By Lyndee Yamshon from Skilled Nursing News
For nursing home owners and operators, having frank conversations about residents’ end-of-life intentions, and organizing the associated paperwork proactively, is a potential way to avoid unwanted hospitalizations and the sizable costs that come with it — especially if it’s not in line with the patient’s wishes.
Nursing homes are faced with tough decisions when the end of a resident’s life comes sooner than expected, or if the resident never had conversations about their choices with loved ones. For these reasons, several experts say that the skilled nursing sector cannot afford to put off uncomfortable conversations — and one major provider in the Northwest says that aside from the human benefits, the cost savings could total in the millions.
In 2016, Medicare introduced a new payment structure for end-of-life conversations with numerous codes and detailed instructions, incentivizing operators and clinicians to formalize the process and encourage more of these discussions.
In addition to face-to-face interventions, new tech solutions have emerged to ease the end-of-life planning process.
Vynca, for instance, markets itself as a digital advance care planning company with an integrated IT platform that holds care planning paperwork in the cloud. And with some studies pointing to increased and unnecessary hospitalizations for patients at the end of life, IT platforms such as these may continue to decrease hospitalizations and reduce anxiety for patients and families in need of clearer guidelines during this difficult process.