A recent article published by ECG Management Consultants discusses the predicament facing many health systems: How do hospitals meet today’s capacity demands fueled by COVID-19 while preparing for the expected decline in inpatient services in the future? 

Demand for Specialty Inpatient Rehab Services on the Rise

To meet the needs of today while preparing for the future, flexibility is required. Even after COVID-19 subsides, there will still be circumstances that require hospitals to increase capacity to meet the needs of the communities they serve all while maintaining appropriate admission criteria. Further, while inpatient services is expected to decline, specialty services are expected to continue to increase. Because of this trend, care that has traditionally taken place in the inpatient STACH setting is starting to shift to specialty facilities, like freestanding inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units.

For those systems that have already moved in this direction, the investment in specialty hospitals and units enabled them crucial flexibility in how they utilized the beds – expanding to treat COVID patients when capacity required. It also allowed them to separate “well” and “sick” patients – an important feature for patients seeking elective procedures. In addition, this specialized focus allowed for enhanced care quality, improved patient experience, greater efficiency – and ultimately a positive financial impact, according to the article.

The article also expands on the topic of redefining hospital operations, not for aging CON methodologies, but for what you really need by:

  • Optimizing Hospital Throughput
    By reevaluating the hours of operation, room turnover times, and other efficiency metrics, hospitals and units can reach their most efficient use and increase capacity, without large capital investment.
  • Building Flexible Units to Maximize Effective Unit Size
    As a final step in planning, hospitals should consider a strategy to increase flexibility for each unit—which has become an even more paramount consideration following the COVID-19 pandemic. However, keeping in mind admission criteria to ensure all patients, including those diagnosed with COVID-19, meet the admission requirements. Building spaces adjacent to one another with different operating hours can allow some rooms to flex to serve different purposes depending on the time of day.

In conclusion, updated planning standards can have multiple benefits for a hospital or health system, and have already proven beneficial for many health systems who have successfully integrated specialty services, such as inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and units, into their care continuum.  

To learn how Kindred works with hospital systems across the country to determine if developing specialized hospitals/units would benefit their community and organization, visit kindredrehab.com.  

To read the full article, click here.

By Kindred Rehabilitation