By: Lisa Chambers, MSCCC/SLP, CHC
Lexi Roach, Marketing Manager
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, there is an increased demand for hospitalization care and due to this, there will be an extreme demand for post-hospitalization care. According to Health Affairs, “It is expected that at least 700,000 patients will require inpatient short-stay rehabilitative care and that 10 million more may require other outpatient rehabilitative services. Nevertheless, our estimate would overwhelm our current capacity of approximately 345,000 available SNF beds and double the current number of annual short-stay residents.”
This increase in need due to the pandemic is going to put a burden on our facilities that has never been seen before. For those working in the facilities, it is also going to be a challenge to help residents navigate the changes that have occurred during their stays as well as the influx of new patients who have been recently released from the hospital. These residents are facing prolonged periods of isolation, restricted mobility, decreased strength, and many other exacerbated symptoms due to the virus, regardless of whether they contracted it. Also, many of the residents, whether they have dementia or not, can get confused very often. If they are sick, this will be compounded quickly especially with the staff transitions that many facilities are facing.
The need for therapists to be creative when treating patients is essential. While treating the physical side for patients and incorporating functional activities such as self-care tasks, it is also important that therapists are focusing on the psychological side of treating these patients. At Blue Sky, our MIND program is tailored specifically for assisting patients with these challenges. We focus on a patient’s shift in focus from their disabilities and the difficulties of the COVID-19 situation to a positive focus on their individual abilities and what they can do. We are also able to assist other staff on how to best interact with the resident and give clear, concise instructions on how to help residents reach independence. The MIND program also enables residents to find their best abilities to function and reach their highest qualities of life even during this unprecedented time.
It has also been shown that patients with other comorbidities are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19 including hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Given this, it is necessary to have tailored therapy treatments for these patients once they reach skilled nursing facilities. At Blue Sky, our CARDIAC program provides optimal and safe rehabilitation for residents with cardiac conditions. Our therapists are trained to treat high-risk patients and to utilize appropriate tools during therapy to help avoid re-hospitalization of patients.
With the unknowns surrounding the future due to COVID-19, it is more important now than ever that skilled nursing facilities are equipped with the best tools to support the influx of high risk residents as well as the ability to care for the existing residents who have been dealing with the challenges of isolation and decrease in function. If you are in need of additional resources for your residents as your facility begins plans to reopen, please reach out to us at email@example.com.