Since their inception in the early 1990s, clinical pathways have provided care maps to support the implementation of clinical guidelines and protocols. They include detailed guidance through each stage of a Skilled Nursing Facility resident’s treatments, interventions, and therapies for a specific condition over a given time period, including progress and outcome details.
Clinical pathways improve the continuity and coordination of care for residents across different disciplines and sectors. In fact, a study published by The National Center for Biotechnology indicates that since 2003, there has been an 80 percent implementation of clinical pathways in Skilled Nursing Facilities in the United States.
You may be familiar with the clinical pathways concept. But do you know exactly how it can benefit your Skilled Nursing Facility? There are five primary benefits.
Clinical Pathways Reduce Costs by Standardizing Care
A study by the New England Healthcare Institute revealed that 30 percent of waste and inefficiency in the healthcare system is driven by a lack of standardization and care coordination. With a total of $3.2 trillion spent on medical care in 2015 alone, reducing costs by standardizing care is a worthy goal.
One of the largest cost drivers in health care is high variability in care, especially in long-term care. Following established clinical pathways leads care providers down a path resulting in treatment options that prove to be the most beneficial as well as cost-effective.
Clinical Pathways Promote Interdisciplinary Care
Interdisciplinary care describes the collaboration of different healthcare professionals from diverse fields who work together to achieve a common goal for residents. Clinical pathways provide the roadmap that help doctors, nurses, therapists, and other care providers implement functional care plans for residents.
The clinical pathway for each resident uses the most up-to-date information and connections to resources available in the community to guide care providers. Each provider knows his or her part in the overall care plan for each resident, and how treatments or therapies work in cohesion with other practitioners.
Clinical Pathways Provide a Way to Clearly Communicate a Care Plan
Clinical pathways provide an established framework for healthcare providers and skilled nursing facility staff to implement comprehensive care plans for residents, as well as involve them in the planning and treatment process. Each individualized clinical pathway provides a clear map to guide residents to their optimal health outcome.
For example, a typical pathway may include detailed information regarding screenings, evaluations, diagnosis, and treatment for the resident’s specific needs, as well as ways to connect them with follow-up services.
Moreover, the pathway will also include answers to common questions, recommendations for patient education materials, services, and other resources for residents and their families.
Clinical Pathways Improve Efficiency in Delivering Therapy Services
Providing rehab services for residents with health problems resulting from injury or illness is one of the most vital services Skilled Nursing Facilities provide. Clinical pathways provide a comprehensive plan for needed physical, speech, and occupational therapy services.
By providing a plan for healthcare providers to follow, therapy services can be scheduled and provided quickly and efficiently without duplication or unnecessary complications. One hospital system estimates saving more than $100 million in three years by accelerating the development of pathways four-fold and improving clinician adoption by 20 percent each year.
Clinical Pathways Can Shorten Resident Stays for Certain Conditions
Systematic development and implementation of clinical pathways for a variety of conditions can contain costs and decrease length of stay while maintaining clinical outcomes and not increasing hospital readmissions.
Greater efficiency in treatments and faster implementation of services can result in significant savings from shorter, more successful resident stays. This benefits both the Skilled Nursing Facility and the resident who is eager to return home.
Apex Rehab currently has clinical pathways in place for COPD, pneumonia, total hip and knee replacements, surgical hip femur fracture treatment, and congestive heart failure.
Is your therapy provider implementing clinical pathways within your facility? Call (412) 963-9698 or contact us online to discover the Apex difference.