Bethsaida Resthome, Hospital and Retirement Village Testimonial

We are very pleased to have recently been granted 4 year MOH Certification! No corrective actions and three Continuous Improvements.

This follows on from a fully attained Partial Provisional Audit that was required prior to opening our two new wings earlier this year with no corrective actions.

Make no mistake!  HCSL policies, software and support have played a major part in these accomplishments.  The HCSL software we use means we have easy access to information in real time.

I started working with Gillian of HCSL shortly after I took on the role of Facility Nurse Manager at Bethsaida Retirement Village six years ago. The facility was not using Healthcare Compliance Solutions policies at the time and perhaps this was reflected in the previous audit results.

Gillian is always responsive to emails and phone calls which is critical when timely advice is required.

The HCSL regular newsletters are interesting with relevant and up to date information on issues affecting aged care.

Gillian is a lovely person to deal with. She is thoughtful, professional, pragmatic and I have always found her to be keen to help, with practical advice on any issues that might arise in the management of a retirement facility.

I thoroughly recommend HCSL to all aged care facilities.

 

Tracy Holdaway RN BN

Facility Nurse Manager

Bethsaida Retirement Village

August 2019

Mandated minimum nursing hours – will it work to ensure safety and productivity?

The question of whether mandated minimum nursing hours would work has been asked previously. The workload of care and nursing staff is frequently discussed with staff reporting they are pressured for time to complete all the necessary duties assigned.  The Nursing staff have different but over-lapping functions to care staff.  When reviewing your staffing, it’s important to include a number of factors into any review when looking at the productivity and efficiency of your team.

We suggest you look at not only leadership and skill-mix, which are vital for safe services but also consider other factors. These can include the location of high acuity needs residents within your service.  With an increase in the use of dual beds, the mix between rest home and higher acuity hospital level of care are now intermingled and not specifically allocated to one area of the building.  This means the Registered Nurses providing clinical monitoring and oversight may have to spread their attention to a much more fragmented and broader geographical area in your service than was previously the case.

The location of resources and time spent looking for items of use and equipment could be minimised if more thought was put into the design of new facilities and the locating and management of replenishing stores for ready access by staff as and where they need them.  Who does the running and fetching could also be considered in work roles so staff with high end clinical skills are spending the bulk of their time on performing functions specific to their role and skill.  Not doing tasks that could be better delegated to others.

After the recent sudden closure of a care facility in Australia without apparent planning or communication with families, there has been outrage that such a thing could happen.  The “Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her Government would order fixed nurse-to-resident ratios in state-owned aged-care facilities.”  The ABC news report (19th July 2019) goes on to say “at least 50 per cent of staff having contact with residents in 16 publicly run aged-care centres to be nurses.”  I don’t know if by nurses they mean Registered Nurses only and not Enrolled nurses but I can’t help wonder if this alone will ensure safety.

One year on from Simon Wallace (NZACA CEO) reporting on staffing shortages, we haven’t seen any improvement it would seem!  In New Zealand an increasing proportion of our Registered Nurses have come to New Zealand to practice with no prior working knowledge of aged care services. They frequently have limited aged care related experience to conduct the complex assessment and clinical management of high acuity residents in a residential care setting.  This is not to diminish their value as we can’t provide the services needed otherwise.

What I’m trying to highlight in the current circumstances is, we’re frequently seeing nurses set up to fail or provide less than safe care as they simply don’t have the experience in this specialised field of nursing.  I recall conversations in the early 1990’s predicting a massive nursing shortage.  It appears that in the time-span between then and now, we haven’t addressed this issue.

We welcome comments and suggestions of how this could be addressed here in New Zealand before we end up in the depths of a staffing crisis which halts care.

