Long-term care success is about steady, reliable relationships. That’s my takeaway after attending two recent conferences that echo my experiences in the field.
The first event delivered the results thus far of an ongoing program that won a coveted grant from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Center for Innovation. The OPTIMISTIC project is an effort of Indiana University and local partners, including the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging and Community. OPTIMISTIC is an acronym for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality, and Improving Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care.
The model entails placing registered nurses in nursing facilities, as well as giving staff access to nurse practitioners. The nurses function as educational trainers and as resources for the team.
The consistent relationships with these nursing experts produced astounding results, including a 32.6% reduced relative risk of potentially avoidable hospitalizations and a net savings to Medicare of $3.4 million.
The second conference in which I participated was a National Readmission Collaborative event.
Keynote speaker Eric A. Coleman, M.D., discussed research on phone calls following up with patients after discharge from the hospital. While such contacts have been touted as an effective means of identifying and remedying precursors to hospital readmission, patients are often barraged with contacts from various service providers. These well-intentioned efforts thus become annoyances without real value to the patient and their family.
Having one consistent, informed care manager across the healthcare continuum proves more useful and effective, he reports.
As a psychologist, I’m not at all surprised.