The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has updated its provider certification manual for hospitals, beefing up the discharge guidelines with evaluation recommendations designed to help reduce costly readmissions. Read the story
A small study compared alcoholics who smoke to those who don't, and found that the smokers were more susceptible to "early aging" of the brain. The results of the study were published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Read the story
A new study shows that older men with other health problems in addition to their prostate cancer may not benefit from aggressive cancer treatment, which may have unpleasant side effects, since they might not live long enough to benefit from it. Read the story
Last month I spent an evening with a dedicated group of physicians at Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Milwaukee, one of the largest skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in the country. During his introductions, Executive Director Michael Thomas spoke passionately about the importance of communication – between physicians; physicians and nurses; nurses and nursing assistants; staff and administration and, perhaps most importantly for healthcare reform, between the acute and post-acute care settings. I could not help but think about this year’s American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) Annual Meeting in Washington D.C.
As part of Kindred’s belief that transparency is essential to a high quality healthcare system, the company issues an annual report that provides detailed data on clinical outcomes, trends in performance and chronicles efforts to further improve quality on behalf of patients, employees and healthcare partners.
Kindred’s 2012 Quality and Social Responsibility Report highlights these efforts in spite of a very challenging operating environment, and details the Company’s partnerships with hospitals and other healthcare providers to develop a more patient-centered, integrated and efficient care delivery system.
The quality outcomes and positive progress is a direct result of the 78,000 dedicated employees who strive to deliver on Kindred’s commitment to hope, healing and recovery and in providing coordinated care throughout an entire patient care episode from hospital to home.
The way doctors present end-of-life decisions, such as do-not-resusitate (DNR) orders, heavily influences the decisions of patients' families in how they handle these difficult choices, according to a new study published in the journal Critical Care Medicine. Read the story
"Simple changes of words and perceptions about social norms resulted in large differences in CPR choices,” said study author Dr. Amber Barnato, an associate professor of clinical and translational science at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in a statement. “This study suggests that the change isn’t just window dressing — it makes a real difference in the choices that people make. We expect that it also may reduce feelings of guilt for choosing against CPR by making family members feel like they are doing something positive to honor their loved one’s wishes at the end of life, rather than taking something away from them.”
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
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