Monday, March 12, 2007

Notes from the February 26 program--Current problems in nursing homes: Lynda Johnson

Transferring patients to the mainland is a portend of problems coming fast over the horizon. The fact that by 2020 one in four people will be 60 years or older will dramatically effect the use of social and especially health and medical services. Even though Hawaii has some advantages over the mainland with a higher percentage of older adults living in family settings, there are serious problems when we look at how we will meet the needs of large numbers of the elderly.

The Advertiser article on patient transfers by Queens Hospital points to two issues: bed availability here and a little less apparent, the issues around the type of patients Queens felt they had to transfer.

Beds. We have the lowest number of beds per thousand population over 65. So you shop for beds but in this case you shop for a scarce commodity.

Difficult patients: With waiting lists for any vacancy, nursing homes will select those whose reimbursement is assured, who present no behavior problems, and who require no special treatment for special needs. Especially out of luck because staff has no behavior management training (see February newsletter about the OASIS program) or homes have not the special equipment for the care, are geriatric patients and younger, usually male long-term care patients.