Timely Physician, Skilled Clinician Visits Reduce Rehospitalization Risk in Older Adults in Nursing Homes

Hospital readmissions have emerged as a pressing concern within the realm of post-acute care in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Not only do readmissions impact the health and well-being of elderly patients, but they also have significant cost implications.

Additionally, they play a pivotal role in the evaluation of facility performance, a crucial aspect of value-based care in post-acute settings.

A recent retrospective cohort study published in JAMDA Wednesday underscored the critical importance of timely clinical assessments by physicians and advanced practice providers (APPs) – highly skilled health care professionals – in mitigating the risk of rehospitalization.


The study, which was conducted on almost 2.5 million Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries aged 66 years or older, aimed to explore the relationship between the timing of physician or APP visits after admission to SNFs and the subsequent risk of rehospitalization within 14 days.

The study also examined whether these findings held true across various prognostic risk levels, shedding light on the need for timely evaluations to enhance patient outcomes within SNFs.

Researchers found that patients who received clinical assessments from physicians or APPs shortly after their admission to SNFs (within 1 day) were less likely to experience rehospitalization compared to those whose evaluations were delayed until after 2 days. This outcome underscores the critical role of prompt clinical assessments in improving patient outcomes within the SNF environment.


They also found that the benefits of timely evaluations applied consistently across patients with differing prognosis scores. In essence, the positive impact of early evaluations was not confined to high-risk patients. This finding challenges the commonly held notion that healthcare providers tend to prioritize higher-risk individuals.

“Although we expected to find an association between timing of visit and rehospitalization risk, the magnitude of this association was surprising for even short time intervals,” researchers noted.

Researchers said training programs, innovative care practices, and the expansion of the healthcare provider workforce within SNFs are imperative to address labor shortages. These shortages, which have been accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic, demand a comprehensive response.

Companies featured in this article: