MedPageToday had an interesting article on the need for hospitalists in long term care facilities. Hospitals discharge patients before they are ready to go home. Often the hospitals transfer the patients to nursing homes. This has caused the acuity in nursing homes to skyrocket while staffing remains the same. Hospitalists can fill a void in skilled nursing care the way they have done in hospitals. Hospitalists know how to provide critical care, have knowledge of area hospitals, and understand the needs of patients fresh out of hospitals.
5% of hospital patients account for roughly half of hospitals’ costs. “As a result, managed care plans are increasingly steering patients away from acute-care hospitals to less expensive SNFs and long-term acute care hospitals; roughly 45,000 post-acute facilities are in existence now, said Kerry Weiner, MD, chief medical officer at IPC, a North Hollywood, Calif., hospitalist company.”
The American Medical Directors Association (AMDA), a professional society of long-term care facilities based in Columbia, Md., is developing a set of core competencies for physicians in nursing home care. Clearly physicians need to become more skilled at handling patient transitions, learn palliative care, depression, dementia, and pain management.