Risk Managing Contractors On-site

It’s easy to forget to check contractors staff changes and ensure your risk managing contractors on site is ongoing. Recently I was on site at a care facility when a sub-contractor was working there.  When spoken to, he appeared to speak very limited English. He left empty boxes, a Stanley knife in the main hallway and wet glue and loose carpet at the entrance to a resident’s room. No signage, no clean-up.  I couldn’t help but ask the provider what the contractor knew about health & safety legislation, his responsibilities and risks to residents as a result of his work practices.

The Health and Safety at Work 2015 increased the responsibility on PCBU’s in relation to risk management in the workplace.  When using the services of contractors, there are likely to be overlapping responsibilities. While residents reside in residential care facilities and therefore it’s their home, the legislation defines residential care as a workplace.  As such, contractors coming into your environment must provide evidence of following a health and safety policy and processes which reflects current legislation.

A copy of their document should be kept on file along with verification of contractors (and sub-contractors) orientation to site and confirmation of their acknowledgement of health & safety responsibilities.  These documents are included in the Safe and Appropriate Environment policy manual for services using HCSL in hardcopy and in-the-cloud online. Documents should be re-signed by contractors annually or when changes to the environment occur or a contractors personnel have changed.

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

Testimonial – Home and Community Support Standards audit

Hi Gillian

Just passed our two day audit – NO NON COMPLIANCES; NO PARTIAL COMPLIANCES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  –  thank you so much for your efforts.

The auditor praised your system – said it was a really good system – met all the requirements of the standards, is written in plain language, all the documentation relating to my job ie quality, risk management is outstanding and more than meets the standards and is very well used in the context it should be – thanks!

Lois Lash

Quality Assurance

Ascot House – Tainui Village

Maintaining independence – maximising mobility

When it comes to maintaining functional ability for residents whether in a retirement village setting or in an aged residential care facility, the input for a skilled Physiotherapist is a huge advantage in setting up strengths and balance or falls prevention programmes.

Getting in the support of that type of expertise is certainly going to help residents maximise their potential.  Not all professionals are created equal and physiotherapists are no different to other professionals!  How do you go about choosing a Physiotherapist though and what should you check for when selecting the right person to support physical therapy for your residents.

I asked local well know registered Physiotherapist Jessie Snowdon what she thought on this topic.  Here’s what she recommends:

How to choose a physiotherapist for your aged care facility.

Physiotherapists are a key member of the healthcare team in aged care facilities. Having physiotherapy input can improve quality of life for your residents, improve safety and lessen workloads of your care staff. Many physiotherapists are also able to offer moving and handling training onsite as part of their service.  Physiotherapists who are passionate about aged care are usually very special people – so how can you pick them?

This article is written with contracted physiotherapy services in mind but many aspects will apply to employing a physiotherapist directly.

Ask about their experience

In order to meet the varied needs of residents in aged care, physiotherapists need to have a broad clinical background. I would suggest that your physiotherapist should have experience in most of the following clinical areas.  Because this is a long list you should be seeking a physiotherapist with a minimum of 5 years’ experience – or actively supervised by a more senior colleague.

  • Orthopaedics
  • Neurology
  • Dementia (even if not working in a specific dementia facility)
  • Cardiac respiratory
  • Moving and handling
  • Basic seating and wheelchair assessment
  • Falls prevention
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic Pain
  • Pressure injury prevention

Ask about their professional development

To maintain registration in New Zealand, a physiotherapist must adhere to The Physiotherapy Board Code of Standards which is available to the general public here. They must also have a minimum of 100 hours CPD per 3 years, show evidence of reflective practice and have one professional peer review per 3 years. At On the Go Physio we require a peer review each year and active ongoing engagement with colleagues and professional development.

It is not uncommon for aged care facilities to directly contract a physiotherapist working as a sole trader. This can be an isolating role for a physiotherapist and it is important they regularly engage in professional development and in supervision and peer review.  If you are employing, rather than contracting, a physiotherapist you will need to budget for this as it is reasonable that you meet these costs.

