Assisted Living communities are at high risk when a resident has a significant change in condition. This change could include a pressure sore, cessation or decrease in eating or drinking, immobility or weakness, change in mental status, just to name a few. Calling the family to notify of a change in condition is important, but not enough.
Too often staff have erred in thinking “I told the family” is enough. Another mistake is to send a fax to the MD to notify of the change in condition. While it is fine to notify the MD, you need your resident evaluated.
In a 2012 CNA Aging Services Report titled Data Analysis Supporting the Need for Industry Change, it is noted that gross improper care has the highest average total paid in assisted living claims ($541.000.00). These claims can include egregious deviations from the accepted quality of care and lapses in communication with physicians.
What is a community to do? Consider these important action steps when your resident has a change in condition.
- Get the resident in front of a medical practitioner. This can be an MD visit to their primary physician if that can expediently be arranged. It could also include an urgent care visit or a visiting physician coming to the community.
- Document all notifications and attempts to get the resident to the MD.
- Document and follow all new physician orders
- If resident continues to decline, seek emergency medical services.
Aggressive early interventions can prevent hospitalizations and worsening condition, which is not only appropriate for the resident, but a solid risk prevention strategy.