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Quality improvement program for assisted living released

August 27, 2014
by Lois A. Bowers, Senior Editor
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New tools to help assisted living communities reduce hospital readmissions among residents have been released by Florida Atlantic University (FAU). The quality improvement program, Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT), originally was designed for residents at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

“The INTERACT program is focused on improving the quality of care for vulnerable older people who have an acute change in condition,” says Joseph G. Ouslander, MD, senior associate dean of geriatric programs at FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. “The basic clinical aspects of the INTERACT tools, and the INTERACT strategies to improve recognition, evaluation, communication, documentation and management of these changes, are the same across healthcare settings.”

Ouslander has led an interdisciplinary team that has developed and tested the INTERACT program over the past seven years, first in SNFs and in assisted living communities with support from a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Grant. For months, pilot communities assessed and provided feedback on the four categories of INTERACT tools (quality improvement, communication, decision support and advance care planning) to finalize the Assisted Living Version 1.0 tools that are now publicly available. Ouslander worked with members of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL) to develop the new tools and to conduct pilot tests.

“Assisted living is increasingly caring for aging individuals with complex care needs, so we must be vigilant in keeping up with the best practices to prevent readmissions and provide the highest quality care,” says Lindsay Schwartz, PhD, NCAL’s director of workforce and quality improvement programs. “The INTERACT program has proven to be successful in [SNFs], and we look forward to seeing the same benefits for assisted living residents.”

NCAL has more than 3,200 member communities. The organization is in the midst of a three-year goal to safely reduce 30-day readmissions by 15 percent by March as part of the NCAL Quality Initiative.

Assisted living communities may access the Assisted Living Version 1.0 tools via the INTERACT website. NCAL members also may access the tools at or through a link on NCAL’s website.

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