Here’s my latest article on McKnight’s Long-Term Care News:
Last week I was speaking about the needs of younger residents at the North Carolina Health Care Facilities Association convention and had the opportunity to hear a presentation by David Gifford, MD, MPH, Senior Vice President of Quality and Regulatory Affairs of the American Health Care Association (AHCA). He was discussing what providers could expect from upcoming AHCA quality initiatives. I was listening with a clinician’s ears and, aside from feeling grateful that I’m a clinician and not an administrator, several points stood out for me.
• Turnover is going to be added to the 5-Star Rating System. Better-rated facilities will be expected to have a turnover rate of 40% or less. He didn’t specify how to accomplish this, but my article, “Keys to reducing turnover in LTC,” offers many suggestions to address the problem. As I noted in the column, a 2007 Donoghue and Castle study found that “increasing the number of aides per resident from 33 per 100 to 41 per 100 reduced CNA turnover from 65% to 41% and also lowered LPN and RN turnover.” Taking that action alone could bring your facility to the sought-after turnover rate.
• Analyze problems with the right attitude. When doing a root-cause analysis of challenges such as falls, infections, pressure ulcers, etc., Gifford recommends operating from the assumption that “everything is preventable” rather than a defeatist whaddayagonnado stance. (OK, I’m paraphrasing that last part.) In his experience, this attitude makes a big difference in finding areas of potential change.
He also points out that difficulties frequently stem from a systems problem or lack of skill rather than a knowledge deficit on the part of staff. Rather than providing knowledge-focused in-service trainings in an attempt to rectify situations, ask staff members what “frustrates” them about a particular problem and whether they have suggestions about how to remedy it.
• Use pilot studies. When making needed modifications, start with a very small sample rather than immediately making a facility-wide adjustment of systems. Follow the model of “one staff member, one resident, one day.” This trial run provides the opportunity to see how the new system works and creates staff buy-in before committing the entire facility to the changes. Staff buy-in is enhanced if the selected staff member is someone respected by peers.
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