The Sentinel & Enterprise reported on patient acuity in Massachusetts but the issue is nationwide. Nursing homes in Massachusetts are caring for residents with more complex medical needs while patients who used to be admitted to facilities are instead being cared for in their own homes or at an assisted living facility. However, the trend creates staffing problems because nursing homes are losing “less complex” residents and treating residents with “much more complex” medical needs that require additional resources including staffing in nursing homes.
At the Joint Ways and Means Committee budget hearing, Health Policy Commission Executive Director David Seltz said patients released from hospitals who previously would have been admitted to nursing homes or rehabilitation facilities are instead being treated in their homes. One in four nursing homes have occupancy rates of 80 percent or less, which is “not sustainable,” and the average occupancy rate is 86 percent.
“That’s a good, positive trend because it’s treating people in the most appropriate setting and using technology and visiting nurses to do this,” Seltz said.
Industry officials say nursing homes are “facing a crisis,” as Damian Dell’Anno, co-founder and CEO of Next Step Healthcare, put it in a Feb. 26 op-ed. The industry is facing severe financial and demographic challenges that have led to “cutting corners” and shortages in staffing or substandard training that is affecting the level of care seniors receive.