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Patient-Centered Care Approach Tops List of Changes Coming to Long-Term Facilities

A combination of increasingly high costs, alarming statistics, Affordable Healthcare Act requirements and an aging generation of Baby Boomers has forced the long-term care industry to evaluate and adjust the way it provides services to post-acute care patients.

An increasing number of patients have their healthcare coverage through an ACO or MCO, which have their own policies, procedures and practices long-term care facilities must abide by.

doctor-holding-hand-patient-centered-carePenalties have been established for hospitals that have high 30-day readmission rates, which means their administrators are scrutinizing the facilities they transition patients to.

But it isn’t all about money.

The focus is on providing patient-centered care in a homelike environment that reduces the need for hospitalizations and, as a result, lowers overall healthcare spending.

Patient-Centered Care

Patient-centered care considers the needs and desires of the patients in long-term care settings rather than the efficiencies of the facility. Changes to accomplish this include:

  • Flexible dining and snacking schedules
  • More ethnic and cultural food options
  • Patient-centered sleep and bathing schedules
  • Spa-like bathing rooms
  • Expanding activity choices
  • Allowing residents to refuse medications and dietary restrictions
  • Residents and their families involved in care planning meetings
  • Small, neighborhood-style units
  • Community pets
  • Residents help choose new staff members


Because staff are on the frontline of providing services they have a clear view of how things work – and don’t work. Because of this, they will be more involved in making decisions in many areas.

  • Staff involved in work process changes
  • Staff involved in facility design changes
  • Accountability systems that provide timely and effective feedback
  • Staff are allowed more time to spend with patients

Policies and Procedures

To comply with healthcare standards and avoid penalties while improving health outcomes for their patients, facilities administrators will have to make significant adjustments.

  • Improved communication between facilities during patient transitions
  • Increased focus on minimizing hospital readmission rates
  • Increased use of Electronic Health Records
  • Transition to SCRIPT for transmitting prescriptions on Nov. 1, 2014
  • Implementation of ICD-10 coding standards on Oct. 1 2015
  • Increase in number of patients covered by an ACO or MCO

General Medicine can help your long-term care facility implement the changes coming to the industry. Our post-hospitalist services have been lowering hospital readmission rates, lowering healthcare spending for facilities and patients, and, most importantly, improving patient health outcomes for more than 30 years.


Tom Prose