Doctors flunk test on skilled nursing facilities, raising concerns about care transitions, UCLA researchers say

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Early career physicians have extremely poor knowledge of skilled nursing facilities, showing that more robust training is needed to ensure that physicians can oversee effective transitions into SNFs, according to investigators at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The UCLA team created a 10-item, multiple choice pre-test that was given to 67 internal medicine residents prior to their mandatory SNF rotation. The mean number of correct answers was 4.9, the investigators found. Even after training, some residents still consistently answered certain questions incorrectly. The questions were about what a skilled nursing facility is, how it is staffed and what services it provides.

“Medical residents have insufficient knowledge about the type of care that can be provided at a SNF and efforts to improve this knowledge are needed to assure proper triage of patients and safe transitions to the SNF,” the authors wrote in the study abstract.

Full findings have been published online in JAMDA-The Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.