Of all the industries impacted by the pandemic, nursing homes may have suffered the most, particularly the residents occupying facilities nationwide. Stories of overcrowding with facilities accepting covid positive patients made banner headlines. The choice to house those stricken with coronavirus created havoc. Many residents were pulled out of nursing homes, and others passed away due to exposure.
Fast forward to today, and referrals are skyrocketing. Those through January of 2023 revealed a spike of 113 percent in referrals.
Conversely, home health agency referrals saw rejection rates at 76 percent, an unprecedented high between December and January last year. Staffing shortages and the overall logistics saw more home health agencies turn away patients. Due to those issues, hospitals are more prone to send patients to nursing homes.
Troubling comorbidity trends
The need for acute care is also growing with patients in hospitals. Concurrently, comorbidities also increased to troubling levels. Specific illnesses have seen a 17 percent increase in neurological disorders, a 16 percent growth in alcohol-related disorders, and an eight percent rise in pulmonary diseases.
Post-hospital discharge care for an aging population sees more people with diabetes, heart conditions, and kidney diseases. They also need a place to land, either entering a nursing facility or sending patients home for care.
Agencies have streamlined operations, including referral processing. However, staffing shortfalls of nurses and physical/occupational therapists are standing in the way of effective care.
Older people unable to care for themselves need quality care, regardless of where they reside. Even after a worldwide pandemic, patients at facilities still suffer intentional and unintentional neglect.