A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined the role of skilled nursing facilities as they related to older adults’ placement in long-term care facilities.

After being discharged from the hospital, an older person is often directly admitted to a skilled nursing facility (SNF), which specializes in recovery care and provides additional rehabilitation. Experts have become concerned about the varying quality of SNF services, the substantial differences among them, and how they are used in different parts of the United States.

According to News Medical, “A transfer from an SNF to a long-term care facility, for example, is considered a failure to achieve the goals of SNF care. Most older people view a move to a long-term care facility as a step in the wrong direction.”

Of concern to the researchers were the role of SNF quality and how it affected older adults’ risks of transitioning to long-term care facilities. Additionally, researchers examined whether any aspects of skilled nursing were associated with an older adult’s risk of entering long-term care facilities. Specific focus was placed on questioning whether the quality ratings of SNFs were indicative of long-term care placements.

Information used by the researchers came from a variety of Medicare and other qualified sources that included data on more than 500,000 people aged 65 and older.

News Medical reported, “The researchers learned that a person’s risk of eventual placement in long-term care nursing homes varied a great deal based on the SNF where they received care. Older adults in SNFs with higher quality ratings had significantly lower risks for placement in long-term care facilities.”

In conclusion, the researchers recommended that learning more about the processes in place at specific SNFs might help explain variations in care and could help improve outcomes, allowing older adults successfully return to the community following hospitalization.

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