Caring for patients in skilled nursing facilities is one of the most challenging and noble callings in medicine. Unfortunately nursing home operators and administrators face several challenges today, including a rising population combined with staffing shortages and tight margins under which to operate.
One of the most significant challenges they face is that 19% of all transports to the Emergency Department (ED) come from nursing homes. Nursing home staff tends to be well trained in chronic care given the patient population they’re usually caring for; thus, patients who experience acute changes of condition are often transferred to the ED. Because of the multitude of comorbidities this patient population often lives with, once they are transferred to the ED they are almost invariably admitted to the hospital where the cost to the healthcare system skyrockets – averaging over $15,000 per patient for every patient transferred. Patients suffering from conditions as simple as a urinary tract infection often spend multiple days in a hospital. Not only is the patient removed from their home, which can be isolating and uncomfortable, but this costs the healthcare system tens of thousands of dollars.