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VOA staff trains on strategies to reduce transfers to hospitals

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Volunteers of America health care management staff recently attended training to reduce the frequency of transfers to the acute hospital. Transfers to the hospital can be emotionally and physically difficult for long-term care residents, clients and participants, as well as costly.

INTERACT (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers) is a quality improvement training program that focuses on the management of acute change in resident condition. It includes clinical and educational tools and strategies for use in every day practice in long-term care facilities.

Volunteers of America is placing INTERACT programs in each of its programs and will designate at least one lead "champion" at each, according to Pamela Shilts, regional nurse consultant, Western region, for Volunteers of America.

"The overall goal of the INTERACT program is to reduce the frequency of transfer to the acute hospital. In the plans for health care reform, Medicare will financially reward facilities with lower hospitalization rates for certain conditions, as well as reduce payments for higher hospitalization for certain conditions," Shilts said.

"Volunteers of America plans to improve the identification, evaluation and communication about changes in residents', clients' and participants' status. Some, but not all acute care transfers can be avoided," she said.

According to the INTERACT website, https://interact2.net, one in four Medicare patients admitted to skilled nursing facilities from hospitals is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days. In addition, up to two-thirds of hospital transfers are rated as potentially avoidable by expert long-term care health professionals.

Attending the training Feb. 17-18 in Montrose were directors of nursing, assistant directors of nursing, nurse managers, social service directors, and medical record directors from Volunteers of America health care programs including Home Health of Western Colorado, The Homestead at Montrose Assisted Living, Valley Manor Care Center, Horizons Healthcare and Retirement Community, and Senior Comm-Unity Care (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly).

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