Person-centered Care depends on your recruitment processes

On a recent trip to Cambodia and Singapore I visited the older members of the community where they were being cared for and spend their final days.  In Cambodia, where there are no formal aged care services; I found the older members of their communities being care for by each other in either family or Buddhist temple settings.  The choice is often made by the oldest members of families in Cambodian society to leave home and move into a temple and take on the lifestyle of a Buddhist Monk or Nun.

I was honoured to have had the opportunity to visit these folk and talk with them about their lives and experiences. I asked them if they missed anything about their previous life.  The answer when I’ve asked that same question of elder folk in New Zealand has resulted in a long list. These gentle folk smiled broadly at me and told me no, there was not a single thing they missed. Their families still came to visit them. It seemed that was all they needed from life as it was!

In caring for each other these ladies practiced the principles of person-centered care. They were not familiar with the term, were not trained nurses and were not carers who had received formal training. Never the less, they provided care as needed by those receiving it. This was about social housing and accommodation rather than a focus on infirmity, disability or ill health.

On my visit to a nursing home in Singapore, it was inspiring to see the elder ladies sewing staff uniforms and other elder men and women preparing vegetables. These would become meals of the children crèche down the road. These folk talked as they worked together. They were connecting and contributing. Making a difference. They were needed and had value.  They held a high status within their community.

In the Singapore Nursing home residents lived in the nursing home in 8 bed units, men segregated from the woman. The sense of connection between residents however was obvious from the numbers of people I saw sitting beside other residents’ beds talking with them, interacting together and chatting as they worked.

There were trained nurses and the Welfare Officer who was a fountain of knowledge talked about person-centered care. The residents’ activities programme was full and could have easily been transferable to any NZ residential care facility.

The terms used were the same as ours but as I looked around I could see the implementation of person-centered care was very different from our interpretation of that type of service. Residents were certainly engaged, appeared happy and well care for.

What struck me however was how different our understanding of the term ‘person centered care’ is and how a society’s culture or organisational policies can mean our practice is very different.

This is an important factor to remember when recruiting staff that have been trained and work in other countries. When you describe something to an applicant you’re recruiting and they say they understand the concept, does it necessarily mean you have the same understanding. The picture in your mind of what the outcome will look like may be very different to their mind-view?  Sometimes it pays to ask more questions!

Quality Management Systems

The below question and answer were published in the New Zealand Aged Care Association industry ‘In-Touch’ newsletter (19th February 2016).

Question: A member asks “if we purchase a comprehensive quality management system from a provider how assured are we that the system will meet full compliance, come certification and surveillance audit time, as requirements and compliance expectations change frequently?

NZACA Clinical Advisor Answer: “You should be purchasing a complete quality management system that will comply with the Health and Disability Standards specifications, health and safety requirements and meet DHB/ARRC contractual requirements.

The provider of the system would normally initially tailor the full quality management package to reflect accurately the site specifications, H.R. component, and best practice guidelines, after consultation with the owner and management on site. These documents need to be site specific. The provider will normally contract to the site, which sets out obligations between the provider and the site management.

The contract will include the full review and updates of policies and procedures on a bi-annual basis, unless specified more frequently, to keep documents accurate and reflective of best practice. There may be an educational element provided within the contract as well, to benefit staff knowledge and skills. There is normally a good document control system in place and cross referencing of information where required.

Quality management systems are reliant on the skills and knowledge of the site personnel working with them, the way the system is managed and the outcomes/reviews, content and information extricated from the use of the system to improve quality care provision/outputs. The documentation system is reflective of the people using them, and the depth to which documentation and information is created, analysed and utilised for improvements.

Auditors on site rely on the provision of robust up-to-date policies and site adherence to them. Partial attainments can sometimes result from staff deviating from, or not following, their sites actual policies or processes as outlined in their quality management system.”

Where can you get such a system? 

Here at Healthcare Compliance Solutions Ltd we provide the services described above and noted as being optimal for achieving excellence in care and audit outcomes. 

Request a no obligation consultation here.  

