The #1 Challenge for Long-Term Care: Adequate Staffing

 
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For residents living in long-term care facilities, staffing levels dictate their quality of care. Unfortunately, last year’s Kaiser Health News and New York Times investigation found some startling data.

Nearly 1,400 nursing homes either reported having fewer registered nurses on duty than Medicare’s minimum staffing requirements or failed to provide reliable staffing information to the government. According to the national average, there is 1 nurse for every 18 residents—during a home’s best-staffed days. Weekend staffing is even more sparse, with 11% fewer nurses providing direct care and 8% fewer aides.

Since then, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced steps to strengthen oversight of nursing homes. Some states are leading the charge for getting in line with increasing the quality of care.

Connecticut

A bill passed by the Senate would require nursing homes to “calculate and post, at the beginning of each shift, the number of advanced practice registered nurses, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nurse’s aides responsible for providing direct care to residents during the shift.”

Pending house approval, the bill would require nursing homes to retain such information for at least 18 months after it is posted. This bolsters the need for not just compliant staffing levels, but also for the easy traceability of (very robust) employee information. Accurate schedules need to be in a centralized location so they can be readily available when the Public Health Department asks for them.

Illinois

Meanwhile, June 2019 saw increased legislation for Illinois nursing homes. Facilities will face significant fines if they fail to meet the already outlined minimum staffing requirements. Loved ones will have more transparency so they can more easily learn about indiscretions.

This is in direct response to an investigation by Kaiser Health News and the Chicago Tribune, which ultimately found that “staffing levels for nurses and aides in Illinois nursing homes were among the lowest in the country.” Despite Illinois requiring at least 2.5 hours of direct care daily for residents, over 25% of Chicago-area nursing home residents received that much care.

Preparing for Audits on Minimum Staffing Requirements

Proper staffing can only be achieved with proper scheduling.

A holistic scheduling process should include (1) employee certification tracking and management, (2) a vacancy-filling procedure for short and long-term leave, and (3) facility-wide transparency on occurrences like shift swaps and other real-time changes.

Consider all the real-time disruptions to the schedule that occur day-to-day at any LTC facility; aides get sick, doctors need to find replacements due to an emergency at a different hospital, and there is an excessive turnover of skilled nurses. Now combine that with the growing need to comply with your state’s minimum staffing requirements… and the need to provide any and all real-time schedules to the Public Health Department during an audit.

To put it simply, you can’t stay compliant if you’re creating schedules on paper or spreadsheets. You need an automated, cloud-based scheduling solution to not only deal with unexpected changes, but to also keep all scheduling and employee data centralized.

The Indeavor Solution

We can help you staff to match bed levels. Through pre-determined metrics like need, employee data (e.g. certifications and hours worked), and historical demand trends, you can automatically generate a schedule in minutes that will exceed the quality of care that your residents deserve.

Learn more or request a demo here.

Indeavor’s solution offers clients an end-to-end, cloud-based employee scheduling, time & attendance, and absence management system. By integrating with your human capital management and enterprise resource planning systems, you can leverage a robust platform that provides you with real-time employee data.