Thursday, April 21, 2016

The profit killer

The evidence is clear that preventing injuries to therapists and healthcare workers must be a top priority. In a article published in Medical News Today, the APTA and OSHA have formed an alliance that focuses on work related musculoskeletal disorders and the safe handling of patients. There has been a growing concern over the increasing number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries associated with patient handling tasks.

Risk Management should be at the top of the list for all facilities providing health care services, especially for those that provide care for the most fragile among us. It has been well documented that both patients and clinicians are at risk of injury during a “Transfer”. Weather it is a transfer from the patients bed to their wheelchair or a transfer to a piece of rehab equipment from a wheelchair. There is a way to eliminate the number of transfers that are performed, the risk of injury can be reduced and if injuries are reduced, money is saved profits increased .

What if the therapist or clinician did not have to lift or aid or hold the patient ever. The technology exists but the investment doesn't. Many healthcare institutions simply are unwilling to see the the BIG picture. The good news is competition and outcome based reimbursement is changing the landscape and the forward thinking visionaries in the industry are out in front of the pragmatists.

The profit killer, injuries. Prevent them and the bottom line goes up. Ignore them and start counting the days until your facility either gets sold to another operator or simply closes down.       

Friday, March 11, 2016

Patient Fear

I was thinking about the biggest obstacle for patient recovery and better outcomes. I came to this conclusion, fear. Patient fear prevents progress. So what is is most effective way to combat patient fear? Developing an atmosphere of trust between the therapists and their patients. The less fearful a patient is, the more they are willing to try and cooperate with their therapist. 

Another way to combat patient fear is through safety and comfort. This is where the equipment used in rehabilitation is vitally important. If old equipment and equipment in disrepair is all that is available the therapist is at a tremendous disadvantage because they cannot offer the safety and comfort that both the therapist and their patients deserve. 

In a rehabilitation setting it is equally important that both patient and therapist have safety and comfort. Practicing great technique in a unsafe environment may undo any progress if an accident occurs to either patient or therapist. Injuries to healthcare workers are at epidemic proportions. 

Why? Because administrators and corporate officers do not see the value in providing equipment that promote a no lift environment. OSHA estimates that U.S. companies will save $9.1 billion annually or an average of $27,700 for every musculoskeletal injury “MSD” prevented. The evidence is clear that preventing injuries to therapists and healthcare workers must be a top priority. It has been proven that investing in modern up-to-date equipment that provides a no lift environment saves money, lots of money. Reductions in Workman's compensation premiums, reduction in lost work days, greater employee retention.

The reduction of injuries at a number of skilled nursing facilities implementing patient lift policies has resulted in amazing savings. Wyandot County nursing home in upper Sandusky, Ohio reported that workers’ compensation costs have declined from and average of $140,000 per year to less than $4000 per year. Reduced absenteeism and overtime has also resulted in an annual savings of $55,000. Schoellkopf Healthcare Center in Niagara Falls, New York, reported a downward trend in the number and severity of injuries. Lost workdays dropping from 364 to 52, Light duty days dropping from 253 to 25 and Workers’ compensation losses falling from $84,533 to $6,983 annually.

The statistics are clear however they fall on blind eyes and deaf ears. How do we change the culture, who can we talk to, how do we sound the alarm. Did you know, there are 78 Million baby boomers in U.S. and 10,000 reach the retirement stage every day. This economic powerhouse is coming to a neighborhood near you and their impact will be staggering. The number one expense for these Boomers is healthcare. When the Boomers arrived they impacted hospitals in a dramatic way with the creation of maternity wards. How will the boomers impact healthcare at the end stages of life?