Testimonial – Rhonda Sherriff – Chatswood Resthome and Hospital

Testimonial – Chatswood Resthome and Hospital owner (and Clinical Advisor for NZ Aged Care Association)

I am very happy to endorse your system as the information is invaluable for CNMs to analyse the data/information and make informed decisions on best practice and innovation to decrease hazards, improve outcomes, and mitigating factors for resident welfare. I’m pleased you are delving into the data to the level you are, as it’s time saving for sites in many respects, and so easy to dice and slice the information to get the trends.

CNM’s used to spend hours just writing up the collective information before the analysis, so this system is hugely time saving.

 

Rhonda Sherriff

Chatswood Resthome and Hospital

(Clinical Advisor for NZ Aged Care Association)

Disaster Management should include security measures

This is a good time to be reminded that disaster management or your security policy may need to be extended to include management of threats, both internal and external to your organisation.  During the past years I’ve been personally involved with facilities where a resident entered the facility with a fire-arm, an intruder break-in during the night with a fire-arm, and another where intruders who entered the facility went into an occupied residents room. This last case related to intruders who had allegedly held-up the local bottle store earlier that same day.

Things happen which we don’t expect and we must be prepared as best we can.  It’s impossible to cover every possible eventuality but when events such as the shootings in Christchurch occur, it’s a reminder to ask are we doing enough?  For example, staff security rounds should be strictly enforced and documented to verify these were carried out. If you have surveillance cameras, where are your blind spots? If it’s the staff car park for staff going off duty late at night, improvements are desirable for staff safety. What about your processes for visitor verification? 

Security isn’t just about the people and environment but also about assets and information.  These should all be detailed in your policy documents.

HCSL are currently updating the security policies we provide ARC services to include reduction of risk from internal and external threats. This includes a procedure for lock-down. Let’s hope we never need to use it! 

For those of you wondering about how to debrief with your staff as a means to support them, there are some great resources available here.  For more resources on supporting others in relation to disaster type events, go here

Culture Change in Long Term Care

Culture is a word we hear a lot and goes hand in hand with the concept of culture change.  In this article I’d like to touch on how to facilitate culture change and why it is beneficial to your long term care setting.  Let’s face it, aged residential care in New Zealand is changing rapidly and this impacts the experience of residents, staff and visitors to long term care settings. It impacts their desire to be in your care facility or to move somewhere else. This applies to be both residents and staff.  Families often choose the care provider for their elderly relatives.  What do they perceive when they visit you?

There are also barriers and challenges to creating and sustaining a definable and deliberate culture. The experience of the residents and staff is a result of the culture (behaviours) which should be aligned to your organisation values, mission and goals.  There are well publicised workforce shortages and high turnover of staff. Long term care is also in the middle of change from paper-based systems to electronic storage and management of information. The environment in which care is being provided is also changing through new construction of buildings from a institution to non-institutional. The atmosphere being created by those within the long term aged care residential setting is changing to a more relaxed feel.

Nursing care  and direct support is now also being provided within retirement village studios, apartments, villas, homes.  This means a change of not only the context of care.  Ensuring person centred care where each individual feels seen, heard and respected takes consistent focus and strong leadership.  Not always easy in a industry that is changing in so many ways. I wrote in a previous article on workplace culture that behaviours could be a better point of focus rather than simply focusing conversation on culture as a concept.

The behaviours which support a culture you can be proud of and one that sets you as an industry leader, require a long term focus and not just a one time exercise.  The strong leadership needed along with education and ongoing communication is key to setting a desirable culture.  Have you aligned your staff, management and Governance behaviours with your organisation vision and mission statements?  Behaviours reflect actions and they can be optimal actions, good actions, poor actions or non-action.  All will have an outcome which impacts the residents experience and determine how they feel about residing in your long term aged residential care setting.

For change to occur there needs to be a focus on improvement, a reason to change which residents and their families see as beneficial.  We tend to stick to doing what we’ve always done unless we can see a personal gain or something which provides a sense of satisfaction on a personal level.  What’s in it for me?  Culture change is not something that’s going to be achieved from a top-down approach. It’s going to take engagement from all levels of the organisation and create wins for those involved. Without perceived gains or wins, people stay stuck in old habits which don’t fit the new expectations of those seeking care and support.

