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What Do New Long Term Care Models Demand of Medical Collaboration?

Posted by Lawrence Kerr on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 @ 06:01 AM

brian-babb-256298.jpgJust as the field of medicine is in a process of re-imagining, transition, and disruption  long term care is too.

Long Term Care is one of the most challenging settings to work in for a healthcare provider, and our colleagues who do, are caring, sophisticated, and innovative.

But the reality remains that the typical nursing home model — of which there are 15,000 in the US — isn’t serving its residents to the degree that they, their families, and their providers would like. So, the Green House Project is aiming to disrupt that model, creating something completely new — and a study was just done about whether it is working or not.

The Green House Project has several principles they work from. But the most crucial seem to be: a home-like environment with just 10-12 residents and private rooms and baths; consistent assignment of aides so that relationships and understanding can develop; more control over your own routines, space, and choices as a resident.

There are 242 Green Houses with 150 in the works.

The challenge with models like this is often that, while they sound great, it’s not always known if the results (holistically determined) will be strong. So we were intrigued to hear The New York Times report that the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation gave $2 million to fund research assessing the model.

The studies covered 9 years of data and overall, showed positive indicators. While not all of the promise and change of the Green House Project was evident, many key indicators of the value of the model were. “The researchers found that Green House residents were 16 percent less likely to be bedridden, 38 percent less likely to have pressure ulcers and 45 percent less likely to have catheters. Avoidable hospitalizations and readmissions were also lower.”

In our vision for what healthcare can be, we’re deeply inspired by models like this that prove the way we’ve been doing things doesn’t have to be the way we keep doing things. Specifically, we believe that we should be moving towards models in which care is decentralized and structured around the needs of our patients. For instance, we've written about Community Paramedics, Aging in Place, and other new models that allow medicine to be more responsive to the people it's serving (and likely create a more humane work environment for providers in the process.) 

Of course, for models like this to work, we need tools that will allow us to do care coordination and medical collaboration effectively and efficiently. The more decentralized the model, the more important it is that providers are able to consult with other colleagues, across the continuum of care.

For us, Hybrid Store-and-Forward® telemedicine like iClickCare is a crucial piece of that puzzle. Because decentralization can easily mean isolation and that's not good for providers or for patients. 

Get our White Paper ebook on long term care and how telemedicine performs in that context here:

Transforming Long Term Care Through Telemedicine

Tags: long term care, care coordination, healthcare collaboration

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