Eight quick questions when choosing a physiotherapist contractor

As well as the right experience and compliance with physiotherapy regulations, contractor physiotherapists are also businesses in their own right (whether a sole trader or employee of a company) and need to operate as such. These are some legal requirements and compliance issues you should consider.

  1. Ask to see and maintain a copy of their Annual Practicing Certificate (APC – a new one will be issued annually and you should have a copy of this prior to 1st April of each year).
  2. Ask for a copy of their professional indemnity and public liability insurance certificates.
  3. Ask to view their (or their employers) health and safety policy.
  4. Ask if they undertake regular supervision or mentoring to help assure their own professional safety.
  5. Ask them to arrange for a colleague to undertake a clinical notes audit within 3 months of starting in the role and annually following this. Ask for a copy. (You may need to negotiate this and if there will be a cost it would not be unreasonable for you to consider paying this).
  6. How will they cover your facility during periods of leave.
  7. Are they a member of Physiotherapy New Zealand – this is not compulsory but demonstrates a dedication to their profession and provides development opportunities.
  8. What moving and handling training experience do they have? Will they be happy to provide training or will you need to contract those services separately.

 This article was kindly contributed to by Jessie Snowdon – Director of On the Go Physio. On the Go Physio provide physiotherapy services to over 20 facilities in Christchurch and Moving and Handling training to many more facilities and the CDHB.

A further article will follow on how to set up a Physiotherapy service in your facility.

Leadership of your team

 

Empathy and perspective are two concepts well known Leadership author Simon Sinek speaks about in relation to leaders. He talks about the real job of a leader as not being in-charge but taking care of those in our charge.  How many leaders play the blame and shame game when things don’t go as planned?  Instead how would it be if leaders in aged care services worked in accordance with a Leader’s Oath.  My version is noted below as an example.

You may want to create your own for your organisation, or adopt this.

The Leader’s Oath

I focus on the betterment of this organisation above my own career needs

I  focus on accountability above the need to be popular

I focus on caring for those in my charge over being in charge

I focus on clarity above certainty

I share clear expectations

I hold myself accountable for all employees poor performance including my own

I welcome respectful challenges

I will table the tough issues

I treat all interactions as though my career depends on a successful outcome

I am committed to personal and professional development

I am focused on excellence.

 

While the above Leadership Oath forms a focus for clinical leadership, it’s necessary to make sure your nurses are familiar with the ARRC funding agreement responsibilities for Registered Nurses. These are also clearly defined in the HCSL policies and procedures to ensure they’re integrated into practice.  The ARRC includes time-frames for nursing documentation responsibilities, while the nursing council guidelines for delegation define staff delegation of staff working under the supervision of Registered Nurses are appropriate led and supported. When we refer to tabling the touch issues, one key aspect of leadership is holding staff accountable.  Nurses are often not keen to hold others responsible for their conduct and performance and therefore avoid performance managing staff when performance is below the expected standard.  This in turn means the service provided will be below the expected standard.  If you want to provide the best care and support to those in your care, these are skills you must learn and put into daily practice. To learn more about these skills and others needed for leading a team of care and support staff, 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.

 

 

Audit Tips for Clinical Documentation

Clinical documentation and clinical management relate to section 1.3.1 to 1.3.8 of the Health and Disability Services Standards and are referred to in section D5.4 of the ARRC.  There are key reference documents which provide reference at residential care facility level which should be used in conjunction and addition to your organisation policies and procedures.  These reference documents include:

 

  • Age Related Residential Care (ARRC) contract
  • NZS 8134:2008 Health and Disability Services Standards
  • Clinical best practice (EBP) guidelines – eg; Lippincott
  • The Code of Health & Disability Consumers Services Rights 1996

 

Clinical documentation errors of any type noted during audits will result in partial attainments at best.  This is an indication there could be risk associated with gaps in service. In a previous article about medication management we noted that even a single signature missing off an administration signing sheet was enough for the auditor to assign a partial attainment finding.

 

Below are some of the common compliance gaps which relate to clinical documentation:

   
General compliance

gaps

Missed signatures off notations.

Not dated.

Not signed by the author with a full signature.

No designation written with signature.

