April 20, 2018
Have you embraced the spirit of springtime renewal?

Make a fresh start with these simple approaches to LTC improvement

The spring season inspires positive regeneration and rebirth in all areas of our lives, including the workplace. As skilled nursing facilities gear up for warmer weather, administrators can liſt spirits of caregivers and patients with a renewed commitment to quality care, medication safety, preventative practices and procedural efficiency.

Take a cue from the following long-term care news stories and industry updates, and consider making some positive additions to your facility’s ‘spring cleaning’ plan.

1. Dealing with Dementia

Earlier this year, End of Life Choices New York released a new advanced directive document that would allow sufferers to quicken death in the late stages of dementia. The directive grants patients and their families more control over feeding decisions at the end of life, a permission that many palliative care professionals and anti-choice activists diverge on.

Read the Directive

LTC Takeaways — Denying food, water or basic care during the late stages of dementia—especially in a nursing facility—is more than an ethical battle. Administrators need to consider the legal ramifications of such an extreme directive option while keeping patients’ wishes in mind. Continue to shape your facility’s late-stage dementia care plan, and keep watch of the ongoing debate.

2. Tackling Opioid Abuse

Facilities hoping to evade the effects of this growing epidemic will have more support in the latter half of 2018, as Washington officials announced new research funding in excess of $1B. Also, studies suggest that opioid abuse among aging populations is on track to double. This has prompted legislators to impose tighter restrictions on new prescriptions written for Medicare patients

Get the Details

LTC Takeaways — The deep cultural impact of heroin and opioid dependency seems just outside the scope of long-term care. But in reality, elderly patients are becoming increasingly more susceptible to addiction in their attempts to manage chronic pain. Administrators should understand that government grants are valuable tools, providing pertinent education, recovery resources and more.

3. Revisiting Regulation

Jacqueline Vance, also known as ‘The Real Nurse Jackie,’ wrote an inspiring editorial asking facilities to take a hard look at their approach to meeting regulatory requirements. Vance says, “There is so much we do that doesn’t make sense, wastes time, has nothing to do with the regulations. But we do it and get mired in that mud.” She cites post-fall neuro checks as an example of wasteful policy.

Hear Her Plea

LTC Takeaways — Nurse Jackie’s discussion taps into common LTC worker anxieties. Whether it’s administrative red tape, outdated reporting practices, unnecessary patient testing or other policies proven to be impractical, it’s time to give things a fresh look. Consider calling a meeting with caregivers. Listen to their frustrations, and pledge to make some sensible changes in the near future.