Advancements in nursing care
Lorien Health Services has developed a program that is significantly reducing the number of its nursing home patients who are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged.
Lorien’s’ TeleMedicine program, partially funded by a state grant, started as a pilot project in 2015 between Lorien Bel Air and Harford County’s University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Center. They created a technology hub in the 69-bed Lorien Bel Air, where a resident — accompanied by a certified nurse practitioner with the resident’s medical history and in-house lab results — can be seen and talk to doctors at the hospital or in its emergency department.
The program reduced 30-day hospital readmissions by about one-third, Lorien said, and TeleMedicine patients are seen more quickly. The doctors also have more information in their first meeting with patients, which improves patient outcomes.
In the long-term care industry, about one in six patients, on average, is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged, Lorien said. The goal of the TeleMedicine partnership was reducing the 30-day readmissions by 25%, but they have exceeded their goal by achieving reductions of about 34% a year.
Lorien is also saving an estimated $80,000 to $100,000 a year by cutting all hospital admissions and emergency room visits.
Building on its success, the TeleMedicine program has been expanded to Lorien’s other facilities in Harford County and one facility in Baltimore County.
Lorien also has a promising TeleHealth program it is trying with some chronically ill patients in their homes. The program monitors vital data from the patients and alerts their care team if the patients are in danger. Among the results they’ve seen: a 69% reduction in emergency department visits; a 40% reduction in hospital admissions; and a 45% reduction in hospital readmissions, even though they were in moderate to high risk of re-entry when selected for the study.