Personal POV: A rocky transition from SNF to assisted living

Personal POV: A rocky transition from SNF to assisted living

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By: Nick Knowlton, Vice President of Business Development, ResMed – SaaS

In this blog series, our CitusHealth employees share personal stories about their experiences having family members and loved ones in home-based or residential care—and how technology could have led to more positive outcomes.

During COVID-19, we were all impacted in some way. For me, the need for better patient and family engagement was highlighted through a personal experience with a loved one. This is my story of a relative who has spinal stenosis—and how the use of technology could have led to better outcomes and a more collaborative care experience.

While my relative had an operation to relieve the spinal stenosis about a decade ago, the condition worsened over time—causing compression of the spinal cord, pain, and weakness. After sitting down a little too hard one day, they ended up in the hospital with a fractured sacrum. Surgery was not a realistic option due to age and they needed skilled nursing for rehab, so it became a journey to find the best place to care for them.

Pain points in the transition of care
By the summer of 2020, after the first wave of the pandemic had passed and my relative had spent time in a skilled nursing facility, we felt comfortable transferring them to a high-care-level assisted living facility that could tend to their needs and hopefully get them on the path to recovery. During that transition process, we encountered many bumps in the road.

Getting medical equipment arranged was our first big hurdle. Wheelchair, hospital bed, oxygen concentrator—we needed several pieces of equipment to ensure the comfort of our loved one. One of the most critical pieces was an over-the-bed tray table, which was needed for meals in the assisted living facility. As it turns out, the HME supplying the equipment didn’t actually carry this type of equipment. It took me five phone calls to cancel the order and reverse the charges, which is unfathomable in our modern e-commerce-based world.

I immediately placed an order for the tray table with another HME that had a more modern e-commerce experience. They accepted online ordering and delivered the same day—proving the clear difference technology can make.

The challenge of filling medications
Even though my relative’s primary care physician was employed by his payor and the pharmacy was contracted by his payor, I had to repeatedly navigate archaic workflows to get refills processed for pain medications and other medications prescribed to alleviate side effects. This included having to drive to the primary care provider’s office 45 minutes from my house, pick up a paper order, and physically deliver it to the nurse at the assisted living facility.

There were some instances that could be handled over the phone, but it was near impossible to get ahold of anyone. Getting connected to a live person at reception was a challenge and speaking to my relative’s nurse was even more difficult—sometimes causing them to go a few days without medications they needed.

Due to these repeated, ongoing communication issues with getting their medication orders filled, my family member ended up in the emergency room and had an extended stay in acute care. This outcome was caused by poor processes, manual workflows, and was avoidable had the right technology been in place.

Collaboration can lead to better outcomes
The lack of ability to work cohesively with the care team around the community caused a failure in patient satisfaction—and it nearly cost their life. Finding ways to drive collaboration and modernize workflows with the right digital tools can avoid this kind of massive failure in the care delivery model.

Schedule a demo today and we’ll show you the difference CitusHealth can make for more collaborative, cohesive care in the home and beyond.

Nick Knowlton
Nick Knowlton
Vice President of Business Development, ResMed – SaaS

Nick Knowlton leads the company’s strategic initiatives, including partnership development and healthcare interoperability efforts.

Nick has over twenty years of business experience and has held sales, marketing, product, and strategy positions for technology and health information technology businesses. Prior to joining ResMed, Nick ran strategic initiatives for Greenway Health, a market leader in the physician practice EHR space.

Nick has a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame.