Anyone who works in a hospital knows it's darn near impossible to get a hospitalized patient transferred to a nursing home on a Sunday, even if that's where they came from on Friday. Most of the time, our Medicare patients who can't take care of themselves are transferred to a nursing home so the nurses can do for them that which they can't do for themselves. Medicare will pay for the room and board of a nursing home under skilled nursing benefits (SNF status). If you don't qualify for skilled nursing facility benefits, what are you options?
- Cash in your long term care policy you've been paying on for years.
- Hide all your assets so you can join the Medicaid National Bank.
- Survive at home on your own.
- Cough up some cash to go live in an assisted living facility.
- Go live with the long lost daughter who shows up on days you hit the jackpot at the Casino's monthly Round Robin Penny Slot Tournament.
Why is it that nursing homes refuse to accept patients on Sundays? I've always been told that they don't have the staffing to accept new SNF admissions on Sundays. Well, maybe it's time they do. If I'm admitting patients seven days a week, I should be able to discharge them seven days a week. That's just good medicine. Having my patients sit around longer than they need to is expensive, unnecessary and dangerous.What are some reasons nursing homes won't accept patients on Sundays?
- Their insurance needs to be re-evaluated, even though nothing had changed to prevent coverage. Insurance people don't work Sundays.
- They needed their nurse to verify the stability of the patient even after a board certified hospitalist internist (ME) and a board certified pulmonologist said they were stable for transfer. Yes. A nurse. A nurse who doesn't work Sundays.
- They didn't have staffing for a Sunday transfer.
Nursing home staffing issues are not my problem. They are the problem of the nursing home. Fix the staffing problems or we will eventually find a way to fix them for you. All too often my patients will sit in a hospital all weekend long because the accepting facility does not have reason X, Y, Z to initiate a patient intake process on a weekend or a Holiday. It's 2011. Apple gave us the iPad. It's time nursing homes gave us the Sunday transfer. I'm sure many hospitals all across this country are dealing with the same weekend patient backlog problem that I do because their community disposition only operates on a Monday through Friday schedule. It's time we put an end to that ridiculous standard. It's time we play hardball and do the right thing for our patients. Any ideas?