Recent research indicates that acute respiratory failure mortality rates are continuing to increase, further heightened by COVID-19 and the seasonal flu.
For patients experiencing respiratory failure conditions, acute care after the initial hospital stay plays a critical role in patient outcomes and readmissions.
This guide details the growing need for pulmonary care expertise and how long-term acute care hospitals can play a role in treating these medically complex patients
The Increasing Demand for Pulmonary Care: Respiratory Failure and COVID-19 Figures
A recent study published in the journal Chest found that respiratory failure affects Americans in the following ways:1
• Acute respiratory failure mortality rates have increased over the past 5 years.
• Rates of acute respiratory distress syndrome have persisted.
• Mortality from respiratory failure and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) increase during flu season.
• The combination of the flu and COVID-19 will likely further increase morality rates.
Additional studies show that COVID-19 patients often experience significant pulmonary complications as a result of the virus and its side effects, including severe pneumonia and ARDS.
One recent study analyzed those who admitted to an LTACH with acute infectious complications of COVID-19 pneumonia requiring long-term respiratory support.2 The study suggested that these patients, admitted for weaning from prolonged ventilation, continue to require considerable medical interventions due to the long-term effects of the combined COVID-19 virus and acute-on-chronic diseases.
The researchers concluded that the increased need for pulmonary care expertise must be supported in other care settings as intensive care units (ICUs) face bed and staffing shortages.
These findings highlight the growing need for pulmonary expertise within both traditional hospitals and post-acute partner settings in order to address intensifying respiratory concerns.
LTAC Hospital Expertise in Pulmonary Care and Recovery
A patient’s long-term recovery is directly dependent on the intensity of the care they receive. Though all post-acute settings provide value to their most appropriate patient types, they are not all created equal.3 LTACHs are uniquely equipped to continue the acute care initiated in the hospital setting, including the care of patients on ventilators.
When interviewed by ATI Advisory as part of their recent research, one Medical Director of a Risk-Based Physician Group stated:
“LTAC hospitals differentiate themselves because they have a laser focus on patients who are ventilator dependent, have respiratory failure, require dialysis, and have complex [post] surgical needs, etc. – all of that requires a multi-disciplinary approach [in which] LTAC hospitals specialize.”4
During the pandemic, LTACHs have proved to be a key partner in decompressing ICUs as traditional ICUs experience maximized capacity.
How Kindred Can Help Your Respiratory Patients
Acute care providers need partners who can provide the physician-directed care that respiratory patients—particularly those on ventilators—require.
Kindred Hospitals specialize in treating medically complex patients who require intensive care and pulmonary rehabilitation in an acute hospital setting. With daily physician oversight, ICU- and CCU-level staffing, and 24/7 respiratory coverage, Kindred works to improve outcomes, reduce costly readmissions and help patients transition home or to a lower level of care.
Kindred has proven success in treating patients with pulmonary disease and respiratory failure, and in ventilator liberation. Our program structure includes:
• Focused interdisciplinary care teams
• Development of an individualized care plan
• Daily assessment, treatment and therapy following established clinical practice guidelines for ventilator liberation, early mobility, and maintenance of skin integrity
The Joint Commission Certification
We are committed to pursuing innovations in care delivery and payment models to provide new solutions to our patients, as well as to our provider and payer partners.
One such initiative is our effort to achieve disease-specific certification from The Joint Commission for Respiratory Failure in all Kindred Hospitals across the country. Because LTACHs are licensed as a general acute care hospital by the state, this is the same accreditation received by traditional hospitals.
Additionally, our Move Early Mobility Program incorporates movement as early as is safe into the recovery plan for patients, including those on ventilators. The goal of this program is to combat the many side effects of immobility on healing.
Our interdisciplinary team of clinicians can meet the needs of your patients who have been in an ICU, CCU, or who are chronically ill and readmit to the hospital frequently.
For more information on how Kindred services can help your beneficiaries, or to request a consultation, visit kindredmanagedcare.com.
2. https://f1000researchdata.s3.amazonaws.com/manuscripts/29812/cba398e7-8afc-4187-9241-48c3b6b71415_26989_-_meg_hassenpflug.pdf doi=10.12688/f1000research.26989.1&numberOfBrowsableCollections=27&numberOfBrowsableInstitutional
Dr. Sean Muldoon, SVP, CMO for Kindred Healthcare’s Hospital Division, oversees clinical care oversight, medical staff affairs, and strategic relationships.