If you’re the manager or CEO and delegate a ‘change management’ process to someone else, then expect to check in later to find wonderful results without your direct involvement and engagement, you may be disappointed.  Culture change is a team effort. To achieve change, everyone needs to participate.  They need to believe in the outcomes you’re trying to achieve with whatever strategies or initiatives you put in place.

Who is going to lead change?  There is an old saying that everything flows from the top down and this is also true of culture.  If the Board are dysfunctional then there should be no surprise when staff working at all levels of the organisation are dysfunctional. How is communication about strategies of change being done to gain buy-in? How are you going to measure your change initiatives to find out if you’ve been successful?  How are you going to ensure the desired culture is maintained?  There are a number of tools (mostly overseas based) which can be used to start this process. Here is a free online culture change assessment tool you could use.

What is the experience of your resident and your staff on a daily basis?  Would they recommend you to others in a way to reflects loyalty to your care facility as a preferred place to live or work? If not, what are you going to do about it?

Great audit result

Hi Gillian,

Great  news, we did very well with the audit.

The Lead Auditor tells us she cannot see we have any corrective actions to complete!

Also she acknowledged a CI  from one of the Quality Improvements I completed. She was very impressed with the Quality and risk management systems via your Policies and procedures and says we are using your systems to the max.

Well, where would we be without your Policy and Procedures, they are great to work with – thank you.

kind regards

Rose Kennedy (Dixon House – Greymouth)

Spiritual care and Pastoral Care

As we age, the need for spiritual care and pastoral care often come to the fore.  This is particularly so as people near the end of their life.  The need for comfort and peace of mind on a holistic basis.  Let’s firstly lets define the difference between these two concepts.

Pastoral care is an ancient model of emotional and spiritual support that can be found in all cultures and traditions. It has been described in our modern context as individual and corporate patience in which trained pastoral carers support people in their pain, loss and anxiety, and their triumphs, joys and victories. Spiritual care attends to a person’s spiritual or religious needs as he or she copes with illness, loss, grief or pain and can help him or her heal emotionally as well as physically, rebuild relationships and regain a sense of spiritual wellbeing.

For most of human history, in all major religions, an ultimate goal of spiritual practice was accomplishing a good death. When this goal was held in common by the whole society, spiritual care could focus on the interaction between a dying person and his or her caregivers.

A number of clergy have commented to me that spiritual care is not recognised by many aged care facility staff as important. They have frequently commented on services being interrupted by staff activity, or being asked to hold services or provide pastoral care in areas of the facility that are very close to the main entrance or actually in main thoroughfare areas. This is not respectful of the needs of the residents who choose to attend, or the need to peace and calm to receive spiritual care. In learning more about the importance of these concepts, it may support good holistic care for residents if you were to discuss with the clergy and pastoral care workers whether the circumstances being provided for them to support residents are appropriate.

To read more on this topic go here.

 

Critical thinking – the foundation of good nursing practice

There are lots of ‘trendy’ words in each work environment but one of the most important concepts which appears to be increasingly missing particularly in aged care nursing is that of critical thinking and reflective practice. Critical thinking is the core foundation of good nursing practice.

It is essential to evaluate what is occurring clinically for those in care and regularly reviewing what is being done for each individual resident along with what else needs to be done in order to provide the best care. The skills of critical thinking may not be instinctive for example for those nurses coming from a schooling system which promotes ‘rote’ learning and deters from challenging senior staff.  To question another may be seen in some settings as disrespectful however in the field of clinical care, to challenge and question is essential.  The attributes of those who critically think and reflect on nursing practice and care outcomes use evidence-based practice (EBP) guidelines including current EBP policies and procedures to form decisions.

