It’s Back to Basics in Nursing Homes in Treating Disease

November 9, 2011
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Posted in DiversionsHealthcare Policy & The MediaKnowledge & MedicineScience & Research

Posted in DiversionsHealthcare Policy & The MediaKnowledge & MedicineScience & Research

Just under 13 percent of skilled long term care facilities here in Minnesota are part of a project that is aimed at reducing the “supply side” of potentially unnecessary hospitalizations in the care of their elderly patients. The three year initiative is based upon data already gleaned from smaller tests and it essentially involves going back to the fundamentals of physical diagnosis — from all members of the skilled provider team.

“The problem is the doctors,” [Dr. Robert Kane, a University of Minnesota aging expert who is helping lead the experiment, said.] “Physicians familiar with nursing homes learn quickly to trust the precise information from nurses using the Interact tools. But for the others, especially nights or weekends, the default is hospitalization.”

I like to think of this as a recognition about what physicians have always known about medicine. Nothing substitutes for a thorough physical exam, regardless of who the examiner is. Any effort to utilize the good ol’ noggin to diagnose and treat without the knee-jerk rush to the hospital ED to provide primary care is always preferred, and it saves the proverbial bean counters on the acute care side of things (hospitals) of having to deal with yet another inappropriate admission. |

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