Readmission Penalties, Long-Term Care, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Hospitals are focusing on decreasing readmissions that occur within 30 days, and the resulting, increasing penalties to be incurred in the future.

Not surprisingly, the readmission conversation now includes skilled nursing facilities – facilities where up to 80% of their residents have memory impairment, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Hospital are – or should – be working to develop partnerships with facilities to assist in the care transition to prevent readmissions. These partnerships should be with reputable, capable and forward-thinking organizations and facilities.

While CMS is currently focusing on hospital readmission penalties for 3 diagnoses, we know additional diagnoses will be identified in the future. Health care professionals, including those in post-acute care, must acknowledge the number of people with these 3 diagnoses who ALSO have cognitive impairment, and how the effects of memory loss impact their ability to care for and treat this population.

Thus, while developing partnerships with long-term care, it would serve hospitals to examine a facility’s ability and commitment to caring for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The lack of an appropriate approach for this population will surely affect readmission rates.

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