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Insights and Trends

Adult Behavioral Health: 2 Key Factors Contributing to Improved Outcomes

Between increasing presentations of medically complex illnesses among the aging patient population and growing strains being placed on emergency departments (EDs), hospitals are looking for effective strategies to help improve efficiencies and strengthen outcomes.

Doing so is especially critical for those patients experiencing behavioral health illnesses, as it is estimated that nearly 14 million Americans 56 years or older will have a mental health or substance use disorder by 2030.1

Discover two ways a joint-venture or contract management partnership can help your hospital streamline its behavioral health offering to improve aging patient population outcomes.

  1. Length of Stay

    When a patient is admitted to a hospital with both a physical and behavioral health illness, the likelihood of a prolonged length of stay (LOS) increases.2 For hospitals to address this, proactive integration of behavioral health services is critical.

    An example of positive LOS outcomes following the introduction of behavioral health best practices is highlighted in a recent adult psychiatric ward study. Steps taken to achieve these outcomes include:3
    • Involving existing hospital professionals in the process and offering additional training and education to strengthen their skillsets to identify patients in need of behavioral health services.
    • Implementing one-hour daily management meetings in which all patients’ primary needs were discussed and next steps were identified for the entire team. This improved communication among staff, leading to better patient outcomes and satisfaction.
    • Utilizing an interdisciplinary team specifically trained in streamlining the care process and producing optimal behavioral health outcomes.
    • Integrating pre-discharge communication with patients to identify potential issues that would lead to readmission or a failed discharge. 
    With guidance from a focused expert, hospitals can more effectively integrate these best practices and resources – resulting in shorter LOS, reduced rehospitalization, lower care costs and improved patient satisfaction.

  2. Behavioral Health Staffing

    The psychiatrist workforce shortage is projected to rise through 2024. If no workforce changes are made and trends continue, there will only be about 14 psychiatrists per 100,000 American adults with mental illness and substance use disorders.4 However, these shortages go beyond just psychiatrists, and are hindering the delivery of effective post-acute care across the continuum. It is also placing substantial strains on EDs, who are not properly equipped to identify and treat behavioral health conditions.

    A partner with both local and national reach, in addition to having experience identifying behavioral health talent, can help a hospital hire and retain staff that will provide exceptional behavioral healthcare. This will help alleviate ED capacity strains while increasing patient satisfaction.

Read our white paper, “Enhancing Adult Behavioral Health Outcomes: Three Advantages of Partnership” to learn how we can help your hospital optimize its current offering to meet the needs of the aging patient population.


References:

  1. Bor, J. S. (2015, May 1). Among the elderly, many mental illnesses go undiagnosed: Health Affairs Journal. Health Affairs. Retrieved March 21, 2022, from https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0314
  2. Sledge, W., Gueorguieva, R., Desan, P., Bozzo, J., Dorset, J., & Benjamin Lee, H. (2015). Multidisciplinary proactive psychiatric consultation service: Impact on length of stay for medical inpatients. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26022134/
  3. Adlington, K., Brown, J., Ralph, L., Clarke, A., Bhoyroo, T., Henderson, M., Boora, F., Aurelio, M., & Fawzi, W. (2018, November 1). Better Care: Reducing length of stay and bed occupancy on an older Adult Psychiatric Ward. BMJ open quality. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6231107/
  4. Satiani, A., Niedermier, J., Satiani, B., & Svendsen, D. (2018, March 15). Projected workforce of psychiatrists in the United States: A population analysis. Psychiatric Services. Retrieved March 9, 2022, from https://ps.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ps.201700344