As healthcare continues to shift to a value-based model of care, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and other centers must either prioritize the implementation of better post-acute care within their organizations or continue to update their existing protocols. This provides patients and residents with higher levels of service, communication, and long-term health benefits.

How can your facility improve the post-acute care you provide to your residents? Follow these four strategies laid out below.

1. Optimize Your Network Management

In order to ensure the post-acute care you provide is appropriate and beneficial, it is important to establish an optimized network of trusted, high-performing facilities. Identifying facilities that have success treating certain conditions through collected data, fostering collaborative relationships among facilities, and aligning financial and rehabilitation goals to provide incentives for better post-acute care all fall into this strategy.

Establishing concrete relationships and cultivating a strong network with other relevant facilities helps SNFs ensure that their patients can receive the best care by enforcing higher standards of performance across the network. Additionally, coordinating transitions between facilities works to improve communication and care as well. You can cultivate this network through additional assessments, which can include quality evaluations, cost range, accepted insurance policies, and more.

2. Identifying Appropriate Care Settings

For patients to receive the best post-acute care possible, it is important for care providers to accurately determine where patients should be transferred following their initial discharge. From a cost and care perspective, there are situations and conditions that may be better treated at home, but others will benefit immensely from the care provided by SNFs instead. Being able to make these determinations based on past data and patient comorbidities can ensure patients are transferred to facilities that can provide the most appropriate care for their specific needs.

3. Prioritizing Accuracy in Determining Length of Stay

Accurately predicting the length of stay a patient will require following acute care can save patients and facilities money, while also ensuring the care provided is both optimal and efficient. By more effectively anticipating and accounting for post-acute patient care, SNFs can better help patients get the care they need to recover in a timely, cost-effective fashion that is beneficial for all involved parties.

4. Implementing Effective Readmission Prevention Tactics

A high percentage of patients are readmitted to the hospital shortly after being discharged, and a significant portion of these readmissions are preventable. SNFs and other long-term care facilities, when providing post-acute care, must take steps to prevent patient readmission and ensure that the care they offer is comprehensive, complete, and effective.

Some common tactics for readmission prevention include transition coaching and medication reconciliation programs. Such initiatives aim to provide guidance for patients who are moving from facility to facility or going home following post-acute care. They also reduce readmission rates and supply patients and caregivers with the tools, information, and resources needed to promote continued care and support.

Preventing readmission benefits both patients and facilities. As part of a widespread effort to compel facilities to prioritize post-acute care, many hospitals have been subject to penalties as the result of high readmission rates. Such initiatives can naturally encourage better patient care to reduce those rates. Through improved post-acute care and stronger readmission prevention tactics, SNFs and acute care hospitals can boost the quality of care they provide, reduce the costs for patients and facilities associated with readmission, and generally improve their functionality and reputation.

Implementing these strategies may take time, initiative, and upfront costs, but the payoff will be worth the dedication for facilities and patients alike. Through higher standards of care, more accuracy in the determination and length of patient stays, stronger network connections, and a focus on readmission prevention, SNFs can improve the services they provide, foster better relationships with patients and caregivers, and strengthen their connections and industry reputations.