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  • Writer's picturekatherinepiette

Specialized Virtual Nursing Can Ease LTC Staffing Challenges

Katherine Piette, Co-founder & CEO

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) has placed a spotlight on nursing homes and the issues that they face. In their recently published, “OIG’s 2022 Top Unimplemented Recommendations: Solutions To Reduce Fraud, Waste, and Abuse in HHS Programs,” nursing homes were singled out in the first two unimplemented recommendations.

  1. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that incidents of potential abuse or neglect of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, including those in nursing homes, are reported and addressed.

  2. CMS to address inappropriate nursing home discharges through training, implementing deferred initiatives, and assessing its enforcement's effectiveness against inappropriate facility-initiated discharges.

Central to both of these unimplemented recommendations is nurse staffing shortages. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted nurse staffing in nursing homes, but staffing concerns have historically been an issue. A shortage of nurses in nursing homes leads to staff burnout and a high turnover rate, making it difficult for facilities to maintain adequate staffing levels. This, in turn, can lead to a decrease in the quality of care and an increased risk of adverse events, including increased mortality rates, hospitalization rates, and emergency department visits.

Pressure injuries are one of the most common and costly medical complications in nursing home residents. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) created On-Time Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program, the median annual nursing home pressure ulcer prevalence was 7.5 percent in 2009, with associated costs of $3.3 billion annually.¹ Besides the financial costs, pressure injuries come with a personal cost that not only impacts their physical health but also their quality of life due to pain, discomfort, and a loss of mobility.

Preventing pressure injuries in nursing homes requires a combination of proactive measures, such as regular repositioning, proper nutrition, hydration, and incontinence care, as well as early identification and treatment of pressure injuries when they occur. The implementation of evidence-based best practices, education and training for nursing home staff, and adequate staffing levels can also help prevent and manage pressure injuries in nursing homes.

Corstrata, a wound care management company, provides an innovative solution to address these challenges by providing nursing home staff nurses with virtual access to board-certified wound nurses for consults and education. This helps nursing home staff provide better care to their patients to heal and prevent pressure injuries. Additionally, Corstrata nurses recommend wound treatments utilizing evidence-based best practices with advanced wound care modalities that extend the time between wound dressing changes. This decreases bedside nursing time while promoting both improved wound outcomes and nurse satisfaction with increased productivity.

In conclusion, the OIG’s focus on nursing homes is an important step toward addressing the serious issues nursing home residents face. With the help of innovative companies like Corstrata, we can work towards improving the quality of care that nursing home residents receive and ensure that they are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

¹AHRQ’s Safety Program for Nursing Homes: On-Time Pressure Ulcer Prevention. Content last reviewed May 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.

Corstrata was founded as a solution to provide access to scarce wound and ostomy specialists. We provide services to a range of healthcare providers - hospital at home, home health, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, mobile clinicians, value-based care organizations, etc. Our staff of board-certified wound nurses (CWS, WOC Nurses) provides virtual wound consultations employing evidence-based wound practice to all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico.

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