 

Medication Management Audit Tips

 

 Medication management relates to section 1.3.12 of the Health and Disability Services Standards and referred to in section D5.4 of the ARRC.  There are key reference documents which provide reference at facility level which should be used in conjunction and addition to your organisation policies and procedures.  These reference documents are (first two are key for residential care):

 

Medication errors of any type, when reporting through the audit process to MoH HealthCert as part of your audit, will receive a higher ‘weighting’ than other partial or non-attainments.  Even a single signature missing off an administration signing sheet may come into this category and mean your audit outcome is diminished.  Below are common errors which continue to be made:

Aspect of medication management 

Common Errors 

Medication charts

Not dated

Not signed by the prescriber

Not signed by the General Practitioner or Nurse Practitioner at each review (3 monthly)

Not legible

Allergies not documented (or inconsistent with other resident documents)

Transcribing on medication charts or PRN signing sheets

PRN medication charting does not include ‘indication for use’

Medication order does not include time, dose, frequency, route, type etc

Signing sheets

Missed signatures on the signing sheets

Only one signature (instead of two) on controlled drug administration records and register

PRN medication not signed for accurately

Self-medicating residents

Competency to verify self-medication not signed by prescriber

Competency for self-medication not signed as having been reviewed by prescriber (3 monthly)

Staff verification of self-medicating occurred not recorded on a shift by shift basis (as relevant to the individual residents medication order)

Not retaining a current list of all medication ordered for self-medicating residents

Storage

Medication not securely stored (also see ARRC D15.3(c)

Controlled drugs not entered accurately into Controlled Drug Register (at time of supply or return to pharmacy)

Controlled drugs not stored in locked cabinet in locked room

Drug trolley left in common areas unlocked

Expired medication continue to be stored on site (should be returned to pharmacy)

Medication for resident who has been discharge or deceased remain on site

Medication fridge temperature not monitored / recorded

Labels on medication containers not clear / legible

Identification of resident

Photograph not representative of current presentation of resident (photograph should be colour)

Photograph of residents not validated regularly

Medication errors

Not reported

Not managed (through an adverse event management process to ensure identification of contributing factor and preventive measures).

Competency

All staff (including Registered Nurses and Enrolled Nurses) involved in medication administration must have first successfully completed a medication competency

Annual review of medication competencies

If you’re uncertain about the competency of a particular staff member, do not be tempted to sign them off and monitor.  The risk is too high for the residents and your organisation.  Medication errors can be classified as ‘sub-standard care’ and due to the possible consequences, are at least a moderate risk.

Remember when changing staff around, the key priority is do you have a medication competent staff member on each duty and if controlled drugs are being administered, you need a minimum of two medication competent staff rostered on each duty.  Registered Nurses cannot be leaving the ‘hospital’ area of the facility to administer medication in other areas as this leaves the hospital residents vulnerable so this also needs to be factored into your rostering.  Refer to the Aged Related Residential Care Contract (ARRC) for further information.

Ensure your internal audits review the above common errors to verify you are providing safe and appropriate services in all aspects of medication management.

MRSA or ESBL positive staff or residents – what to do, changing times

MRSA was first isolated in NZ in 1975, remained at extremely low levels over the next 10 years (0.05% of 2077 surveyed Staphylococcus aureus isolates nationally in 1982). But from the 1990’s onwards the incidence of various strains of MRSA has steadily increased in both hospitals, rest homes and the community.

Most of us carry Staph aureus as part of our normal skin flora.  When we have a cut, wound  or other compromised skin integrity (e.g. infected dermatitis/eczema) some of our normal flora can increase in numbers to cause what we recognise as a clinical infection.

i.e. we catch this Staph aureus infection from our own normal flora

Community laboratory data now shows that 5 out of every 100  Staph aureus  infections in the South Island,  12 out of every 100 in the Auckland region,  are now MRSA

i.e. MRSA is now endemic in the population,  so trying to isolate those with MRSA or remove it from those who are carriers by ‘decolonisation’ (e.g. chlorhexidine body washes and mupiricin) is a wasted effort, and can in fact be counterproductive – toxicity, promotes antibiotic resistance, stigmatisation, isolating residents is generally shown to produce worse clinical outcomes.  Isolation is required for some infectious diseases which MRSA is not.

Resident/patient with MRSA – use good Standard Precautions (hand hygiene).  Cover any infected cuts or wounds as per normal.  Plus Contact Precautions (glove/gown) as you normally would if providing wound care and splashing or direct skin or uniform contact possible.

