Participates in Exciting Pilot Program
The Longview Assisted Living Residence at Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) in Wyckoff, was recently selected to participate in a pilot study of the Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT), which is a quality-improvement program that focuses on the management of acute changes in residents’ condition. It includes clinical and educational tools and strategies for use caring for residents and patients in long-term care and community-based facilities. The purpose of the program is to improve the early identification of changes in the health status of residents, and therefore, improving care and reduce the frequency of potentially avoidable transfers to the acute care setting and reduce the number of admissions/readmissions to acute care hospitals.
Hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country are working diligently to reduce readmission rates and the steep penalties imposed by the Affordable Care Act. A team of nurse and physician researchers at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton saw the opportunity to do this research project in the assisted-living setting. Funding was provided from a research grant through the Common Wealth Fund and the Centers for
Medicare and Medicaid Services. Longview participated in this four month pilot which began on November 1, 2013, and ran through March, 2014. Staff participated in webinars and conference calls with the research group and provided feedback about what tools and strategies are working, and where there may be room for improvement. Participation is voluntary, but Longview staff was eager to participate since reducing acute-care transfers supports Longview’s goal to enable residents to age in place.
“Longview is home to our senior residents, and therefore, it is important to them and to us that we do all that we can to prevent hospitalizations and help residents to remain in their home whenever it is feasible to do so,” emphasized Pamela Rooney, MA, CALA, CTRS, The Longview Assisted Living Residence Administrator.
“Healthcare is always changing and evolving,” said Elisabeth Micich Otero, RN-BCCC, MSN, Quality Manager and Clinical Educator and a pivotal member of the pilot team. “We are trying to modify, what used to be a fairly routine process: Send the patient or resident to the Emergency Department to be evaluated for a change in condition. This former practice has now evolved into a new way of looking at the situation. We are now examining each situation more carefully to determine if there is anything we can do to help keep the resident in a familiar and consistent environment.”
The study focuses on the following conditions which are often the cause for readmissions to acute-care hospitals: Acute mental status change, changes in behavior, dehydration, fever, gastrointestinal symptoms, shortness of breath, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, and lower respiratory system.
“The nursing team and all of our ancillary staff, from food services, reception, activities, and environmental services all participated in this program. Our focus is on assisting residents to remain in their home while we provide care that supports or enhances their physical health status,” said Ellen DeBel, RN, Director of Health Services.
“This program helped us learn how to better discover opportunities to identify potential changes in conditions early, and utilize resources to enhance care outcomes,” said Ms. Micich Otero. “Having residents readmitted also disrupts the residents and their families, both physically and mentally. Our goal is to change the way we think and engage the entire interdisciplinary team in the progress.”