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Skilled Nursing Facilities Are Recovering From COVID

One of the ways hospital systems across the U.S. tried to manage and maintain capacity during the pandemic was the suspension of so-called elective procedures - surgeries that could be reasonably delayed or did not create imminent danger for patients who put them off.

One of the effects of this was to close off a key source of referrals to skilled nursing facilities patients who would normally go to a SNF for rehabilitation and recovery after their stay in the hospital. And for patients who did eventually go to a hospital for a procedure, those who could go home did. Discharges to the home health setting grew significantly in 2020, while those to the SNF setting dropped and did not recover.

One of the many ways SNF have done recently to try to help their residents was to add a psychiatry service that comes in to see residents, and across the company, questions about behavioral and mental health have been put at the forefront of the admissions process. The goal is to account for the fact that in many cases, patients did not want to go to the hospital, let alone a post-acute care facility instead of their homes, heightening the risk of depression or anxiety, to name a few potential needs.

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