussions: Communication. Is. Key.
And it doesn’t require fancy devices to communicate effectively; it can be as easy as picking up the phone. Call the next care setting. Or the previous care setting. Talk about the patient. Gather important information. And let it inform great care across the continuum.
Pick up the phone!
In the last presentation of the 2013 Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium, Ronald Leopold, MD, MBA, MPH, Senior Vice President, National Practice Leader, Health and Productivity for Wells Fargo Insurance Services, talked about the business value of a healthy workforce.
People are remaining in the workforce longer than ever before, and perhaps longer than they had planned, Leopold said.
“Your ability to earn a living is your biggest financial asset,” he said.
And companies, in turn, are well-served to encourage a healthy workforce.
“It’s in [companies’] best interest to get their workforces healthier and more importantly, it’s in your own best interest,” Leopold said.
How can individuals do that? First, they can pick realistic goals and stick with them. Have a healthy lifestyle – move around, eat well, consider behavior changes – what are you doing that you shouldn’t be doing and vice versa?
As the Fifth Annual Kindred Clinical Impact Symposium wraps up, participants came together to make some recommendations for further care of our fictitious patient, Jack, who has many co-morbid conditions and ended up in the post-acute care continuum after being hit by a car while riding his bike, requiring surgery for a broken femur.
After his initial discharge from the acute care hospital, Jack went to a skilled nursing facility, back to the acute care hospital, then to a transitional care hospital and ultimately he was transitioned to home health care. At the current moment, Jack’s home health providers are concerned about his agitated state and resistance to taking medications and exercising.
As Jack continues his journey in the post-acute continuum, CIS participants had some common recommendations for his care:
Kim Warchol has been an Occupational Therapist specializing in dementia for more than 24 years. One minute of listening to her talk about her field and you can hear the years of experience and passion in every word. But she readily admits that she wasn’t prepared to deal with cognitive impairment when she first started practicing.
Her “aha!” moment came through the work of Claudia Kay Allen, MA, OTR/L, FAOTA, which completely changed her perspective from focusing on the limitations of patients with cognitive impairment to focusing on uncovering what they could do. She hasn’t looked back since and, she says, she is no longer “leaving these vulnerable individuals to fend for themselves.”
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