What is Continuity of Care and Why is it Important?
What is Continuity of Care and Why is it Important?
As the population ages, there is an increasing demand for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) to provide quality care for older adults. However, with a shortage of nursing staff, facilities are finding it challenging to provide continuity of care.
Continuity of care is a fundamental aspect of the quality of care provided by hospitals and SNFs. It refers to the process of the consistent delivery of coordinated care over time by the same health care professional or team.
In this blog article, we will discuss what continuity of care is, why it is essential for SNFs, and how facilities can improve to achieve it.
What is Continuity of Care?
Continuity of care is the delivery of health care services over time by the same health care professional or team. It is a critical component of quality care, which aims to provide patients with safe, effective, and timely care.
Continuity of care ensures that patients receive the right care, from the right doctor or provider, at the right time. It helps build trust and confidence between patients and patient care providers, as patients are more likely to develop a relationship with their care team.
Coordination of care is especially important in SNFs, where patients require long-term care for chronic conditions. Patients in SNFs are often elderly and have complex medical needs that require ongoing management. Continuity of care in SNFs involves a team of healthcare professionals working together to provide coordinated care that meets the patient’s individual needs.
Why is Continuity of Care Important?
Continuity of care is essential for many reasons.
First, it helps improve patient outcomes. Patients who receive have coordinated care are more likely to have their health needs met and are less likely to experience adverse events, such as hospital readmissions or medication errors. Coordinated care also improves the patient experience and satisfaction, as patients are more likely to develop a relationship with their care team.
Second, it helps reduce costs. Patients who receive coordinated care are less likely to need hospitalization or emergency room visits, the treatment of which can be expensive. Continuity of care can also reduce the cost of care by minimizing the duplication of services and tests.
Third, it is essential for healthcare providers. Coordinated care enables providers to develop a deep understanding of their patient’s health needs, preferences, and values. It also helps providers identify potential health problems early, which can prevent the need for more expensive and invasive treatments in the future.
How Can SNFs Improve Continuity of Care?
SNFs can take several steps to improve continuity of care.
First, they can ensure that patients are assigned to a primary care provider who is responsible for their care. The primary care provider should be involved in the patient’s care plan and should work closely with nurses and other healthcare professionals to coordinate care.
Second, SNFs can use electronic health records (EHRs) to improve continuity of care. EHRs allow healthcare professionals to access patient information quickly and easily, which can improve communication and coordination of care. SNFs can also use EHRs to track patients’ health outcomes and identify potential health problems early.
Third, SNFs can encourage communication and collaboration among healthcare professionals. Healthcare professionals should be encouraged to communicate regularly and share information about patients’ health status. SNFs can also use team-based care models, where a network of healthcare professionals work together to provide coordinated care. This last point is difficult, however, when working with multiple staffing agencies, or a tech platform who shifts who they send you every day. SNF’s should consider building a reliable partnership with an agency that emphasizes a continuity of care model, such as DirectCare Shifts.
How Can SNFs Evaluate if a Staffing Agency poses a risk to their Continuity of Care Model?
When considering a staffing agency to provide temporary staff positions for your healthcare organization, it is essential to evaluate and measure their impact on the care plan for your residents. Continuity of care refers to the seamless delivery of patient care over time and across different care settings. Here are some factors to consider when evaluating a staffing agency’s impact on delivering coordinated care:
- Staff Qualifications and Training: Check if the staffing agency has a rigorous screening process and provides appropriate training to their staff. The agency should have strict criteria for selecting qualified candidates who have the necessary skills and experience to provide care to your patients.
- Communication: Evaluate the staffing agency’s communication protocols and ensure that they will provide timely and clear information to staff about your organization’s policies, procedures, and patient needs. Clear communication between the agency, your organization, and staff is crucial for continuity of care.
- Staffing Level Consistency: Ensure that the staffing agency provides consistent staffing levels and quality. Do they strive to provide the same staff to your facility, or do they continuously shift who they send you? They should provide enough staff to meet your organization’s needs and be able to handle any changes in staffing requirements.
- Feedback and Monitoring: Ask the staffing agency about their quality assurance program and how they monitor and evaluate their staff’s performance. A good agency should have a process for receiving feedback from patients and staff and take corrective action when necessary. If you cannot speak to an account manager or live support, then you should reevaluate using that agency.
- Cost-Effectiveness: While cost is an important factor, it should not be the only consideration when evaluating a staffing agency. A low-cost agency may compromise the quality of care, leading to poor patient outcomes and increased liability.
In conclusion, continuity of care is a fundamental aspect of the quality of care provided by SNFs. It refers to the consistent delivery of care over time by the same health care professional or team. Therefore, it is imperative for SNFs to evaluate their staffing agencies thoroughly to ensure they will not hurt the continuity of care provided by your healthcare organization. By taking these factors into account, you can select a reputable agency that provides high-quality temporary staffing services, which can help maintain high levels of efficiency and patient care.
DirectCare Shifts Provides the Modern Solution for Continuity of Care
The DirectCare Shifts platform offers a unique solution to the staffing challenges faced by SNFs. By providing a pool of pre-screened, reliable, and flexible staff, SNFs can easily fill open shifts without jeopardizing their patient care.
DirectCare Shift’s advanced matching algorithms ensure that only the most qualified candidates are presented for each shift, minimizing the risk of staff turnover and reducing administrative burdens.
With DirectCare Shifts, SNFs can have peace of mind knowing that they can meet staffing needs as they arise, while still maintaining a focus on high-quality patient care. Overall, this platform is a game-changer for SNFs looking to enhance their staffing flexibility and maintain high levels of care.