After-hospitalization care program to be launched

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

Sun, Oct 13, 2013 - Page 3

A pilot program of post-acute care enhancement for patients with cerebrovascular disease (CVD) or acute strokes will be launched next year, the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) said.

A post-acute care program needs to be in place, said the administration, as the population ages, with more patients suffering from functional disability after acute care, short-term medical treatment or hospitalization.

Patients can develop acute illness or related episodes, becoming dependent on the healthcare system, families and social welfare.

While NHI covers medical treatments, the lack of post-acute care has resulted in high readmission and long hospital stays, some patients even taking up beds needed for rehabilitation.

CVD has been chosen as the target disease for the pilot program because it often accompanies other diseases, which require interdepartmental care, and because of the large number of the people affected with it, the agency said.

According to the NHIA, domestic studies have found that an average of 17.4 percent of people suffering from cerebrovascular diseases will be readmitted to the hospital within 14 days, 41.9 percent within six months, and 50 percent within a year.

The readmission rate within six months is higher than that of the US at 29.7 percent and Australia at 30 percent.

Patients with cerebrovascular diseases also have the longest hospital stay on average in the country, with 10.4 percent of those diagnosed with acute cerebrovascular diseases having a prolonged hospital stay of at least 23 days.

However, this 10 percent accounts for 47.8 percent of the total in-hospital medical expenses used by CVD patients, according to a study cited by the NHIA.

It has also been shown that around 10.11 percent to 23.13 percent of CVD patients might need post-acute care, which if implemented could save each patient 2.06 to 8.17 days of acute care days and reduce bed use by 306 to 1,210 beds.

The pilot program therefore aims at providing an integrative post-acute care for people suffering from CVD and help them recover faster or improve their condition, depending on the degree of the disability, said the agency.

NHIA added that it is also expecting that the new post-acute care model is to be coordinated with long-term care services.