Not legible.

Inconsistent structure of resident files.

Unclear or unsecured archiving of documents.

Privacy breaches due to clinical documents placed in a situation that allowed unauthorized viewing.

Initial assessments

including InterRai

Not completed within time-frames defined in ARRC.

Baseline recordings at time of admission not recorded.

Assessment outcomes not used as a basis of care planning to link assessment to goals and interventions.

Additional detailed assessments not reviewed in a timely manner eg; six monthly to coincide with InterRai reassessments.

Failure to re-assess for each period of admission eg; respite care.

Clinical risk

Assessment not describing risk.

Risk not reflected in care plan interventions.

Lack of risk reviews.

Level of risk noted in interRai assessments not included in care planning

Progress notes

Not recorded in on a shift by shift basis.

Lack evidence of regular registered nurse input.

Writing beyond the bottom line of the page.

Failure to put resident identifiers on each side of each page (this applies to other clinical documents as well).

Lack evidence of interventions being implemented.

Lack evidence of RN response to clinical symptoms reported by care staff.

Lack of evidence of rationale for PRN medication administration or the resulting effect.

Short Term

Care Plans

Not developed for changes in clinical status eg; increased pain; infection; wounds, change in medication (to allow evaluation of effectiveness).

24 hours plans not developed for residents displaying behaviours of concern (challenging behaviours).

Not evaluated regularly (I suggested at least once every 7 days) by a Registered Nurse.

Not recorded as resolved or transferred to Long Term Care Plan.

Not developed to implement instructions included in General Pracitioner consultation plans recorded in notes.

Long Term

Care Plan (LTCP)

Not reflective of all presenting potential and actual medical / clinical problems.

Not documented within 3 weeks of the date of admission (ARRC requirement).

Not changed at the time of health status / functional change.

Interventions not reflective of each medical diagnosis.

Interventions not changed within LTCP to reflect changes recorded in care plan evaluations.

Frequency of clinical assessment for each actual clinical presentation eg; pain.

Do not clearly indicate the level of function, assistance required for each component of care / support.

Do not clearly evidence input and instruction from Medical or Nurse practitioner / Physiotherapist, Diversional Therapist, Dietitian,Psychiatric services             for the elderly etc.

Care Plan

Evaluations

Review of care plans not reflecting changes in residents health status as they occur.

Not reflective of how well the care plan goals/ objectives have been met since the previous evaluation.

Not completed within ARRC defined time-frames (at least six monthly).

Multi-Disciplinary

Input

Lack evidence of MDT input into care plan reviews and/or evaluations.

Lack evidence of resident, Next of Kin (NOK) / Family / Whanau / EPOA input into assessment and care planning.

Lack of evidence of timely referral in response to clinical presentation eg; unintentional weight loss not referred to Dietitian.

Failure to evidence implementing instructions ofMedical or Nurse Practitioner eg; B/P to be recorded daily for the next 7/7 may be noted in the medical           consultation notes however not evidenced as having been done.

Lack evidence of notification to NOK / EPOA relating to resident adverse events, change in health status, medical consults etc.

Policy and

procedures

Not consistent with service delivery as noted in clinical documentation.

 

Internal audits are available through the online HCSL quality system utilised by our clients which allows tracking of compliance status and corrective actions as part of on-site quality and risk management. This means when the auditors arrive, there will be no surprises and you’ll know you’ve achieved excellence in care in conjunction with providing a compliant service.

If you have any comments to make about this article, please contact us here.

 

Understanding the Change Process

When undertaking a change management process in care facilities, I’ve identified 5 distinct phases of reaction from managers and staff.  These have often occurred after I’ve been appointed to perform the role of statutory (temporary) manager by a DHB. This is generally after risk to residents has been identified following an audit or a serious complaint.

As a temporary manager, often there is a facility manager in place however for a range of reasons doesn’t have the resources or knowledge to meet the needs of the residents to a standard that satisfies audit outcomes.

Phase 1 is on first arriving and there is relief on the part of the staff and manager (if there is one) on the basis they have the view that I’m there to ‘save the day’, make things right and then they can get on with running things.  Comments such as “you should have been called in a long time ago” are common.

