Celebrate Nursing!

Warm thoughts to all nurses for National Nurses Week May 6-May 12! Nurses provide much needed care to seniors and adults living in residential care. Those of us working this industry know what a great nursing venue community based care provides.

The nursing shortage continues to grow, not only in California, but across the country. It is estimated that by the end of this decade the shortage of nurses will be more than one million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

If you know a nurse…employ a nurse or are a nurse, celebrate National Nurses Week! Go to lunch! Get pampered! You deserve it for all of the wonderful things you do for our residents each and every day.

Systems for Keeping Promises

Often times families, responsible parties, or even residents will initiate a complaint to licensing, simply out of desperation. They have made a request to a caregiver or supervisor and were reassured something would result. Yet, the promised care was never received.

As providers, it behooves us to make sure we have systems to capture resident needs and family requests and ensure there is follow-through. This will save us enormous stress in the long run. An excellent example of this took place in a great community recently. A resident has long been prescribed a needed medication for pain relief. IT is very important the medication is given regularly to effectively control the pain. The community had a problem getting the prescription refilled. Down to only one pill left, the MD finally renewed the prescription. The community faxed it straight off to the pharmacy for filling. The pharmacy did not deliver that evening. Day 1 of no medication. The daughter called to complain and the staff reassured the daughter it would be filled right away. Pharmacy called again. Still no med, but pharmacy promised a late afternoon delivery. This was a Friday. No med delivery again and now there is new weekend staffing. The new staff were unaware to expect a delivery. Day 2 of no medication. Long story short, the resident went three days without needed medication, each day hearing it would be there soon. Was the pharmacy at fault for not getting the med out? Absolutely, but at greater fault was staff for not taking more aggressive measures. All of this could have been avoided with a simple refill roster and staff monitoring requirements. Instead it ended up turning into citations and follow up visits including licensing and the ombudsman.

Here are some ideas to make sure there is appropriate follow-through in your community.

1. Maintain a refill roster that is reviewed by staff at every shift.

2. Use an end of shift report that requires a supervisor’s signature for follow up.

3. Empower all staff to be able to “do what it takes” to solve problems. Some headaches occur when providers maintain too much control and the community has to wait for one person to solve every dilemma.

4. Use a formal process for any complaints to ensure a good resolution.

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