Some of the skills of critical thinking are more important than others and certainly the ability to reflect while communicating with other members of the team is essential to safe and person centred care.  The nurse who has developed critical thinking skills is able to interpret, understand and explain the meaning of information. This can be event based or data based eg; reading lab result forms. Investigating possible interventions based on the information at hand and analysing which will achieve a desired outcome is also part of reflecting and critically evaluating a clinical scenario.  Assessing the value of information to determine it’s relevance, reliability and credibility in relation to a particular clinical presentation is also necessary.

There are potential barriers to optimising clinical outcomes by clinical staff when a pre-determined bias or fixed mind-set are applied to a set of data or resident clinical presentation. It’s only in the bringing together of information through evaluation, analysis, communicating, referencing EBP guidelines and a growth mind-set that care can be optimised.

Click here to read more on critical thinking.

 

 

Staffing levels – is skill-mix the formula for success?

Last month we reflected on how friendly our nursing workforce is and reflected on a degree of bullying in the workplace. This month we look at the discussion around whether mandated staffing levels in aged care as a ratio of care to residents would improve care services?

Rather than numbers of personnel alone, to provide safe and appropriate nursing services, staffing skill-mix (taking into consideration the workforce diversity, layout of buildings and location of resources) is essential to ensuring appropriate effective staffing. These factors are not taken into account or provided for within the industry funding levels which puts additional pressure on those working in aged care services.

While performing statutory (temporary) management roles over past years, adequate numbers of staffing alone hasn’t guaranteed safe and appropriate care. Nursing outcomes for residents have been reliant on a mix of highly skilled staff working in conjunction with newer or less experienced staff.  There could be 10 staff on duty but if none of them have had previous experience working in aged care services, these staff are set-up to fail in performance of their duties, and the resident care outcomes are likely at risk.

SNZ HB 8163:2005 – ‘Indicators for safe aged-care and dementia-care for consumers‘ is a national document which includes formulas for staffing levels based on acuity of residents. This document sets the industry guidelines and although not mandated, defines staffing from a best practice perspective. Numbers alone as already mentioned is not sufficient.  The 2005 guidelines didn’t take into account the size of the facility in relation to economy of scale and appropriate cover in conjunction with the minimum staffing requirements in the ARRC.  Having been implemented in 2005 when resident needs were less complex than they are in 2018, it’s well past time to review how staffing mix is determined and more importantly how the industry will fund it.

Workplace Culture

Workplace culture is a term bandied around a lot but what does it actually mean and how can it be measured?  When I ask staff at facilities during training sessions what they see their point of difference is, they frequently reply saying ‘we’re friendly’, or ‘we care’ or ‘we provide a homely environment’.  While these are all nice to have, they would actually be expected as a basic standard.  They are not specific and not anything different to the care facility down the road.

Mary Barra, Chairwoman and CEO of General Motors (GM) states that at GM, they prefer to talk about behaviours rather than culture as behaviours can be changed very quickly and are apparent straight away. She talks about the need for rapid change with the inclusion of technology and advancements in artificial intelligence being used more frequently.  While those are starting to be present in some aged residential care settings, what is true of both GM and aged care is rapid change and the need to adapt quickly.  This isn’t going to happen by accident and needs clear direction, guidance, leadership and engagement of all those involved.

Mary Barra also refers to bringing products to market that bring people freedom, rather than talking about cars or transportation. She focuses on the outcome for their clients.   What is the key outcome you’re wanting to provide for those in your environment and how is that defined in your values?  How is it implemented by your staff and how do you measure success on those outcomes?

managers oath as I’ve mentioned before is a good place to start in defining the governance or leadership direction of organisations. Values and key performance indicators (KPIs) or quality objectives / measures need to align to this.To ensure consistent progress regular review of those KPIs or quality measures needs to occur and acted on according to the outcomes.  Policies and procedures to guide consistent best practice are an important part of ensuring clear direction for staff while setting parameters for performance.  Information reduces confusion and promotes change. Practice creates confidence not only in the staff but also in the resident and those observing their care.