Physicians play a critical role in the post-acute care setting, which includes a range of services and care provided to patients after they are discharged from an acute care hospital. Post-acute care settings can include rehabilitation hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care hospitals, and home health agencies.
The Value of Physician Services in Post-Acute Care
The value of physicians in post-acute care lies in their ability to provide comprehensive medical care to patients who have complex medical needs. Physicians in this setting have expertise in managing chronic medical conditions, such as heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes, as well as acute medical conditions that may arise during a patient’s recovery.
Physicians in post-acute care also play a key role in coordinating care among various healthcare providers, including nurses, therapists, and social workers. They work closely with these professionals to ensure that patients receive the appropriate care, medications, and treatments they need to recover.
Moreover, physicians in post-acute care settings also serve as advocates for their patients, helping them navigate the healthcare system, and making sure that their voices are heard in decisions regarding their care.
Physician engagement in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is essential to providing quality care for patients. Skilled nursing facilities are designed to provide care and rehabilitation services to patients who require ongoing medical attention, such as those recovering from surgery, injuries, or illnesses.
When physicians are engaged in SNFs, they can provide valuable medical insight, offer clinical guidance, and work with interdisciplinary teams to develop effective care plans for patients.
Why is Physician Engagement in SNFs is so Important?
- Enhanced patient outcomes: Physicians bring extensive medical knowledge and experience to the table. They can provide expert assessments of patients’ medical needs, monitor their progress, and adjust care plans accordingly. This can result in improved patient outcomes, shorter hospital stays, and reduced readmission rates. Improved outcomes lead to happier residents, families, and staff which all can positively impact a facility.
- Efficient communication: Physicians can collaborate with nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals in SNFs to provide coordinated care. Effective communication among all members of the care team can prevent medical errors, improve efficiency, and promote patient safety. Improved communication will lead to confidence among staff, when the facility staff has open communication with a physician they feel more comfortable taking complex admissions and meeting their clinical needs.
- Improved staff education: Physician engagement can help SNF staff stay up-to-date with the latest medical practices and guidelines. Physicians can provide education and training to staff, helping them provide the best possible care to patients. Staff development leads to retention, job satisfaction, and increased confidence.
- Quality improvement: Physicians can work with SNF staff to develop quality improvement initiatives, such as infection prevention and control measures, medication management protocols, and fall prevention programs. With the implementation of Mega Rule Phase 3, there is an incredible amount of focus on Quality Assurance and Process Improvement efforts (QAPI). Physician support of QAPI will be instrumental in the success of Skilled Nursing Facilities.
By working closely with the interdisciplinary care team, physicians can help ensure that patients receive the best possible care during their stay in the SNF. The days of having a distant Medical Director that shows up once a month to collect a stipend are long gone. Post-acute facilities are admitting more clinically complex patients than ever before with fewer staff and bigger regulatory challenges. The residents, families, and staff of our care setting deserve providers that are passionate about their individual needs and the advancement of the post-acute setting as a whole.