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6 resident care pitfalls for SNFs

July 28, 2015
by Megan Combs, Associate Editor
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Avoiding a few common resident care pitfalls can help nursing home administrators and caregivers provide better care and customer service, according to a Justice in Aging webinar titled "20 Common nursing home problems and how to resolve them." What's your facility's strategy on these six care-related issues?

  1. Getting familes involved in the care plan:  Many families and residents fail to take care planning seriously because they think the nursing staff will make all the care decisions. Make sure the families and/or residents attend all the care planning meetings and are involved in decision-making process.
  2. Encouraging residents' rights to choose: Residents think their preferences are disregarded because there aren't enough staff, or rules are rules. The Nursing Home Reform Law requires a skilled nursing facility (SNF) to make reasonable adjustments based on resident preference. Give residents the chance to choose which activities they want to attend or adjust nursing schedules to allow residents to wake up when they want.
  3. Arguing over care services: Residents often feel the need to hire private-duty aides because the home is failing to provide necessary services. By law, a SNF is required to provide all necessary care. If the SNF continues to refuse to provide the necessary care, family members can request a state inspection.
  4. Restraining the urge to restrain: SNFs have an improper use of physical restraints. Some families are told their father is tied to a wheelchair to prevent him from falling out, but the fact is that SNFs are not allowed to use restraints for convenience or as a form of discipline. Instead of restraints, Justice in Aging suggests adjusting staffing levels or installing electronic monitoring.
  5. Rethinking behavior-modifying drugs: Medication for behaviors can only be used when the behavior is caused by a diagnosed illness. When deciding whether to use a behavior-modifying drug, consider whether the medication will benefit the resident in any way and be sure to document the reasons for use. If the medication is used more as a convenience to the staff, it shouldn't be used.
  6. Relying on feeding tubes: In most cases, a feeding tube should be used as a last resort. Laws regulate the care delivered to residents with feeding tubes, including requiring that aides or nurses will assist a resident to maintain the ability to eat. Discuss the resident's eating habits with the family to determine whether this is a procedure that should be used.

Read Justice in Aging's list of 20 common problems and how to solve them here.

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