Iovanna Lopez, M.A., M.S. is administrator and co-owner of Specialized Nursing Services, Inc., a fully licensed Home Health Care agency in Florida. In a three-part series, Lopez looks at the impact of Healthcare Reform law on hospitals, doctors and the patient, and the benefits provided by in-home caregivers.
Healthcare Reform law includes substantial changes that will dramatically affect how hospitals are reimbursed under the Medicare program. Initially, Medicare will reduce payment to hospitals with a higher number of patients who are discharged following treatment for AMI, heart failure, or pneumonia, and who return to the same hospital or another within 30 days. This puts a tremendous burden on hospitals, attending doctors, and the patient to get it right the first time.
With more than 20 years of experience providing nationally recognized, quality in-home care for the elderly in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Specialized Nursing Services (SNS) has implemented targeted process enhancements and taken strategic steps to improve the clinical pathways to patient wellness following discharge from a hospital. Traditionally, only a small percentage of elderly patients return home with round-the-clock supportive services. Consequently, they may not take their medications as prescribed, follow up with their physician, faithfully follow a physical therapy routine, or notice that a surgical wound has become infected. Too often these patients must be readmitted for additional treatment at great cost and distress for all.
When a hospital releases a patient into our care with a customized treatment plan developed by their physician, SNS professionals assist with the transition from hospital to home. For example, if our Patient has an unopened blister on the hip which requires cleaning, dressing and daily care, it is our responsibility to teach the patient’s daughter to do wound care. In addition, we continue to follow up on our patient for two weeks until the wound has healed. SNS becomes responsible for that individual twenty-four/seven. We monitor their medications, encourage self-management of their disease process, ensure that the home environment is safe, educate caregivers/family members on our patient’s disease process, and help the patient return to normal activities. We do this with compassion, gentility, and respect for every individual in our care. Our home health aides, nurses, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy specialists work with the patient daily and can contact their doctor immediately should it become necessary. We also make sure that doctor receives an update every two weeks.
Specialized Nursing Services is the health link between the hospital and a fully recovered and satisfied patient. Home healthcare services can reduce costly readmissions in the new environment of medical reform.