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Monday, 09 December 2013 16:39
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Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Palliative Care

 Diane Meier and Amy Kelley write:  “Because of its focus on quality of care, the Affordable Care Act is poised to expand access to palliative care services for the sickest, most vulnerable, and therefore most costly, 5 percent of patients, who drive about 50 percent of all healthcare spending.  Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses that focuses on providing relief from symptoms, pain, and stress, whatever the diagnosis or stage of illness.  Patients (and family caregivers) receiving palliative care experience improved quality of life, better symptom management, lower rates of depression and anxiety, and improved survival.  Because patient and family needs are met, crises are prevented, thereby directly reducing need for emergency department and hospital use and their associated costs.”

Currently, most formal palliative care programs operate in clinic and hospital settings, where there is evidence that these programs enhance the quality of care, increase patient and family satisfaction, and decrease health care costs. The failure of palliative care to take hold in nursing homes stems from several factors:  regulations that favor rehabilitation over palliative care; inadequate staff knowledge and skill in palliative care; financial disincentives (e.g., higher reimbursement for skilled nursing care and invasive therapies); misconceptions about palliative care; and lack of reimbursement for specialized palliative care.

Hospice agency/nursing home partnerships.  There are three models for delivering palliative care in nursing homes. The first model involves partnerships between hospice agencies and nursing homes. This approach has grown substantially since the late 1980s, when CMS determined that eligible nursing home residents could access the Medicare hospice benefit. Around a third of all nursing home decedents now use the Medicare hospice benefit before death.  Hospice supplements the resources available at nursing homes, introducing services such as expert symptom management, additional personal care, spiritual counseling, social work services, and volunteer and bereavement services. Although some authors have raised questions of the fit between Medicare’s configuration of the hospice benefit and the nursing home setting, hospice use in NHs is associated with decreased unnecessary therapies, fewer hospitalizations, improved pain and symptom management, and higher family satisfaction with care.

Source: Health Affairs Blog

Judah

The Regency organization has become synonymous with the best in senior healthcare and has garnered a well deserved reputation for its unsurpassed commitment to its patients and residents.

The Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers and Facilities throughout New Jersey have achieved numerous industry ‘gold standard’ benchmarks and have received accolades from all corners of the HealthCare community.

Welcome to our website at www.RegencyNursing.com!

Warm Regards,

Judah

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