Hospitals are releasing too soon, but nursing homes can seize opportunities to reduce readmissions, INTERACT creator says

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Nursing homes need to build relationships with their local hospitals to reduce unnecessary readmissions, cut costs and provide better care, a geriatric expert said Thursday.

Joseph Ouslander, M.D., who led the creation of the INTERACT system, addressed some of providers' key questions in a McKnight's webinar Thursday. Medline sponsored the event.

In response to the question, “Are hospitals releasing too soon?” Ouslander says many times, yes. But when that happens, it's a chance for nursing home leaders to reach out and strengthen the relationship with the hospital. Don't approach the hospital with a blame-and-shame mindset, Ouslander advises, but sit down and discuss how the care teams can work together.

Inviting hospital acute caregivers to the long-term care facility and building relationships based on mutual respect are important, he said. When a transfer occurs, make it a “warm handoff” by following up with a telephone call, a secure email, or some other form of person-to-person communication.

Ouslander also addressed how reducing readmissions can lead to substantial cost savings, and outlined the steps SNFs can take to successfully implement INTERACT or a similar quality improvement program. The full webinar and accompanying PowerPoint presentation are available here.

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