Monday, December 11, 2017

New Approaches to the Nursing Home Crisis

David Gilford, a physician and senior vice president for quality and regulatory affairs at the American Health Care Association says, "It is very hard to find staff to work in nursing facilities, especially in rural areas. It was urged by advocates to mandate that nursing homes have at least one nurse on site 24 hours a day. The current requirement is only 8 hours. This did not happen because the nursing home industry noted the additional taxpayer expense that these requirements would create. The difficulty in some places of finding trained workers as David Gilford said was the other reason the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services(CMS) did not make this proposal mandatory. But what is underway, is a $30 million, 8-year "innovation demonstration project" called OPTIMISTIC. It is testing new approaches to improving the quality of care. Additional nurses were embedded in 19 long-term care centers in phase one of the project. To reduce the number of times residents had to be sent to the hospitals, the nurses were specially trained to coordinate the patients' treatments. Specializing in specific ailments is another approach for nursing homes. One home might be best equipped to care for patients with ALS(Lou Gehrig's disease), while another might focus on Alzheimer's disease. Some companies are launching care facilities that offer nursing home, assisted living and unassisted living in one complex. The goal is to keep a person in one location throughout his or her later years.

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