Blog by Sherry Roberts, RN, Clinical Consultant, Proactive Medical Review

COVID-19 is an acute, sometimes severe, respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus SARS-CoV2. Person-to-person spread occurs through contact with infected secretions, mainly via contact with large respiratory droplets, but can also occur via contact with a surface contaminated by respiratory droplets. Nursing facilities face higher risk of transmission due to high population density creating difficulty in maintaining avoidance precautions. Significantly, residents of nursing homes are at high risk for more severe disease because of age and underlying medical disorders.

Clinical Presentation

People with COVID-19 may have few to no symptoms, although some become severely ill and die. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The exact incubation time is not certain with estimates ranging from 1 to 14 days. The risk of serious disease and death in COVID-19 cases increases with age. COVID-19 can cause Pneumonia and ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Acute Respiratory Failure and several other conditions.

Respiratory Assessment

If COVID-19 disease is suspected as part of the screening process, a  thorough respiratory assessment is essential, including careful auscultation to identify residents with a risk of significant lower respiratory illness.

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Indiana hospitals are racking up millions of dollars in penalties for having too many patients return for care within a month of discharge.

Sixty-six Hoosier hospitals—including 17 in central Indiana—will see their Medicare payments docked next year by a total of about $12 million as a result of having patients readmitted within 30 days. That’s up from $9 million in penalties three years ago.

The federal government says readmissions are often unnecessary and cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year for treatments that should have been caught the first time around, or were not followed up adequately.

So for the seventh consecutive year, it is using the pressure of lower reimbursements to get hospitals to improve their numbers.

Hospitals, for their part, say they are working with patients every way they can think of to keep readmissions at a minimum.

Many are sending patients home with a thick, detailed packet of discharge instructions and a month’s worth of medications. Hospitals send nurses and aides to discharged patients’ homes to see how they are doing. In some cases, patients are given vouchers for cabs or van shuttles to get to their primary care physicians for follow-up visits.

Still, the penalties keep climbing.

“It’s getting more difficult,” said Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association. “Hospitals have picked a lot of the low-hanging fruit in terms of strategies. And so the work gets harder and harder.”

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Hospitals are going to be looking to post-acute providers now more than ever to step-up their game. This spring, HTS launched THRIVE a turn-key system to promote successful care transitions following a post-acute stay. Our proprietary clinical programs are just another way that we move our clients forward as leaders of rehabilitation in the markets they serve. Contact us today to learn how partnering with HTS can help improve outcomes and reduce readmissions.

 


October is National Physical Therapy Month!
National Physical Therapy Month is designed to recognize the impact that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants make in restoring and improving motion in people’s lives. Physical therapy may be necessary for those recovering after an illness, a fall, injury, surgery or chronic condition. Physical therapists work hard to help patients retain and regain their quality of life.

 


Speak with your doctor to find out how therapy could benefit you!