After-Hours Home Health Patient Triage: The Role of Nurse Triage
July 7, 2021
Post-acute care is often provided at home by healthcare professionals experienced in caring for patients in a more comfortable environment than an institutional facility. Nurse triage protocols are put in place specifically for home health patients to ensure they continue to receive the care they need.
When a patient is discharged from a hospital after an inpatient stay or a surgery, they may need continued care in their recovery. Post-acute care is a growing healthcare service which accounts for over $2.7 trillion and almost 15% of Medicare spending. Post-acute care can be provided in a long-term care facility, an inpatient rehabilitation facility, a skilled nursing facility, or at home through services provided by home health agencies.
In fact, home health has been determined to be an effective alternative and the most cost-effective option for post-acute care for patients discharged from the hospital. According to a study conducted by a healthcare consulting firm, home health is the most cost-effective when compared across settings that include rehab and medical facilities.
The study analyzed the use of home care throughout three years of data for post-acute care settings that occurred within 60 days of the hospital discharge. Almost 40% of Medicare patients use home health when they are discharged from the hospital into post-acute care.
Home health is effective because it enables the individual to recover in their own home, a more familiar and comfortable setting. For patients who are older or who are chronically ill, home health can be especially beneficial. Patients receive help with personal care as well as with their healthcare needs and are able to remain in their home rather than in an institutional setting.
When a patient is able to go home to recover or to continue their medical care, a home health agency will usually provide that care. A triage nurse is able to assist in that care by taking calls during the evenings and on weekends, following an established set of protocols or your clinical directives to be able to further assist the home health patient.
Available triage nurses are a crucial element in the patients being able to receive quality care on a 24/7 basis. Even when there is no healthcare provider on duty in the home, the patient can rest assured that they have help available to them with a phone call. The triage nurse can provide information and reassurance to the patient.
A very important part of the triage nurse’s job is to gather enough information from the patient to determine whether a home visit by a healthcare provider is necessary or whether the patient needs to seek immediate care by having a friend or family member take them to the nearest healthcare facility.
Specially Trained for Home Health Patient Triage
Triage nurses do not simply answer the phone and pass along the message. They are trained to understand the needs of home health patients and to be able to give them the help they need during the phone call. A quality home health nurse triage service can reduce or even eliminate unnecessary trips to the emergency room and even unnecessary office visits for the physician.
For home health providers, a quality triage nurse can also reduce late night visits by the on-call nurse when a situation can be handled effectively using the standard protocols. As a result, the patient receives the care they need, and the healthcare professional is less likely to experience burnout from repeated after-hours visits.
Registered nurses are trained in specific areas so they can offer the highest quality advice and guidance to home health patients. At IntellaTriage, our home health experienced triage nurses are trained in the world-renowned Schmitt-Thompson protocols, ensuring exceptional results for home health patient triage.
IntellaTriage Provides the Gold Standard in Telephone Triage
At IntellaTriage, our registered nurses triage every call according to your set clinical directives or Schmitt-Thompson protocols, which are the gold standard in telephone triage. We have more than a decade of experience providing nurse triage calls and our focus continues to be on providing the highest level of care for clients, no matter the time of day.
Our phone triage nurses, all Registered Nurses, provide sound medical advice for patients concerned about a healthcare issue and we integrate with our providers’ systems to ensure consistent care for those patients. Contact IntellaTriage today for more information about our essential phone triage services.