Media Relations

Press Release:

Rachel Reeves, NCAL

FAU Extends Program that Reduces Hospital Readmissions with the Potential to Save Billions in Healthcare Costs to Assisted Living Communities

INTERACT for Assisted Living Evolved from Established Skilled Nursing Program to Now Aid Assisted Living Providers

BOCA RATON, Fla. (August 6, 2014)  – Florida Atlantic University has unveiled the new Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT) for assisted living, a quality improvement program designed to reduce hospital readmissions among assisted living residents. INTERACT was originally designed to improve the early identification, management, documentation and communication about acute changes in the condition of residents at skilled nursing centers. The program has now expanded to include tools specifically for assisted living providers.

Hospitalization is disrupting to elderly individuals and puts them at greater risk for complications and infections. Trips to the hospital also increase the likelihood of reduced functioning in the elderly after returning to an assisted living community. Beyond the potential negative physical, emotional and psychological impacts on assisted living residents, readmissions also cost the Medicare program billions of dollars.

“The INTERACT Program is focused on improving the quality of care for vulnerable older people who have an acute change in condition,” said Joseph G. Ouslander, M.D., senior associate dean of geriatric programs at FAU's Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “The basic clinical aspects of the INTERACT tools, and the INTERACT strategies to improve recognition, evaluation, communication, documentation, and management of these changes are the same across healthcare settings.”

The INTERACT Program has been developed and tested over the last seven years by an interdisciplinary team led by Ouslander. After years of INTERACT use in skilled nursing centers, the program began testing its tools in assisted living communities through the support of a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Grant. For months, pilot communities assessed and provided feedback on the four categories of INTERACT tools (quality improvement, communication, decision support and advance care planning) to finalize the Assisted Living Version 1.0 tools that are now publicly available. Ouslander worked with members of the National Center for Assisted Living to develop the new tools and to conduct pilot tests.

“Assisted living is increasingly caring for aging individuals with complex care needs, so we must be vigilant in keeping up with the best practices to prevent readmissions and provide the highest quality care,” said Lindsay Schwartz, Ph.D., NCAL’s director of workforce and quality improvement programs. “The INTERACT program has proven to be successful in skilled nursing care centers, and we look forward to seeing the same benefits for assisted living residents.”

NCAL’s more than 3,200 member communities are committed to safely reducing hospital readmissions for assisted living residents. The association is in the midst of a three-year goal to safely reduce 30-day readmissions by 15 percent by March 2015, as part of the NCAL Quality Initiative.

Assisted living providers may access the Assisted Living Version 1.0 tools via the INTERACT website: . NCAL members can also access the tools at  or through a link on the association’s website:


The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 12,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit  or .

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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