Reduce hospitalization of nursing home residents

Nursing home care for the elderly has been a common practice in the US for many years. Normally, this practice has proved to be a beneficial intervention to many people who are in constant need of special care and treatment, once they have entered their golden years.

The practice also serves as a big relief to many families who may often find themselves tangled in great dilemma on how to best cater for either both or one of their parents who is not able to live independently, as a result of advanced age. Moreover, it is in the best will of the US government to administer special medical concern on the aging generation as it has been constituted in the health regulations.

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Bearing the above concerns in mind, home care for the elderly is a necessary intervention in USA and it has always been a welcomed idea in all the states. However, no matter the overall benefits associated with nursing care, there have been great concerns recently, following increased hospitalization of residents of nursing homes (Feder and Komisar, 2005). Oftentimes, this has resulted into numerous hospitalization complications for the patients and unnecessary health care expenditures that have amounted into billions of dollars.

This concern has triggered a number of multifaceted strategies and policy measures that are likely to prevent unnecessary hospitalization of nursing home residents, thus helping to address the current incentives associated with the practice. One such approach which has proved to be promising in addressing this matter is INTERACT.

INTERACT, which is an acronym for ‘Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers’ is a special program of improvement whose main focus and mission is to take care of acute change in the condition of home care residents in the US. As it would be observed, the main objective of this program is to establish desirable care conditions in nursing facilities, thus minimizing the frequency of avoidable hospitalization of home care residents.

These frequent but unnecessary hospitalizations have raised conflicting financial conflicts between Medicaid and Medicare, the two bodies involved in providing for nursing homes and hospital services, respectively. This however, has been observed to be as a result of inadequate or even lacking health care facilities within many nursing care homes. Some of these facilities would include radiology services, on-site pharmacies and well-trained staff in matters of health.

INTERACT comes with educational and clinical tools, among other key strategies that would be necessary in addressing the recurring health issues associated with long-term care institutions (Loeb and Carusone, 2008). Through these interventions, INTERACT has proved to be able to identify and manage health conditions before they can reach stages that necessitate hospital intervention.

This policy measure can be an effective intervention in helping to reduce unnecessary hospitalization of patients from long-term care facilities. According to recent studies on proposed interventions that have been designed with the aim of minimizing avoidable hospitalizations of nursing care residents, INTERACT has proved to be promising in all settings.

However, just like any other realistic strategy, this intervention has its own limitations and disadvantages. One of the biggest limitations associated with the program is that, it is yet to be fully accepted by many nursing home residents, as an effective strategy that could be used to address most of their seemingly complex health problems.

Most people who have entrusted their loved ones in the care of nursing care facilities would prefer hospitals to be the most promising intervention when it comes to the health of their elderly loved ones (Kayser-Jones and Wiener, 1999). Another possible limitation of this intervention is that, it is known only in some states and it is yet to be established in many nursing homes across the country.

Publicity of INTERACT as a program having the necessary infrastructure and leadership commitment in health care matters for the elderly is one promising way that can be used to overcome these issues. The other possible way to deal with the limitations of the program in its services is to advocate for its acceptance by taking it into every corner of the country where it is needed by nursing care residents.

References

Feder, J. and Komisar, H. (2005). Long-term care in the United States: An overview. Health Affairs, 19 (3), 40-56.

Kayser-Jones, J and Wiener, C. (1999). Factors contributing to the hospitalization of nursing home residents. The Gerontologist, 29 (4), 502.

Loeb, M. and Carusone, S. (2008). Effect of a clinical pathway to reduce

hospitalizations in nursing home residents with pneumonia. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 295 (21), 2503.