One fact remains clear about this pandemic. COVID-19 has the highest mortality rate for senior citizens and those with underlying health conditions. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that people who have had to be hospitalized feel confident when they are discharged to the next phase of their road to recovery. Healthcare organizations need to make swift and safe transitions a priority. That is why we have been dedicated to implementing specific procedures and processes to help patients navigate the healthcare system, ensuring that safe transitions can be made between hospitals and wherever they call home. Whether assistance is needed at home, in short-term rehabilitation at our post-acute care facilities or long-term care is required at one of our senior living communities, such as, assisted living or memory care, here are some of the ways that we have made people feel safe during their transition, especially during the pandemic.
The most important step to keeping a vulnerable population as safe as possible is by working collaboratively with hospitals and local government officials. This pandemic is new territory for all of us and there is safety in numbers and teamwork. In their official checklist for discharging patients with COVID-19, The American Hospital Association shares our belief by saying, “When discharging to a long-term care facility and the patient requires transmission-based precautions…. review precautions with the accepting facility to ensure that the facility has the proper personal protective equipment and ability to adhere to precautions.”
Continue to Follow Social Distancing Guidelines
The biggest defense we have against COVID-19 that has been proven to be the most effective is social distancing. Experts have recommended that when discharging patients to senior living that it is imperative to ensure that patients be placed in single rooms and be restricted to their rooms. As part of our Signature Approach to Caring with a Commitment to Quality, we have made adjustments to our care plan to allow for social distancing to be followed while minimizing social isolation, which is one of the top five risk factors of older adult decline. Our Welcome Home Program not only helps reduce social isolation, it also helps to reduce the risk factors for hospital re-admission within the first 72 hours of returning home.
Created COVID-19 Specific Areas and Floors to Assist Overwhelmed Healthcare Facilities
We truly are all in this together. From small acts such as donating foods and supplies to those in need to larger gestures such as opening our buildings for COVID-19 patients to be cared for, we have acted decisively in everything we do to ensure the safety of seniors everywhere. The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, in conjunction with the American Health Care association and the National Center for Assisted Living, urged fellow senior living, assisted living, memory care, and post-acute care communities to follow suit by saying, “We urge states to work together with nursing homes/assisted living communities, hospitals, and public health authorities. States should take targeted action where hospitals are overwhelmed and move residents within a nursing home to create open wings or floors to accept admissions from hospitals.” One of the major reasons we began flattening the curve was to avoid hospitals being overwhelmed. We are proud to help continue in that fight in any way we can.
Remained Equipped and Prepared to Care for Everyone
At the end of the day, our number one priority has been, and will always be, the care and safety of everyone we care for from our seniors to our associates to our family members. Before we considered taking any of these steps, we made sure that we were prepared to safely do so. Industry leaders agree that, “Transfer of hospitalized patients with active COVID-19 disease to nursing homes with known COVID-19 cases should only occur if the nursing home is adequately equipped to care for them.” We have continued to have readily available proper protective equipment, efficient sanitizing protocols and all other safety procedures as recommended by local government and health officials as we all continue the fight against COVID-19.
Developed Innovative Pathways for Patient Success
The Spring Hills Population Health Care coordination team is dedicated to ensuring patients are not alone in their healthcare journey. This is accomplished by supporting patients, their family, and caregivers through the healthcare continuum. Spring Hills understands that healthcare can be difficult to navigate and changes in condition can be scary. That is why Spring Hills Population Health offers a 24/7 clinical call center with 24/7 direct access to your registered nurse and licensed social worker. With focus on the right care at the right time in the right place, Spring Hills is bringing the care to the patient and helping reduce unnecessary avoidable hospitalizations significantly below industry averages. We are proud to provide successful transitions in care for our patients and families.