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Specialty care after transition to long-term care in nursing home

HumanInsight Specialty care after transition to long-term care in nursing home

J Am Geriatr Soc. 2022 Nov 26. doi: 10.1111/jgs.18129. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Nursing home residents face many barriers to accessing specialist physician outpatient care. However, little data exists on how specialty care use changes when individuals transition to a nursing home in the US.

METHODS: We studied specialist outpatient visits for new long-term care (LTC) residents within 1 year before and after their transition to nursing home residence using the Minimum Data Set v3.0 (MDS) and a 20% sample of Medicare fee-for-service claims in 2014-2018. To focus on residents requiring specialty care at baseline, we limited the cohort to residents with specialty care in the 13-24 months before LTC transition. We then measured the proportion of residents receiving at least one visit in the 12 months before the transition and the 12 months after the transition. We also examined subgroups of residents with a prior diagnosis likely requiring long-term specialty care (e.g., multiple sclerosis). Finally, we examined whether there was continuity of care within the same specialty care provider.

RESULTS: Among 39,288 new LTC transitions identified in 2016-2017, 17,877 (45.5%) residents had a prior specialist visit 13-24 months before the transition. Among them, the proportion of residents with specialty visits decreased consistently in all specialties in the 12 months after the transition, ranging from a relative decrease of 14.4% for orthopedics to 67.9% for psychiatry. The relative decrease among patients with a diagnosis likely requiring specialty care ranged from 0.9% for neurology in patients with multiple sclerosis to 67.1% for psychiatry in patients with severe mental illness. Among residents who continued visiting a specialist, 78.9% saw the same provider as before the transition.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of specialty care falls significantly after patients transition to a nursing home. Further research is needed to understand what drives this drop in use and whether interventions, such as telemedicine can ameliorate potential barriers to specialty care.

PMID:36435050 | DOI:10.1111/jgs.18129

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