Transitioning patients from a hospital or nursing home setting to purely home-based care is never easy. There are many factors to consider, the most significant of which is the increased risk of complications that can result in more serious long-term problems.
In more severe cases, these issues could even pose serious risks to the patient’s life. Apart from the added suffering it causes to patients, poor home health care transitions also increase healthcare expenses.
Getting nursing home insurance offers care facilities some protection against typical risk exposures associated with home care transitions. Nevertheless, following certain protocols and procedures is necessary to ensure the patient’s safety and well-being before, during, and after the transition.
Poor transitions often result in the readmission of the patient to the initial care facility. This could be avoided by providing consistent care at home, focusing on patients’ health, and ensuring the delivery of appropriate services from healthcare organizations.
Many home health care providers have taken an active role in ensuring successful transitions. Some have even developed personalized home care transition models and policies to secure more favorable patient outcomes.
Care facilities and home care providers: Partners in successful transitions
Home health care providers are integral to the effective transition from hospitals and other care facilities to post-acute settings. This is especially the case as more and more patients choose to receive medical care at home. Patients also have just as crucial a role in the success of the transition as healthcare providers and community social services.
The partnership between referring hospitals and home health care providers begins before discharge. A nurse, physician, or other medical professional usually performs an initial home visit, during which a thorough patient assessment is made.
This is usually followed by a program for educating and informing patients and family members on home care procedures. The hospital or care facility then later coordinates with the home caregivers to ensure the proper administration of the necessary healthcare services.
Why care facilities should be concerned about home care transitions
Ensuring favorable home healthcare transitions benefits care facilities as well as patients and their families. In many ways, the effectiveness of the partnership between the hospital or nursing home and the home healthcare staff determines the success of the transition to home care.
Care facilities have several incentives to make such transitions work. By racking up a consistent track record of successful transitions, care facilities gain the following benefits:
- Increased referrals
- Improved ratings and professional reputation
- Higher CMS reimbursements
Successful transitions can have a marked effect on enhancing the reputation of a care facility, thereby spurring organic business growth. For patients and families looking for a healthcare facility, the ability to coordinate transitions is often a crucial factor.
Essential steps for positive home health care transitions
Organizations such as the Alliance for Home Health Quality and Innovation (AHHQI) have developed systems and procedures for improving the outcome of home care transitions. The alliance also provides tools that provide support for patients, families, and caregivers.
The essential transition values that the AHHQI has identified are:
- Increased patient focus
- Effective management of medication
- More thorough coordination and communication between patients and caregivers
- Periodic follow-up by primary care physicians and home health care services
- Patient and family education and coaching
Tailoring the transition approach around these values can increase patient satisfaction rates. Just as importantly, doing so often reduces readmissions that typically occur within 30 days after discharge.
The AHHQI also provides other essential information such as:
- Checklists for transitional health care
- Essential transition elements and components
- Transitional home care guidance and instruction
- Other evidence-based transition tools
Ultimately, it is up to each care facility to decide which models and tools are most beneficial to them. It is vital to make the right decision, as these elements are integral to creating effective and efficient transitions to home care.
By adopting a coordinated and more strategic approach, hospitals and nursing care facilities can enhance their professional reputations, improve their business, and increase their bottom line. More importantly, they could also ensure the most favorable outcomes for their patients.
There comes a time when transitioning a patient to home care is the most viable option. Even so, it remains crucial to provide the highest quality of care possible. A more thorough understanding of home healthcare will help ensure more favorable patient outcomes.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.