Transitional care, or the care that’s required to promote health and healing between care settings and a patient’s residence, has proven particularly problematic for adults over the age of 65. Underdeveloped transitional care plans for older adults have been shown to lead to high rehospitalization rates, low satisfaction with care, and adverse effects that could have been prevented. This makes high-quality, thorough transitional care important for all seniors, but especially essential for those with comorbidities or who are immunocompromised.
At DispatchHealth, we’re here to help. In this article, we’re diving into transitional care needs, outlining common challenges, and providing the solutions your residents need.
Challenges of Transitional Care
The number of Americans ages 65 and older is slated to double over the next 40 years, and that has huge implications for our healthcare systems, including the importance of transitional care. Because the senior population often struggles with access to necessary healthcare and transportation, high-quality care between the home, hospital, and other care settings becomes essential not only to maintain positive clinical outcomes but also to minimize the effect of adverse health on older adults’ quality of life. Here are some of the most common challenges in transitional care:
Frequent ER Trips and Ambulance Transports
This scenario is likely familiar to you: An urgent, high-acuity—but not life-threatening—health situation arises for a resident, so 911 is utilized. The result is a costly and frightening ambulance trip and ER visit for your resident, often resulting in an extended hospital stay, which have been shown to have negative impacts on seniors. In fact, a third of seniors over the age of 75 and as many as half of those over the age of 85 are actually unable to return home after a hospital admission. Frequent ER trips and ambulance transports can also disrupt the aging-in-place process, leading to stress and anxiety that can worsen health.
Cost of Care
According to one study, two thirds of emergency department visits annually in the U.S. by privately-insured individuals are avoidable. And the average cost of treating a condition at a hospital ED that could be treated with primary care is a whopping $2,032—12 times higher than at a physician’s office ($167) and 10 times higher than at an urgent care clinic ($193). The result? Your residents’ healthcare costs become unmanageable and stressful—needlessly.
While we’d love to believe that hospitals are able to perfectly manage all of their patients, the reality is that many hospitals are still overcrowded and experiencing staffing shortages as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before the pandemic, the risk of developing healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) was high for seniors; one study found a HAI prevalence rate of more than 10% in people over the age of 65, rising linearly with age. In fact, according to the same study, the burden of HAIs in nursing homes has now exceeded that of acute care facilities.
While all of these challenges have existed for some time, the
COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of finding solutions for better transitional care to protect our vulnerable aging population. Seniors all across the country have expressed fear about visiting physicians’ offices, clinics, and urgent care centers due to the virus—even for primary care—making access to quality care at home more important than ever. That’s where DispatchHealth comes in.
How DispatchHealth Can Help
DispatchHealth brings safe, same-day medical care to senior residences as a convenient and affordable alternative to avoidable emergency room visits. We work closely with senior living facilities along with payers, providers, health systems, EMS, and other healthcare partners to increase access to medical care and prevent unnecessary ER visits for your residents. The result? Better clinical outcomes, improved patient experiences, and a reduced cost of care.
We provide simple to complex treatment for high-acuity and urgent (but not life-threatening) illnesses and injuries, including bronchitis, viral infections, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia. We also manage coordination of prescriptions and will always send a detailed report of treatment performed to your resident’s care team, keeping their primary care physician and other specialists in the loop. We accept most major forms of insurance—including Medicare and Medicaid—and offer an affordable flat rate to uninsured patients. In fact, our average patient copay is between $5 and $50.
Better Transitional Care
Our services provide the turnkey transitional care solutions you’ve been looking for for your residents. We partner with certified nursing assistants, home health, primary care, and speciality providers to solve the challenges typically faced during transitional care, resulting in higher quality care in the areas your residents need it most. A partnership with us will result in a reduction in ER visits for your residents—a long-established goal of most senior living facilities.
The Benefits of Choosing DispatchHealth
Here are just a few pros of partnering with us for your senior living facility’s transitional care needs:
- A reduced total cost of care for your residents by diverting unnecessary ER visits and hospital admissions
- A decreased risk of healthcare-associated infections
- High patient satisfaction scores (consistently >95 NPS)
- Decreased stress in transportation to care settings
- Increased face-to-face time with providers and decreased time spent in waiting rooms
- A better ability for your residents to maintain their independence by aging in place rather than having to frequently leave home to seek urgent medical care
Want to learn more about how a partnership with DispatchHealth could benefit your residents’ quality of life? Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions—feel free to contact us today!
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
Sources referenced in this article: