Residents of nursing homes are particularly susceptible to health complications. Around half of all individuals residing in nursing home facilities are over 85 and often live with disabilities or neurodegenerative conditions. Keeping nursing home residents healthy, happy and reducing avoidable hospitalizations have been key areas of interest for nursing home facilities, particularly as in-patient medical care can end up costing these institutions millions.
Previous research suggests that close to 70 percent of all hospitalizations from nursing homes are avoidable, with these visits taking a considerable toll on older people’s overall health and wellbeing.
New research has revealed how simple measures such as keeping residents hydrated, active and recognizing the early warning signs of illnesses such as infections can keep seniors out of the hospital and allow nursing homes to recapture revenue.
Researchers from the University of Missouri analyzed financial and health data collected across 11 nursing homes and found that early interventions by care providers allowed residents to stay in the nursing home while receiving treatment, saving these institutions over $32 million in hospitalization costs. In addition, supporting nursing home staff with registered nurses helps minimize staff burnout and turnover.
Proper hydration and nutrition at the earliest signs of medical problems help prevent many conditions from worsening. In addition, residents prefer being cared for by their nursing home carers than having to be admitted to the unfamiliar environment of the hospital. With many nursing homes struggling to protect their residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, improved guidelines to improve the quality of care in nursing homes cannot come soon enough.