Improving the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes


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The quality of care in nursing homes has long been a concern. That’s why the US government instituted nursing home requirements, including assessments, inspections, and electronic data to monitor and report conditions at nursing homes. While these measures did help cut down on abuse, they did not necessarily improve overall healthcare quality.

The Biggest Challenges in Quality Care

Perhaps the biggest challenge in providing quality of care in nursing homes is the severe staffing shortage throughout the industry. A survey by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living showed that an astounding 94% of nursing homes are dealing with staff shortages.

Nursing homes are filled with compassionate caregivers who want to provide quality care, but the combination of short staff, thin margins, and chronic underfunding by Medicaid has created an environment with less-than-ideal conditions. Since Medicaid covers only 70% to 80% of care costs, nursing home facilities are left to pick up the rest.

These conditions can lead to missed or rushed care, errors, and an overall lack of patient monitoring. With funding problems and staff shortages, caregivers cannot always spend the amount of time with patients that they deserve.

This environment has become challenging for taking care of chronic patients and can be devastating to those requiring acute care because higher acuity patients require more attention.

Improving the Quality of Care in Nursing Homes

One solution that many nursing homes and chronic care facilities are deploying to improve the quality of care is continuous remote patient monitoring (CRPM).

CRPM provides continuous, real-time monitoring of patient conditions, so there are no more missed, rushed, or inaccurate readings. Rather than take static snapshots of health data from patients, vital signs are recorded continuously.

This continuous monitoring increases the number of data points from a few per day to thousands.

“Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can then be applied to analyze this data, spot developing trends and bring them to the attention of healthcare professionals so interventions (if needed) can be applied earlier, reducing the risk of a costly and disruptive visit to the emergency department (ED) or inpatient stay.” —Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS)

With the addition of AI and ML, data can be constantly compared to baselines to detect even the smallest abnormalities that might lead to exacerbations for earlier detection and prevention.

Use Cases for CRPM

CRPM in nursing homes is being used for the monitoring of patients across the care spectrum, including those dealing with:

  • Chronic conditions: Monitoring conditions and predicting exacerbations
  • Alzheimer’s, Dementia: Regularly reminding patients to manage care
  • Follow-up care after visits to the ED: Monitoring of post-acute treatment regimens
  • Cardiopulmonary diseases: Detecting the early warning signs of congestive heart failure for more rapid intervention
  • Obstructive sleep apnea: Monitoring a drop in blood oxygen levels from an obstructed airway while patients sleep
  • Physiological stress: Monitoring heart rate variability and sleep parameters.

The Benefits of CRPM in Nursing Homes

CRPM in nursing homes provides various benefits for caregivers and patients. It reduces operational costs for nursing home facilities, but more importantly, it provides the foundation for improving the quality of care for patients.

Even if caregivers take all the prescribed readings manually, they may not notice when conditions deteriorate between scheduled assessments. CRPM provides continuous monitoring, so if an anomaly occurs at any time, it is evaluated. If an event warrants further investigation or intervention, alerts are generated automatically.

CRPM also provides a way to better integrate data across multiple co-morbidities and disease states. It makes all the data available across all health providers, from the local nursing home staff to doctors and EDs, if needed.

Studies have shown that nursing home residents see an improvement in mental health when using CRPM because they know that they are being monitored. This provides greater peace of mind. CRPM also helps educate patients about what activities or conditions cause exacerbations, thereby helping them to self-regulate.

The automated monitoring and documentation of vital signs can significantly reduce the workload of healthcare professionals without the worry that they may be missing the important data that they need to provide a high level of quality care.

Besides these benefits, CRPM has also been shown to reduce the use of hospital EDs. One recent study showed that the US healthcare system could reduce costs by nearly $200 billion with the adoption of remote monitoring tools for acute and chronic patients.

The Oxitone Continuous Remote Patient Monitoring Solution

The Oxitone 100M is a wrist-wearable pulse oximeter that provides continuous, real-time data to monitor and provide details of:

  • Hypoxia index
  • Sleep data
  • Physiological stress
  • Behavioral data

The Oxitone 1000M also provides accurate disease-specific reporting and dynamic health status baseline data.

Nursing home facilities can monitor all their residents with the Oxitone 1000M, the world’s first FDA-cleared wearable pulse oximetry device, and the integrated SaaS system. The nursing home and clinician portal enables the monitoring of patients across the facility, with secure cloud and AI tools for better healthcare.

Here at Oxitone, we boost value-based healthcare by delivering extraordinary patient, clinical, and economical outcomes at reduced medical utilization and cost. Patients need a prompt response to emergencies. Physicians need an easy and timely follow-up with patients. Our mission is to transform chronic disease management and help save lives worldwide.

Let’s save lives together! To see how we help remote patient monitoring companies and physicians improve the management and care of high-risk patients, contact us today!

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