Are You Concerned About Rehospitalizations?

Angie SzumlinskiAnnouncements, Featured, News

Well, you aren’t alone! Providers all over the country have been focusing on reducing the number of re-hospitalizations! And what a great goal to have, right? The problem we encounter is that we can’t seem to get a handle on the “why” and the “how” to prevent them.

As we quickly approach the flu and influenza season (sorry but true) rehospitalization numbers tend to increase. Yes, we offer the vaccine every year and yes the majority of our residents accept them and still our numbers climb during flu season. So, what can we do? The Lancet Respiratory Medicine journal recently published information regarding the effectiveness of higher dose influenza vaccinations compared to standard dose vaccinations and the results are stunning!

As we age, our immune system also wanes which may result in less clinical effectiveness of vaccines. The study performed in nursing homes within 50 miles of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention influenza reporting city were recruited. The criteria to participate included having a minimum of 50 long-term care residents, not located within a hospital, less than 20% of the population below the age of 65 years and that were not already planning to administer the high-dose influenza vaccine to the residents.

There were “823 facilities recruited to the study between March and August, 2013, to participate in the trial of which 409 facilities were randomized for residents to receive high-dose vaccine and 414 facilities for residents to receive standard-dose vaccine. On the basis of Medicare fee-for-service claims, the incidence of respiratory-related hospital admissions was significantly lower in facilities where residents received high-dose influenza vaccines than in those that received standard-dose influenza vaccines. When compared with the standard-dose vaccine, high-dose influenza vaccine can reduce the risk of respiratory-related hospital admissions from nursing home residents aged 65 years and older.”

This is significant, especially for those of us caring for frail, elderly residents who are at risk for re-hospitalization and death related to influenza every year! So why wait? This is a great opportunity to meet with your medical director and QAPI committee to discuss your plan for preventing influenza during the 2017-2018 peak flu season! Is the high-dose influenza vaccine an option for your residents? Take a look at last year’s hospital re-admission rates and infection control logs and you decide. Even if your numbers look great, could they look better? Or more importantly, would your residents have better outcomes?

Although HealthCap RMS does not endorse a specific product for managing residents during the flu season, we do recommend that you take a look, read the study results and decide for yourself. If you should have any questions please feel free to contact  your HealthCap RMS risk manager for assistance!

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