From blame to education: Rethinking the nursing home survey process

The treatment team sat around the table calculating the approximate arrival date of the surveyors based on rumors, past years’ experience, and sightings from colleagues at other facilities in the city. 

“If they approach you,” the director of nursing advised, “try not to say too much.”

The young social worker remarked, “If I see them coming, I’ll run the other way!”

“That’ll work,” I said. “Unless we all do it.”

The above scene typifies the views I’ve observed of nursing home staff towards surveyors — the tracking of the enemy, the red-eyed anxiety of overworked staff, the fear of an inadvertent gaffe.

What if, instead of a system based on the notion that nursing homes should be punished for deliberately flouting the rules, the underlying belief was that facilities were trying to do their best? What if surveyors were viewed not as adversaries, but as essential team members who share the common goal of excellent care?

In LTC task force pushes for ‘complete redesign’ of nursing home survey process that places less blame on providers, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News author Danielle Brown reports on the JAMDA editorial based on the findings of the AMDA Survey Taskforce to Facilitate Rethinking of an Upgraded Survey Process.

The group of medical experts contend that while the survey process improves regulatory compliance, it doesn’t ensure quality of care. It also negatively impacts staff morale (something we should be paying more attention to than ever, given the demoralizing effect of COVID-19).

The AMDA task force calls for consistent funding and training of surveyors, a more collaborative and educational approach, increased use of geriatric experts such as medical directors, and identification and sharing of best practices.

I couldn’t agree more.

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From blame to education: Rethinking the nursing home survey process

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