Phase 2 is where the staff and in place management start to realise that I’m not going to do all the work for them and my role is that of mentor and coach. Further to that the role includes assistance with obtaining necessary resources to support clinical and operational practices. This is where push-back and resistance starts to show as people resist change and try to hold stead-fast to those practices that have got them to the point they’re at.  As pressure increases for change to occur, resistance increases and at times sabotage of the new way of doing things starts to appear.  As one provider put it recently “they’re ever so nice to your face and will stab you in the back”. The denial phase plays out and the anger phase starts.

Phase 3 is a time when divisions start between those who want to embrace change knowing it’s intended to improve and make the workplace safer for staff and more so, safer for residents; and those who don’t have insight to recognise the need for change.  The need for people to remain in their comfort circle doing what’s known and predictable is incredibly strong for a large number of people. This slows momentum and the temporary manager starts to get the blame for things being wrong.  Such comments as ‘it was all fine before the DHB stepped in, they just need to back off and let us get on with it’ are also commonplace in this phase. Sometimes senior staff at the facility will contact their DHB and say the temporary manager is unreasonable, not doing anything and needs to be removed. All as an attempt to get rid of the person they see as pushing them outside their comfort circle and affecting maintaining of the status quot. The bargaining phase can continue for quite some time but this often depends on how direct and steadfast the response is to the bargaining strategies.

Phase 4 occurs when there is the start of the depression phase and realising that solid work, participation by all and a willingness to take on new ideas and learn new ways of doing things needs to occur. The real work has started by the willing few in the early phase and continues and now the collective change can start to be evident.

Phase 5 is acceptance that the temporary management or change management process was necessary. Staff start to commend the new way and embrace new ideas recognising that things are actually better now than they’ve been before.  As people always have choice about coming on board with change or leaving, invariably there are some staff and sometimes managers or even members of Governance who continue to resist seeing a new way is needed and those few will leave the organisation or continue to resist.

I’m able to observe which phase an organisation is operating in by the response of those working there and was intrigued to read of exactly this same set of steps in a book titled ‘Expert Secrets’ written by Russell Brunson. Some of you who are familiar with the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross will also recognise these phases as reflecting her stages of grief.

Acceptance is hard as people take the need for change as a criticism when in my view, people don’t fail; systems do!!

Clinical online tools for Aged Residential Care

HCSL are pleased to announce that from January 2018, you will be able to access clinical online tools for:

  • Initial assessment and initial care plan.
  • Short term care plans (and evaluations)
  • Long term care planning (and evaluations)
  • Progress notes
  • Restraint/ Enabler restraint management (and evaluations)

All mobile device compatible so you can be with your residents rather than stuck in the office!

HCSL bringing cost effective, specifically designed tools for the New Zealand residential care sector.  The Corporates have their tools, why shouldn’t you have the same advantage?!

 

To find out more and get a no obligation free quote for use contact us here.

 

Testimonial from Tainui Village – New Plymouth

Upon reading one policy everything fell neatly into place. I found her documentation to be outstanding.  It is very reassuring to know that every policy and procedure is the most up to date and designed to meet audit requirements.  All her forms are easily accessible and very user friendly.   We can instantly benchmark against others.  At the click of a button we can analyse falls, infections and adverse events.   Creating graphs and other information for Board reports takes minutes rather than hours.

Having come from a background of many years in QA, HSE and Electronic Document Management in the Oil and Gas Industry, when I entered the aged care sector, it was a huge “eye opener”.  After sitting through several handovers and meetings and listening to discussions on medications etc I felt as if I was listening to a foreign language.  Oh my goodness I thought and then Gillian’s documentation arrived together with a visit from her shortly after.

Gillian’s enthusiasm and commitment for both the aged care sector and her documentation is contagious.  I feel I can now discuss, with the knowledge I have acquired in a few short months, aspects of aged care I never knew existed.  Gillian is only a phone call or email away and all queries are always answered promptly, no matter how minor.

 

Thank you very much Gillian.

Lois Lash – Quality Assurance

Tainui Village –  October 2017