What hospitals can do for you

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Lois A. Bowers
Lois A. Bowers

As some senior living operators seek to partner with hospitals and other providers in the healthcare continuum, those in the industry have been focused on communicating what they can offer — improved coordination of care, reduced readmissions and increased savings, for instance.

Any relationship is a two-way street, however, and a new study provides an example of something that hospitals can do for senior living.

Results from the multi-institutional study, published online May 31 by JAMA Internal Medicine, indicate that older adults who participate in a mobility program while hospitalized are able to maintain the same level of mobility that they had before entering the hospital when they are discharged. That's an important finding, the researchers note, because people don't typically move around much while they're in the hospital, and that lack of movement can spell trouble when they are discharged. Specifically, hospitalized patients who spend most of their time in bed or in a chair face an increased risk of death, nursing home admission and functional decline.

The mean age of participants in this study was 73.9 years, and the mean length of stay in the hospital was 4.06 or 3.6 days, depending on how the mean was calculated. All that was needed to help the older adults maintain mobility? The researchers helped patients sit, stand, shift their weight, step in place and walk in 15- to 20-minute sessions twice a day. They also encouraged the older adults to set goals for spending time out of bed and to think of solutions to challenges related to doing so. You can read the details of the study here if you are interested.

So when discussing potential partnerships with healthcare providers, don't just ask what you can do for hospitals; ask what hospitals can do for you.

Lois A. Bowers is senior editor of McKnight's Senior Living. Contact her at lois.bowers@mcknights.com. Follow her on Twitter @Lois_Bowers.

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