Staff member with MRSA – again no special precautions are generally required and ‘decolonisation’ is not indicated.  Good Standard Precautions (hand hygiene – alcohol hand rubs or liquid soap and water both work well).

We should always aim to prevent any cross infections of any organisms, susceptible or resistant.

Good ongoing environmental and equipment cleaning and hygiene should be maintained routinely in the facility, regardless of any known MRSA or other resistant organisms  (e.g. ESBL).

Additional Facts

  • Our total combined use of antibiotics has bred or created these resistant bacteria – are we doing all we can to reduce any over use of antibiotics? g. UTI’s are commonly ‘over treated’ on a positive dipstick result rather than clear clinical symptoms
  • Any known positive MRSA (or ESBL) only represents the tip of the iceberg – a known positive person is an indicator only of a much larger issue, there will be many more unknowns. So, like blood and body fluids, it is best to think any one of us – staff residents and patients – could be positive at any time because we not uncommonly will be but seldom be aware of it
  • MRSA, ESBL, VRE carriers – the good news is 9 times out of 10 we spontaneously lose our carriage or colonisation of these resistant bacteria in 1-12 months when we happen to be carriers and do not use antimicrobials, and usually we will not know when we are carriers, but temporary carriage is likely on staff several times over in a 5-10 year period
  • ESBL (extended spectrum beta lactamase) is increasing similarly to MRSA, but started a few years later. Its primary reservoir source is the bowel not the skin
  • Staph aureus itself (the susceptible form MSSA and the more resistant form MRSA) generally have equal pathogenic potential but are generally normal flora also
  • Each one of us is made up of 10 trillion tissue cells and 90 trillion bacteria  e. ‘your bugs are my bugs’ – we cannot but help share our microbes by touch, shedding skin, etc but we must actively reduce this sharing by good Standard Precautions on all by all

Our combined total use of antibiotics continues to create ever more microbial resistance.

Good hand hygiene and cough containment Standard Precaution practice coupled with thorough cleaning of equipment and the environment will ensure there is a lower risk of transmission and environmental contamination of our shared microbes – the resistant and susceptible forms.

Article shared with the kind permission of:

Author: Ben Harris – Microbiologist – Southern Community Laboratories (2015) 

 

 

 

Taking things for granted….

I ate the best crispest, crunchiest, juiciest, rosiest, sweetest most marvellous apple while I was driving home last night after attending a seminar. I had put it in my bag earlier for just such an occasion and it really was the very best apple.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about eating an apple. Well the point is I can eat an apple. I can eat an apple while driving a car. No-one should drink and drive and we are not allowed to text and drive but eating an apple while driving is still allowed.

The reason it was good to eat this most marvellous apple was that in order to eat it I first had to achieve a whole range of things. I had to have the money to pay for this crunchy crisp apple which confirms I have the financial reserves to not only pay for the petrol and maintenance for my car but also to pay for this beautiful rosy apple. I had to also remember that I liked apples along with remembering where the supermarket was to buy that most marvellous apple. I then had to recall where I’d parked my car and have the mental competence to get myself and my car and my apple out of the car-park and heading for home.

This all takes having an intact mind so I find it rather encouraging and reassuring that my mind seems to be working just fine.
To be able to eat this delicious thirst quenching juicy apple I had to have physical strength to drive my car and walk into the shop, buy the apple and walk with ease back to my car without getting short of breath in order to drive home. I had to have the muscular strength in my legs to walk, use the foot controls in my car with ease and have the physical reactions to stop in a hurry if I had to. All this being achieved while enjoying a gift of natures food, my wonderful apple. The hand dexterity needed to hold and manoeuvre that apple so I could bite the piece I wanted while steering the car was also something I take for granted. I realise I take for granted having healthy teeth to munch and crunch that beautiful apple. This all confirms my body and mind seem to still be functioning with strength and ease which I am very grateful for.

As I savoured every mouth full of this delectable apple while driving home tonight I wondered if when I’m 80 or 90 years old I will still be able to do this most enjoyable feat. I thought of all the things that must function for me to buy apples year after year. Will I have the ability to drive my car and walk into the supermarket and pick the nicest looking apple, pay for it and eat it with my natural teeth? Oh I do hope so.

