Skilled nursing facilities provided post-acute rehabilitation to older adults during the pandemic

Older adults who entered skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for care after hospitalizations after the pandemic received rehabilitation care comparable to the levels of care that were provided pre-pandemic, according to research published in the JAMA Health Forum.

Despite exceptional challenges during the pandemic, SNFs provided post-acute rehabilitation with only a modest decline in intensity, said the researchers. This suggests that SNFs were largely able to adapt and provide post-acute care rehabilitation to older adults.

During the pandemic we knew that fewer people went to skilled nursing facilities after hospitalizations, and it seemed like the ones that went were overall sicker, with more cognitive impairment and higher risk overall. This study helps to demonstrate that despite caring for a sicker population with scarce resources, SNFs were still largely able to provide post-acute rehabilitation for patients."

Sandra M. Shi, MD, MPH

"Our goal was to characterize changes in rehabilitation services provided by SNFs during COVID-19", said Sarah Berry, MD, MPH. "Rehabilitation services overall decreased, but only by about a half day on average."

Journal reference:

Shi, S.M., et al. (2023) Post-Acute Care Rehabilitation Services and Outcomes in Skilled Nursing Facilities Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic. JAMA Health Forum.


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