Increased Stay Lengths and Limited Staff Hurts Senior Care Facilities

Staffing challenges are negatively impacting the patient discharge process.

By HFT Staff
June 10, 2022

CarePort, powered by WellSky, has released its Evolution of Care report. The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way care is delivered in the United States. The need for greater coordination across care settings is critical as higher-acuity patients are discharged from hospitals. CarePort data shows that in aggregate, the average patient discharged to skilled nursing facilities (SNF) and home health care is more acute than in 2019, resulting in an 11 percent increase in average comorbidity score. Common comorbidities include congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, hypertension, neurological disorders, diabetes, and obesity, among other conditions. 

Staffing challenges are negatively impacting the patient discharge process. CarePort found a 33 percent increase in referrals sent per patient to home health but a 15 percent reduction in home health acceptance. Once a home health placement is secured, timeliness of start of care – a critical measurement to ensuring optimal patient outcomes – is often delayed. In studying CarePort data, the risk of a hospital readmission rises 3 percent each day a patient is not seen by a home health provider post-discharge. 

As a result of these staffing limitations, patients might be required to prolong their time in the hospital. The average hospital length of stay for patients has increased by 10 percent since 2019, with an 8 percent increase for home health referrals. 

“The industry must continue to solve for current challenges and usher in a new era of healthcare – one that is connected, collaborative, and focused on achieving the best possible outcomes,” says Lissy Hu, CEO and founder of CarePort, powered by WellSky. “Care coordination will play an important role by making providers aware of the availability and quality of services so patient needs can be met in a timely manner, without adding additional administrative burdens.” 

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