Valentine’s week for our family has also been mid-winter break for our kiddos. It’s a slow down after the holidays before the rush of spring. One of those special weeks yearly when there is no school, few sports, and as a mother, I get the chance to experience all five children spending some quality time together. 

The observations this year have come with an awareness of how sibling love presents in the Kinder family.

They are now at the age where the decide independently how to plan their days, which has included making their own meals, fishing, playing games in the evening, and various physical challenges that comes with a household of three sons and two fearless daughters.

One such example came when the boys decided to take off in the morning on their bikes, with Emmy following on rollerblades. In true form, they didn’t baby her, they didn’t slow down, and as their speed intensified, I heard her scream, “You all speed up, I hope it hurts!” She then lets out a loud “Goggins!”

Oh dear, she gets it honest, and it took me back to one of my early Rehab Realities blogs.

Every so often as a blog writer you have this magical moment where the ideas just flow. It’s magical.

Forget about favoritism

One such piece for me occurred on Feb. 15, 2018, and was titled “Love hurts PAC relationships.”

A little grouchy for some … maybe? A little too honest for many, absolutely. 

However, I still have folks tell me they remember this piece and the fact that as providers, loving your partners often means appreciating those who challenge you, don’t always agree with you, and, in essence, push you to be your absolute best. 

Now, in the realm of providing therapy services within skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in 2024, the dynamics of forming strategic partnerships across the post-acute care (PAC) spectrum have evolved. 

While the sentiment of admiration and affection towards certain partners persists, it’s crucial to recognize that emotional bias can cloud judgment and hinder objective decision-making.

Gone are the days when partnerships were based on superficial attributes like the quality of donuts or promotional items. Today, the focus is on aligning with partners who challenge the status quo, question practices, and prioritize the pursuit of optimal patient outcomes.

Rather than succumbing to emotions like “likability” and “favoritism,” SNFs must adopt a pragmatic approach towards partnership development. 

Building powerful partnerships

What are some considerations for fostering effective relationships in the contemporary healthcare landscape, you ask?

  • Outcome-oriented practices: Instead of fixating on siloed metrics, SNFs should implement practices that ensure patients maintain functional gains within reasonable timeframes. This entails collaborative efforts between therapy and nursing teams to optimize rehabilitation outcomes.
  • Enhanced communication systems: Establishing robust communication channels across the entire PAC spectrum is imperative. Beyond mere paperwork exchange, SNFs should seek partners who prioritize seamless information sharing and interdisciplinary collaboration. Identifying providers with distinct care pathways can facilitate smoother transitions between settings.
  • Patient-centric approach: Designating a clear point of contact for patients and their families is essential. Patients should be empowered with measurable indicators of functional changes, enabling them to actively participate in their care plans. Collaborative efforts among spectrum providers can facilitate the development of standardized assessment tools and shared decision-making protocols.
  • Proactive readmission policies: SNFs must collaborate with other PAC providers to determine criteria for readmission decisions. Recognizing early signs of decline and engaging in transparent discussions with patients and families can prevent unnecessary hospital readmissions and mitigate adverse outcomes.

In closing, this post-Valentine’s Day weekend, SNFs are encouraged to look beyond the surface level and prioritize partnerships that foster growth and innovation. 

Embracing discomfort, loving the pain, and actively engaging with partners who challenge existing practices can lead to the attainment of the highest-quality outcomes for patients.

By reframing the approach to partnership development, SNFs can cultivate relationships that withstand the test of time and ultimately benefit the individuals they serve.

Renee Kinder, MS, CCC-SLP, RAC-CT, serves as the Executive Vice President of Clinical Services for Broad River Rehab. Additionally, she contributes her expertise as a member of the American Speech Language Hearing Association’s (ASHA) Healthcare and Economics Committee, the University of Kentucky College of Medicine community faculty, and an advisor to the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Current Procedural Terminology CPT® Editorial Panel, and a member of the AMA Digital Medicine Payment Advisory Group. For further inquiries, she can be contacted at [email protected] 

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.

Have a column idea? See our submission guidelines here.