As the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee continues to hold hearings regarding payment reforms to Medicare Post-Acute Care providers, it is important to note the critical role that rehabilitative therapies play in enabling patients to fully recover and return home. The powerful committee recently noted that “Medicare post-acute providers play an important role in the continuum of care for Medicare beneficiaries, providing recuperation and rehabilitation services to Medicare beneficiaries recovering from an acute hospital stay.” While there are variations in the level of care provided in different post-acute settings – including inpatient rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living communities and home health care – one constant is the value of physical and occupational therapies and speech-language pathology.
Peggy McFarland moved to Louisville about 45 years ago and went to work in a shirt factory.
“But that didn’t last long,” she said. “I was looking for another job, and a friend told me they were hiring at the nursing center where she worked. She told me to apply, I did, they called, and here I am.”
That was 44 years ago and McFarland has been at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Bashford ever since. She started as a nursing aide. Now, as a Certified Nursing Assistant, she works with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients in the center’s Reflections Unit.
Ask her to describe her duties, and she’ll tell you the basics.
“I take them to the bathroom, help them get dressed, feed them and put them to bed,” she says.
But ask her about the people she cares for and her voice gets softer and more personal.
Quality nursing is a critical part of good patient care, and that is more crucial than ever as healthcare reform stresses importance of primary care, preventive care and mid-level providers including nurse practitioners. Read the story
A new study published in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine shows that certain medications kept in ambulances, including muscle relaxers and seizure drugs, may expire quicker than they would if they were stored in a more controlled environment with less variation in temperature and motion. As a result, it may be prudent to provide an alternate expiration date for ambulance-kept meds. Read the story
A new study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, suggests that lowering blood sugar too much may put some diabetics at increased risk for developing dementia, which may in turn lead to more hypoglycemic incidents, creating a vicious cycle. Read the story
The Kindred at Home staff who work directly with patients and families to coordinate home health and personal care services also function as liaisons with physicians, hospital case managers, operators of skilled nursing facilities, and other service providers. And every case differs. Each individual patient or client is challenged by distinct health and physical circumstances which are further complicated by family dynamics and interactions with all the professionals involved in his or her care. How do people manage all of this? A valuable resource is their Home Care Coordinator.
In 2010 Congress directed CMS to begin a pilot program that would expand hospice services to include patients still seeking curative treatments. Unfortunately little progress has been made, and the program’s delayed implementation was recently featured in a news story.
According to a study published in the journal International Psychogeriatrics, people who engaged in healthier lifestyles -- including eating healthy foods and exercising, and not smoking -- perceived themselves to have better memories than those whose behaviors were not as healthy. The study examined people in all age groups and the finding was consistent regardless of age. Read the story
In this PBS Newshour story, a daughter talks about caring for her mother who has Alzheimer's, and the emotional and physical challenges that come with her role as caregiver. Read the story
People still when they talk to her speak in a very loud voice, because they think people with Alzheimer's can't hear. Or they speak very slowly. And I try and explain to them she's not understanding what you are saying, so you don't have to worry about that. I mean, just speak in your normal voice and just go with the flow.
There is no denying that healthcare reform continues to be on everyone’s minds these days. The industry is moving towards a value-based purchasing system that seeks reimbursement linked to performance. One of the main areas that reform will be concerned with is quality outcomes; this means that providers will be rewarded for clinical outcomes and the demonstrated functional improvement of patients. Providers must be fully prepared to show they’re providing the highest level of quality outcomes at the lowest cost.
Outcomes are important to provide data and knowledge that support quality improvement, and to provide data for evidence-based practice.
The new healthcare reform mandates will impact all providers from short-term acute care hospitals to skilled nursing services. Post-acute care is an important part of the evolving healthcare marketplace. A focus on quality clinical outcomes is paramount to succeeding in this changing environment.
“Every day clinicians in Kindred hospitals across the nation provide critical pulmonary care to patients suffering from chronic conditions or acute illnesses. We are dedicated to providing the best medical care to provide healing and recovery. But we are also focused on efforts that prevent cardio-pulmonary disease.
For this reason, we have historically supported the American Lung Association (ALA) through participation in, fundraising for and sponsorship of their walks, cycling adventures and climbs around the country," says Jeffrey Winter, Executive Vice President and President, Kindred Hospital Division.
Four separate teams of scientists, hoping to build on the exciting results of a 2012 study showing that a cancer drug might be effective in reversing developing Alzheimer's disease, were unable to replicate the original study's results, putting the findings in question. Read the story
A study published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review found that the regional variations in how much Medicare spends per beneficiary may be largely due to differences in general health in different areas of the country, and perhaps not due to how aggressive physicians are in providing treatment and testing, as a popular theory holds. Read the story
People really are sicker in some parts of the country -- Study Author Patrick Romano, MD
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