Each May, we recognize Better Hearing and Speech Month to honor and thank the speech language pathologists who work for us and celebrate their accomplishments. SLPs take the lead in caring for language, speaking and hearing disorders that often afflict our patients. Our SLPs most frequently treat patients with dysphagia, a disorder that affects the physical and/or sensory aspects of swallowing, and aphasia, a language disorder resulting from brain damage. SLPs are uniquely trained to assess the problems affecting communication and swallowing, design a rehabilitation program and motivate the patient through rehabilitation. An SLP can teach compensatory strategies in areas where communication or swallowing function may not be regained.
– transitional care and inpatient rehabilitation – during National Hospital Week, May 12-18. This is an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the innovations, technologies and staff dedicated to quality patient care.
A study published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that people with long-living blood relatives are significantly less likely to develop dementia until they themselves are in their nineties. The subjects in the study were compared to their spouses, who did not have long-living relatives. Read the story
Medicare has proposed limiting the number of days patients can be under "observation care" in the hospital, during which they are not admitted but are viewed as outpatients. The controversial proposed changes would require physicians to admit patients who they expect will be in the hospital longer than two days. Read the story
The RAND Corporation has conducted a study comparing three ways to cut Medicare spending, from requiring wealthier seniors to pay more for Part A, to providing seniors with a sum of money to purchase insurance plans, to raising the Medicare eligibility age. Read the story
A close, long-lasting relationship with the nurse-midwife who delivered her daughter inspired Marvalyn Drayton, RN, BSN, to pursue a career in nursing herself, and to focus on long-term care.
“When you are comfortable with the person you are seeing long-term, they become your family,” she said.
When she graduated from nursing school nearly four years ago, Marvalyn, 28, took a job with Kindred Hospital Cleveland, and has never looked back. She was recently promoted to nurse supervisor.
“Because our patients are here long-term, I really get to know them, and I love that part of my job,” she said. “When something is wrong, I know it, because I know them so well.”
There are challenges as well, but addressing them and rising to them can have its own rewards, Marvalyn said.
Representing the commitment to pursuing improved quality and the innovations that enable better patient care in our nation’s skilled nursing facilities, the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care (the Alliance) published its 2013 Quality Report on Skilled Nursing Facility Care. The stated goal of which “is to provide an objective national overview of Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) patient care quality, pertinent quality trends, specific improvements, and areas of care requiring continued attention.” The report relies on publicly reported data as well as expert third-party experts to provide an effective assessment.
The release of the report is timely as legislators in Washington, DC, prepare to consider Medicare payment reforms for post-acute care – especially in light of the wide recognition that nursing facilities are a cost-effective and important element in the care continuum.
Some of the top line findings of this report include:
As hospitals face penalties for higher-than-expected readmissions rates and new programs are implemented to keep patients from returning, some people are questioning if certain hospitals, such as those that treat the sickest patients and those that serve lower-income populations, are at an unfair disadvantage. Read the story
A recently-published research paper takes the pharmaceutical industry to task for allegedly charging exorbitant prices for some drugs that cancer patients cannot live without. Read the story
A Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposal provides a 0.8 percent pay raise for acute care hospitals and a 1.1 percent increase for long-term acute care facilities that would take effect in October. Read the story
Seniors have long been targets for scammers, and that trend may be on the rise. Authorities are reporting an increase in insurance-related scams across the country and the new health care laws are creating a new tool for scammers, who play on confusion about them. Read the story
A poll conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs has revealed that most Americans age 40 and over don't like to think about their long-term care needs and don't have a clear understanding of what those needs might be and how much they are likely to cost. Read the story
Focusing on maintaining and increasing muscle power through exercises including strength training done at a faster speed may be an important step to retaining function as we age. Read the story
Read on for a collection of news stories affecting the U.S. healthcare industry this week.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people under the age of 65 are twice as likely as older Americans to not take their medications as prescribed, and not taking medications correctly can lead to worsening health and more emergency room visits. Read the story
The STACH response in the wake of the Boston bombings was swift. Those who were there say the wounds they saw were more typical of what would be seen in a war zone. Read the story
Insurers and doctors are wondering if a strategy that works in corporate America might work in the medical world as well – paying for performance. Read the story
A long and brutal flu season may be finally coming to an end. Read the story
Medications to slow or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease may be less than five years away, according to researchers. Read the story
Choosing a nursing home for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task. But there are tools available to help, such as the annual U.S. News & World Report ratings of nearly all of the 16,000 nursing homes in the country — including Kindred’s 224 nursing centers.
Information for the rankings comes from Nursing Home Compare, a website sponsored by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Using data collected from surveys of local agencies and facility self-reporting, CMS assigns a one- to five-star rating to the three categories of state-conducted health inspections, nursing staffing, and quality of care measures (based on nine different factors). The ratings are then combined to produce an overall facility rating of one to five stars.
At the 2013 American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) convention in Washington, D.C., speakers from Kindred Healthcare and the Cleveland Clinic presented on acute care to post-acute care relationships. The session highlighted aspects of their own clinical and quality initiatives while giving participants a tutorial in how to get started forming their own collaborations. It is through these types of relationships that health care organizations can work to design and to improve care transitions to meet the challenges of the changing healthcare environment.
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