To increase my odds of repeating this enjoyable drive home devouring delicious mouth full by delicious mouth full of apple, I decide I will need to take good care of myself. I will need to make sure I keep up my physical strength through regular exercise and eat a good diet to maintain a healthy weight. I will need to look after my eyesight with regular eye checks. I will remember to take regular visits to the dental hygienist and look after my teeth. I will manage my finances and enjoy reading books, socialising and learning new things to keep my mind active. And yes, I will continue to hope that with all the right self-cares and a bit of luck, when I am 80 or 90 years old I will be able to go to the supermarket to pick out the very best apple.

Health and Safety at Work 2015 implications for Aged care and Retirement Villages

I’ve been working through the new Health and Safety at Work 2015 legislation and have concerns about how this applies to not only care facilities and new reporting requirements, but also to Villages.  This legislation could cause all sorts of issues for you and in my view needs further clarification as to how it is to be applied to ARRC residential care setting and Villages that come under the RVA.

The Retirement Villages Association define a ‘Licence to Occupy’ as –

Licence to occupy – This is the most common form of occupation right in New Zealand. A licence to occupy gives you the right to live in your residential unit and to use to village facilities according to the terms of the licence to occupy. The ownership of the land and building remain with the village operator.”

The new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 which applies from the 4th of April 2016 requires a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to report notifiable injuries or illnesses and all notifiable incidents. Looking closer at the terminology used in the legislation is states in relation to responsibility to notify

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.
Sub Section part 2 – clause 37 Duty of PCBU who manages or controls workplace  (
this appears to apply to Village operators as well as ARRC providers)

(4) In this section, a PCBU who manages or controls a workplace—

(a) means a PCBU to the extent that the business or undertaking involves the management or control (in whole or in part) of the workplace; but
(b) does not include—
(i) the occupier of a residence, unless the residence is occupied for the purposes of, or as part of, the conduct of a business or undertaking.

The red text seems to be the rationale for notifications being required from care facilities but it would seem it also applies to village units, studios and apartments.  How are you going to know if your village residents have had an injury or illness which is classified as notifiable?

Part 1 Section 23 –  Meaning of notifiable injury or illness

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, a notifiable injury or illness, in relation to a person, means—
(a) any of the following injuries or illnesses that require the person to have immediate treatment (other than first aid):

(i) the amputation of any part of his or her body:
(ii) a serious head injury: (
This could apply in the case of a fall where a resident has a knock to their head?)
(iii) a serious eye injury:
(iv) a serious burn:
(v) the separation of his or her skin from an underlying tissue (such as
degloving or scalping): (
Does this apply to skin tears of a particular size?)
(vi) a spinal injury:
(vii) the loss of a bodily function:  (
Fall resulting in fracture?)
(viii) serious lacerations:

(b) an injury or illness that requires, or would usually require, the person to be admitted to a hospital for immediate treatment:
(c) an injury or illness that requires, or would usually require, the person to have medical treatment within 48 hours of exposure to a substance:

Implementing this into this sector may be difficult due to the rights to privacy of those living in ‘independent’ ORA situations. The key definer in this section is clause a) any of the following injuries or illnesses that require the person to have immediate treatment (other than first aid).  If an ambulance is called to attend to a village resident this could be deemed ‘immediate treatment’.

Part 1 Section 24 – Meaning of notifiable incident –

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, a notifiable incident means an unplanned or uncontrolled incident in relation to a workplace that exposes a
worker or any other person
to a serious risk to that person’s health or safety arising from an immediate or imminent exposure to—

(a) an escape, a spillage, or a leakage of a substance; or
(b) an implosion, explosion, or fire; or
(c) an escape of gas or steam; or
(d) an escape of a pressurised substance; or
(e) an electric shock; or
(f) the fall or release from a height of any plant, substance, or thing; or
(g) the collapse, overturning, failure, or malfunction of, or damage to, any
plant that is required to be authorised for use in accordance with regulations;
or
(h) the collapse or partial collapse of a structure; or
(i) the collapse or failure of an excavation or any shoring supporting an excavation;
or
(j) the inrush of water, mud, or gas in workings in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
(k) the interruption of the main system of ventilation in an underground excavation or tunnel; or
(l) a collision between 2 vessels, a vessel capsize, or the inrush of water into a vessel; or
(m) any other incident declared by regulations to be a notifiable incident for the purposes of this section.

Clearly the majority of these apply to manufacturing and industrial sites however some could potentially be applied to the care and village setting.

