After a big project or undertaking, it’s important to take a moment to reflect on your processes, challenges, and successes. Although COVID-19 isn’t over yet, we know planning for the future while navigating the new normal is top of mind for senior care providers. Our Lessons in Care Transitions Interview Guide pulls together the lessons learned from PointClickCare as well other leaders in senior healthcare throughout the pandemic.
Here are some of the most important lessons learned by senior healthcare leaders since the start of the pandemic:
Planning and collaboration are critical to our success
With a world-wide global health crisis, it is not surprising that preparation and planning for infectious diseases are top of mind for senior care providers. Speaking with Skelly Wingard of Kaiser Permanente, she noted her biggest takeaway from the COVID-19 pandemic is the importance of being prepared for the unexpected by truly knowing your patient population in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Wingard suggests approaching a preparedness plan by addressing what she calls the three S’s: staffing, support, and supplies needed to ensure SNFs are equipped to be successful and to execute quickly.
Lori Baker of TriHealth said COVID-19 made us think about the importance of the patient experience, and ensuring team members at the SNF have as much time as possible to care for patients. To do that, Baker’s teams have been a part of a community collaborative with other local hospitals and skilled nursing facilities to better address hotspots when they appear.
Successful care transitions and patient management depends on data
Right now, data is your best friend. Data can tell you who has been infected, their risks and healthcare needs, and it is critical for care providers in making informed decisions for the future of patients and their business operations going forward.
Speaking with Dr. Tere Koenig of Medical Mutual, she noted that data is so critical that in the beginning, many organizations developed dashboards and assembled teams to gather, analyze, and share COVID-19 data, hers included. The dashboard allowed her team to look at who had been admitted with COVID or potential COVID and who needed high-level care, such as ICU. Having this data available also enabled their organization to better understand capacity needs and adjust resources, as well as provide state-required weekly updates on SNF cases.
The lasting impacts on care transitions
Overall, the most important takeaway that all interviewees agreed upon is the importance of telehealth.
As an industry, we have certainly dabbled in telehealth and wondered if patients would embrace it and whether it could be implemented across the board. Now we know. Moving forward, there is a new normal for case management and physician visits, and the time to leverage technology is now.