Four Benefits of Hospital Co-location on Patient Outcomes

Co-location, or offering multiple specialty services under one roof or campus, is becoming an important strategy for health systems as the number of medically complex patients continues to increase. This model allows for greater bed flexibility, streamlined care transitions, and helps lead to higher care quality and reduced readmissions.

Although interchangeable across care settings, the co-location model can provide unique opportunities within specific settings such as inpatient rehabilitation, long-term acute care, acute rehabilitation and behavioral health hospitals.

Below are four key benefits of co-location that have helped contribute to successful patient outcomes in various care settings:

  1. Ease of access

    Patients who require high-intensity rehabilitation services in a hospital with co-located services are able to transition to a new, focused care setting located on the same campus, eliminating the need to transfer elsewhere. This is especially vital as transfers between facilities can not only be high-risk and challenging from a medical perspective, but are also inconvenient for patients and their families.

  2. Continued specialized care and differentiation from post-acute competition

    By co-locating specialized services on site and integrating an interdisciplinary rehabilitation program onto their campus, leaders enable daily access to a physician that specializes in rehabilitation and helps to ensure there is 24-hour RN coverage for patients in their care – something other care settings such as skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies are not able to provide. Further, when combined with a long-term acute care hospital (LTACH), specialty physicians can also be promptly available if requested for patient needs.

    Co-location offers access to high-quality services in one location. This is a growing priority for short-term acute care hospitals, payer discharge planners and case managers who are seeking specialized care settings for their patients who are now beginning to present multiple comorbidities, therefore requiring various care settings at the same time.

  3. Shortening length of stay

    Intensive rehabilitation care within a setting such as an acute rehabilitation unit (ARU) can help reduce length of stay and be more cost-effective when compared to other post-acute settings. It also can reduce readmissions—a key indicator under value-based reimbursement.

    Co-locating ARU and LTACH services can further complement the specialized care being provided within an LTACH, offering providers a continuum of care for a patient's ongoing recovery. Co-location brings knowledge and experience and enables LTACHs to manage the complex care necessary, while also leveraging the expertise provided by intensive rehabilitation services.

  4. Resolving gaps in inpatient behavioral health

    Behavioral health inpatient beds are at an all-time low and demand remains incredibly high. This model offers significant benefits, because co-locating them on a health system’s campus helps get patients out of the Emergency Department (ED) faster, frees up medical-surgical capacity and allows patients to receive the specialized care they need.

Read our white paper, in collaboration with Modern Healthcare, “Acute agility: Why leaders should build flexibility into their long-term plans” to learn more about the benefits of co-locating multiple service lines and how it can ultimately impact the care provided
By Kindred Hospital Rehabilitation Services