What do you see as your liabilities?  What is the responsibility for the operator in managing potential risk?  Which assessment tools and accompanying definitions are we best to apply if any?  If alcohol consumption by a resident or failing cognitive state is likely to contribute to their safety, where are the boundaries for responsibility between the resident and the operator? 

Share your comments ….

Multidrug resistant organisms

Multidrug resistant organisms – an update for residential care

The increase in bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics is now a major concern for healthcare providers across the world. Recently the UK’s top doctor, Dame Sally Davies, described antibiotic resistance as ‘serious a threat as terrorism’, predicting that people may die from routine post operative infections within 20 years as there would be no effective antibiotics available.

 

Multidrug resistant organisms (MDRO or MRO) are organisms that are resistant to several antibiotics to which they would normally be susceptible or two or more classes of antibiotics1. This means that the choice of antibiotics to treat an infection with an MDRO is usually not the first one and may have limited effect.

 

The MDRO that are most commonly encountered in residential care are MRSA (methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL) producing organisms. However there are some new kids on the block, which, although seen more in the acute healthcare sector, are finding their way into our residential care facilities. These very resistant superbugs include Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) and Carbapenem resistant enterobacteraciae (CRE).

 

Some of the characteristics of these MDRO are summarised in the table below

Summary of MDRO characteristics

MDRO Normal habitat Infections Mode of transmission
MRSA Skin (nares, groin) Skin, urinary tract, chest, wound Contact – colonised or infected skin/ulcer

Contaminated items/surfaces

ESBLs Bowel Urinary tract, wound, pneumonia Contact with faecal or urine contaminated items. Contact with colonised wound/ulcer
VRE Bowel Urinary tract, wound, pneumonia Contact as for ESBLs

Contaminated environment

CRE Bowel Urinary tract, wound, pneumonia Contact as for ESBLs

 

 

High prevalence rates of MDRO colonisation in long term and aged residential care facilities are frequently reported in the literature. Although MDRO are often introduced into a facility from a resident who has recently been in hospital or has had multiple courses of antibiotics, they can spread easily through ARC. This may be due to poor infection prevention and control (IPC) practices, poor facility design or inadequate number of toilets or merely through social contact between residents. However despite the high rates of MDRO in residential care, it does not appear that residents are at greater risk of infection with these organisms.

 

Residential care facilities can play their part in helping to reduce the spread of MDRO by having an effective infection prevention and control programme which includes the following specific to MDRO:

  • the use of standard IPC precautions and adherence to good hand hygiene practices
  • Additional IPC measures when indicated
  • surveillance of infections
  • antimicrobial stewardship e.g. reducing inappropriate use of antibiotics for asymptomatic bacteriuria.
  • Informing the emergency department or ward of the resident’s MDRO colonisation if admitted to hospital. This is important because additional precautions may be necessary in the acute hospital setting.

 

The care of a resident with an MDRO in an ARC facility must reach a balance of the needs of the resident to live a normal life within their ‘home’ and the responsibility to the wider society to prevent further transmission of the MDRO, which contributes to the increase in antibiotic resistance.

 

Staff and colonised or infected residents should understand the methods of spread of the MDRO and use suitable precautions to break this chain of infection transmission. In many cases this will be the use of routine standard precautions, particularly hand hygiene.

 

A risk assessment for each resident should be undertaken and the precautions tailored to their risk factors for spread. For example, emptying and handling urinary catheters and bags increases the risk of spread of ESBLs and apron and gloves should always be worn for this task.

 

Most MDRO colonise the bowel so faecal incontinence is always a risk factor for transmission.

For some of the more resistant organisms such as VRE and CRE, it is advisable that the colonised resident has their own room and toilet facilities and that staff wear a gown/apron and gloves for all cares that involve direct contact with wounds, emptying catheter bags, toileting or other intimate cares.

By ensuring staff are informed, regularly use standard precautions and good hand hygiene practices and implement antibiotic stewardship, together we can help reduce the rate of increase in MDRO in our society.

  1. Ministry of Health. 2007. Guidelines for the Control of Multidrug-resistant Organisms in New Zealand. Wellington: Ministry of Health

 

Ruth Barratt RN, BSc, MAdvPrac (Hons)

Independent Infection Prevention & Control Advisor

Infectprevent@gmail.com