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Cardiopulmonary Care in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Kimberley Fowler
By Kimberley FowlerApril 26, 2019

As life expectancy increases in the United States, more older adults will live with chronic conditions or become critically ill. Cardiopulmonary care is becoming increasingly vital to seniors with acute and irreversible conditions, helping them to breathe on their own once again and providing the education and resources needed for them to live optimal lives, despite their health conditions.

Learn more about cardiopulmonary care and its impact on seniors and skilled nursing facilities today.

The Goal of Cardiopulmonary Care

Cardiopulmonary disease refers to a wide range of conditions that impact the heart and lungs, like cardiovascular disease, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In fact, 206 people die every day from cardiovascular disease and stroke according to the Heart Research Institute.

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Cardiopulmonary care offers treatment for patients who suffer from cardiopulmonary disorders, metabolic or neurological issues and require the use of oxygen or other administrative therapies such as nebulized medications, pressure breathing and ongoing ventilation support.

An important goal of any cardiopulmonary program is to reduce hospital readmission rates, but that’s not the only outcome that health care professionals are focused on. According to Jennifer Hertzog, vice president of marketing and business development (Mid-Atlantic) for Marquis Health Services, care facilities like the 23 operated by Marquis have a unique opportunity to educate families and senior patients.

“We have the opportunity at this level of care to really engage the family,” Hertzog says. “A typical hospital stay is only 3-4 days on average whereas they are with us for longer, 12-14 days on average, which means we can really make a mark with the family and help them understand the significance of the disease, how it will progress and how their support will impact the lifespan of their loved one.”

Since many cardiopulmonary conditions are not curable, medical staff focus on providing families and patients with support during their stay in a skilled nursing facility while also preparing them to continue their care regime when they return home.

Such programs provide families the opportunity to learn from a focused team of medical experts and specialists, as well as to be extremely involved in their loved one’s recovery and ongoing care.

The Unique Benefits of Cardiopulmonary Programs in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Cardiopulmonary care provides access to a subset of resources that were once hard to come by. Many diseases that affect the heart and lungs have a variety of side effects and with proper education and treatment, the management of symptoms and prevention of further complications is more than feasible.

What makes cardiopulmonary programs like those offered by Marquis Health Services unique is their comprehensive, interdisciplinary approach. Cardiologists, certified nurse assistants, pulmonologists, rehab professionals, respiratory therapists and skilled nursing staff all work together in this style of care in partnership with community organizations and hospitals to provide care, education and support. “There’s an expectation for skilled nursing to step up to be able to handle the more acute population,” Hertzog says. “We believe the difference maker is the involvement of the entire team in a patient’s care plan.”

Advances in technology can also make a huge difference in cardiopulmonary programming and patient outcomes. “We make an average investment of $2.5 million in renovations for new centers,” Hertzog says. State-of-the-art cardiopulmonary technology can be a huge expense to care facilities, especially considering that it’s not reimbursable, but Hertzog believes it’s an important investment.

“We use remote telemetry monitors and portable ventilators to ensure patients are more comfortable. We’re willing to invest in the best technology available to support the best patient outcomes.”

So far, the strategy is working. Marquis Health Services boasts impressive readmission reduction rates. Readmission rates of cardiopulmonary program participants have decreased by nearly 20% with the support of their interdisciplinary programming model.

Through advanced technology, collaborative efforts, consistent education and support groups and other resources, more cardiopulmonary patients and their families understand how their disease will progress, what will happen during their treatment and the best practices they should adhere to when they go home.

Overall, access to cardiopulmonary programming is essential to not only reducing the likelihood of patients being readmitted to a care facility but also keeping them healthy and safe at home. This, in turn, helps patients live longer, healthier lives.

Have you seen the benefits of cardiopulmonary care? What was your experience like? We’d like to hear your story in the comments below.

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Kimberley Fowler
Kimberley Fowler
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