Physician Collaboration in Nursing Homes

Angie SzumlinskiNews

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the danger in approaching nursing home care as simply long-term housing for the elderly. Research has shown that strong staffing coverage is a key indicator of a facility’s ability to keep COVID-19 outbreaks in check, and geriatricians have called for a larger role in shaping nursing home policy and operations. In the second part of Skilled Nursing News’ annual executive outlook, Dr. Jerry Wilborn, CEO, GAPS Health shared his thoughts on the pandemic and the future of post-acute care.

“Calendar year 2021 is here and skilled nursing facilities will continue to face many new challenges. This is a resilient industry, and I have no doubts that solving these challenges will create entirely new opportunities. Improving clinical care and enhancing census management will be at the forefront of SNF success and survival as we endure this pandemic and beyond.”

“For decades, physicians and SNFs have not been aligned to provide the best clinical outcomes for residents. SNFs have been considered an afterthought by many physicians, as it is often not their primary clinical focus. As a result of a paucity of effective physician presence across the industry, SNFs have developed their own clinical protocols without the input of physician guidance. As a clinician who has dedicated his career to caring for patients in the post-acute ecosystem, I was troubled that there were nursing homes during the heights of this pandemic that closed their doors to in-person physician rounding. Granted, there were successful telemedicine pivots and workarounds; this was a missed opportunity, truly underscoring the misalignment between physicians and SNFs.” Several other physicians shared insight into where we have been and where we are headed, the challenges we still face, and thoughts on how to address them effectively. Check out the full annual executive outlook for more information.

Stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!