Helping nursing homes retain staff and improve quality care
Ohio chosen to participate in pilot project
The Critical Access Nursing Home Project, sponsored by the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes Campaign, is working to improve care in selected nursing homes and to develop a model of nursing home improvement that can be used across the country. Not having high quality nursing homes close to where people live complicates discharges from local hospitals and forces people who need care to go to more distant nursing homes, far from family and friends.
Critical Access Nursing Homes (CANHs) are in inner-city neighborhoods and serve largely minority communities of people with generally low socio-economic status. These facilities typically have low occupancy, poor state inspection history and low ratings on staffing and quality measures. They are "critical" because the community depends on these nursing homes to provide post-acute and long-term care services.
The project will develop a model to improve care for residents, while improving the lives of nursing home staff, residents and families. Before homes can make improvements in quality of care, they must stanch high annual employee turnover. National experts on nursing home staffing will teach homes how to retain employees and improve morale. Program participants focus on consistent assignment, a practice to schedule the same employees to regularly care for the same residents, as well as other elements of improved quality of care.
Four nursing homes in the Cleveland area qualify as critical access nursing homes and were willing to participate in the pilot project, which started in October 2010. The facilities have committed to join the Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes campaign. The Local Area Network for Excellence (LANE) hosted four workshops for these facilities. The workshops featured nationally recognized consultants on nursing home quality improvement. More are planned for the remainder of the year-long project. The Ohio Department of Health's Technical Assistance Program offered the facilities educational opportunities focusing on nursing leadership and other staff development topics.
LANE is made up of representatives from the Office of the State Long-term Care Ombudsman, the Ohio Department of Health, provider associations, Ohio KePRO and other industry stakeholders. Ohio is one of four states, along with Georgia, Illinois and Indiana, chosen for this pilot project.
By the end of the yearlong project, the project will collect data, such as improved resident outcomes and less staff turnover. In addition, resident satisfaction will be measured by the 2011 Resident Satisfaction survey. An outgrowth of the project will be a LANE equipped to assist more nursing homes with evidence-based tools.
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