The Longview Assisted Living Residence at Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) in Wyckoff, was recently selected to participate in a pilot test of the Intervention to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT), which is a quality-improvement program that focuses on the management of acute changes in residents’ condition. It includes clinical and educational tools and strategies for use caring for residents and patients in long-term care facilities. The purpose of the program is to improve the early identification of changes in the health status of residents, and therefore, improving care and reduce the frequency of potentially avoidable transfers to the acute care setting and reduce the number of admissions/readmissions to acute care hospitals.
Hospitals across the country are working diligently to reduce readmission rates and the steep penalties imposed by the Affordable Care Act. Florida Atlantic University in Baca Raton saw the opportunity to do a research project from long-term care to acute care. Funding was provided from a research grant through the Common Wealth Fund and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Longview is participating in this four month pilot which began on November 1,
2013, and runs through March, 2014. Staff will participate in webinars and conference calls with the research group and provide feedback about what tools and strategies are working, and where there may be room for improvement. Participation is voluntary, but Longview staff was eager to participate since reducing acute-care transfers supports Longview’s goal to allow residents to age in place.
“Healthcare is always changing and evolving,” said Elisabeth Micich Otero, RN-BCCC, MSN, Quality Manager and Clinical Educator and a pivotal member of the pilot team. “We are trying to modify, what used to be a fairly routine process: Send the patient or resident to the Emergency Department to be evaluated for a change in condition. This former practice has now evolved into a new way of looking at the situation. We are now examining each situation more carefully to determine if there is anything we can do to help keep the patient in a familiar and consistent environment.”
The study is focusing on the following conditions which are often the cause for readmissions to acute-care hospitals: Acute mental status change, changes in behavior, dehydration, fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, and lower respiratory system.
“This program will help us learn how to do things better and how to better utilize our resources and have better outcomes,” said Ms. Micich Otero. “Having residents readmitted also disrupts the residents and their families, both physically and mentally. We need to change the way we think and provide more interdisciplinary training. It’s a work in progress.”
Christian Health Care Center provides a broad continuum of high-quality, compassionate care, offering superior mental-health, elder-care, residential living, and rehabilitation services. As a non-profit organization, we deliver care to our community based on the Christian principles on which we were founded more than a century ago.