Long-term care readmissions

When family members entrust a long-term care community with the well-being of their loved ones, they expect their loved ones to receive nearly the same level of comfort and attention from these communities as they would get at home. As I learned from the recent PBS documentary, Life and Death in Assisted Living, unfortunately, many long-term care communities are falling short of this expectation.

Once a patient is discharged into the care of a long-term care community, some are ultimately readmitted to the hospital. When residents are readmitted back into the hospital, it’s usually because their needs have surpassed what the caregivers at the long-term care facility can provide.

However, according to Long-Term Living Magazine, a study conducted by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that up to 60 percent of these readmissions can be prevented. The readmission rates the AHRQ studied were mainly due to infection, congestive heart failure and other injuries that were highly preventable. According to their study, not only were these medical emergencies avoidable, but they were likely caused in part by staffing communities with the wrong people.

Long-term care communities must start to closely assess and evaluate their direct-care hires in order to provide high-quality care for their residents and reduce hospital readmissions.

When it comes to a candidate’s prior experience, staff members who have previously worked in the acute care space are often a great fit for long-term care communities. They have the knowledge-base to allow them to successfully handle emergency situations, as well as the day in and day out needs of the residents.

Candidates with prior acute care experience might also be more likely to recognize signs of impending emergencies, making them better enabling to prevent these emergencies before they occur. In addition, they’ll also be familiar with a logical protocol that prevents residents who were discharged from the hospital from going back for re-infections or preventable injuries.

Besides monitoring recently discharged residents closely, long-term communities should have a protocol in place to respond quickly to situations that may pose an emergency. For instance, staff members should be alert for signs or symptoms that may indicate that a resident is becoming sicker or suffering from a complication that could send them back into the hospital.

Although a candidate’s prior acute care job is probably beneficial for preventing readmissions, the work experience listed on their resume does not help you determine whether or not they are a good fit culturally. Long-term care communities must assess the candidate’s inherent behavioral competencies in order to determine if a candidate has the right attitude and the necessary compassion to provide high-quality resident care. In addition to looking at a candidate’s resume, a behavioral assessment should be performed to determine if they will be a fit for the organization and the job.

A behavioral assessment is also beneficial for hiring long-term care employees because it focuses on an applicant’s suitability to work in certain conditions, and their likelihood to function adequately in a new work environment based on past experiences. When long-term care communities utilize talent management technology, such as behavioral assessment software, they’re able to create a more in-depth and effective interview process. By recognizing and thoroughly evaluating a candidate’s soft skills and assessing their behavioral competencies, long-term care communities are better prepared to provide high-quality care and hopefully reduce readmissions.

When it comes to hiring the best employees to care for residents, don’t forget about the reference checking process. To learn how an online behavioral-based reference checking process can help your long-term care community hire for long-term fit, download our white paperPhone-Based Reference Checking Isn’t Working: 5 Reasons to Automate the Process.

In this paper, you’ll learn how five leading healthcare organizations have improved their recruitment processes with automated reference checking and the benefits experienced by HR, hiring managers, and candidates alike.

Meghan Doherty

About Meghan Doherty

Meghan Doherty is a content marketing professional based in the Greater Boston area. She has more than five years of experience creating and managing content for SaaS companies in the healthcare and talent management spaces.