Why Skilled Nursing Facilities Love IntelyCare’s Book Me Feature

Why Skilled Nursing Facilities Love IntelyCare’s Book Me Feature

Finding the right nursing professional for your skilled nursing facility’s shifts can be tough. So, when you connect with a nursing professional who shows up to work your per-diem shift and they are the perfect fit, it’s only natural to want to bring them back next time you need to fill a shift.

Well, lucky for you, IntelyCare’s got your back.

With our super simple Book Me feature, you can hand pick those nursing professionals you wish to continue staffing from our network of IntelyPros!

What is Book Me?

Our Book Me feature gives you the flexibility to choose who will staff your needs making it easier than ever to control the credentials and quality of care you want in your per-diem workers.

It’s so important to have a positive and happy work environment, especially given the stressful nature of nursing. So, if you and your staff love working with one of our IntelyPros and you have an ongoing staffing need, Book Me allows you to book them for multiple shifts at a time. Who knows – you may like the IntelyPro so much you might decide to hire them!

Why Schedulers and Directors of Nursing use Book Me:

  • Consistency: When you book a preferred IntelyPro through our Book Me feature, you provide consistency to your patients and your staff. Book Me also provides the opportunity to build relationships between your staff and patients, which we know is integral to quality care; a 2017 study by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices found that patients believe that positive patient-provider relationships is the key element of quality healthcare.
  • Confidence: Feel confident that you have the right person on the floor. Hand-pick your favorite IntelyPros who meet the exact credentials and experience your facility needs.
  • Comfort: Rest Easy. Book Me lets you book your IntelyPros in advance, so you can ditch the worrying about whether your shift will get filled or not.

Whether it’s in response to the nurse staffing shortage, to cover for your staff on vacation, or to fill the gaps in between hires, Book Me is the perfect tool to augment your nursing staff.

Want to learn more about the Book Me feature? Download our infographic here.

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare Celebrates National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

IntelyCare Celebrates National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

Happy National Skilled Nursing Care Week!

National Skilled Nursing Care Week is sponsored by the American Health Care Association (AHCA) to recognize the challenging, important work that every team member of a skilled nursing facility does day in and day out.

This year’s National Skilled Nursing Care Week (NSNCW) theme is “Live Soulfully” – this week, we celebrate how skilled nursing facilities like yours help our most vulnerable populations continue to live happy, healthy lives. Your residents’ lives don’t simply move on to the next chapter once they come to your facility – they flourish. You ensure that they continue to live soulfully through activities like gardening, cooking and eating good food, singing to music, encouraging them to express themselves through art, reading and discussing good books, but among all that, you make sure they feel cared for, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

All week long, many of you have told us about the awesome ways you have chosen to celebrate your residents and staff – and we’re so happy to hear you have been embracing the theme of living well. As National Skilled Nursing Week comes to a close, we want to make sure we share a heartfelt thank you to you for all you do.

Thank you to the schedulers for juggling schedules to keep your shifts safely staffed.

Thank you to administrators for balancing everything from patient care to food vendor decisions.

Thank you to directors of nursing for ensuring safe, diligent, above and beyond patient care.

Thank you to the secretaries who greet every visitor with a smile.

Thank you to the accountants for balancing the books.

Thank you to the maintenance employees, custodians, and groundskeepers that keep the lights working, halls clean, and lawns trimmed.

Thank you to the activity coordinators for sparking joy and keeping spirits high.

Thank you to physical and occupational therapists that help residents gain back their independence.

Thank you to food service workers that keeps plates and stomachs full, and the dieticians that keep residents eating well.

And thank you to volunteers for giving up your free hours to make a difference.

No matter your role, your impact is a substantial one.

Thank you for making sure that our senior and disabled communities continue to live enjoyable and meaningful lives. We know the job you do is one of the hardest out there and can sometimes feel like a thankless endeavor. We want you to know that your dedication to your residents and your staff does not go unnoticed; we hear it in your voices on every call, and we see it first hand on every visit. While you take time this week to acknowledge your staff and your residents, make sure to take some time to celebrate yourself, too.

Thanks for all you do!

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

CMS’s new staffing standards are now in effect. What your facilities need to know.

CMS’s new staffing standards are now in effect. What your facilities need to know.

Last month, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced stricter standards for nursing home ratings, which includes smaller windows for staffing penalties and new ratings for short-term and long-term stays.

What you need to know

CMS will get tougher on all three metrics that inform star ratings; survey, quality, and staffing.

However, staffing ratios, in particular, seem to be at the heart of the CMS rating overhaul; starting this week, CMS will automatically hand out one-star staffing ratings to buildings that have four or more days in a quarter with no registered nurse on site, down from the current seven-day standard.

This is likely in response to the New York Times’ investigation this past summer that exposed skilled nursing facilities for inaccurate reporting of nurse coverage in their buildings.

What’s happened so far

Recent changes have made it more difficult to achieve above average ratings.

The American Health Care Association noted that 36% of skilled nursing facilities have already experienced a drop in their overall star ratings since the plan took effect last Wednesday. 33% of those facilities lost at least one star based on their staffing standards. (For comparison, only about 15% of facilities actually earned a star as a result of the changes.)

What does this mean for my facility?

Ultimately, this initiative will make it harder for your facility to earn an above average rating. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it just means that CMS is more serious than ever about making sure skilled nursing facilities operate to provide the highest level of quality care and that conditions are safe for both patient and caregiver.

With that said, your rating is still important, and you surely want to make sure it doesn’t drop.

So what can you do to maintain (or even improve) your rating?

In the words of CMS, staffing ratios aren’t a bad place to start if facilities are looking to improve quality. “Nurse staffing has the greatest impact on the quality of care nursing homes deliver, which is why CMS analyzed the relationship between staffing levels and outcomes,” the agency said in the statement that announced the new rules for the Five-Star Quality Rating System. “CMS found that as staffing levels increase, quality increases.”

Improving your staffing is no easy task, but luckily, you have a resource in us. If you’d like to have a conversation about how we can best suit your needs in light of these changes, let us know. We are here to help; we’d love to help tailor our services to meet your staffing needs.

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

IntelyCare was created by nurses, for nurses. We’re here to take care of those who take care of everyone else; our staffing solution gives nurses the opportunity for a better, more flexible schedule to help reduce nurse stress. Apply today to join the future of nursing.

Meet IntelyCare’s Administrator of the Year – Jackie McKenna!

Meet IntelyCare’s Administrator of the Year – Jackie McKenna!

As the premier workforce management solution for post-acute healthcare, IntelyCare has the unique opportunity to partner with long-term care administrators. Administrators work tirelessly to ensure that their staff, internal and IntelyPros alike, provides the highest level of quality care to a vulnerable population.

Earlier this month we celebrated National Long Term Care Administrator’s Week, which honors the Administrators who lead our nation’s long-term care communities, by awarding IntelyCare’s very first Administrator of the Year Award to Jackie McKenna of Pocopson Home in Chester County, PA.

Throughout the past year, Jackie and her team have consistently been ranked as one of the best facilities in the area to work for by our IntelyPros. And this team is no stranger to recognition. In early January, Jackie and the Pocopson Home team were recognized for their quality of care by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services with five stars – the highest rating possible.

Pocopson Home is a perfect example of an all-star partnership between IntelyCare and our facilities. On our end, we play an important role in filling some of Pocopson Home’s high priority, last-minute shifts with our IntelyPros, and in turn, we know we are sending IntelyPros to a first-rate facility.

The American College of Health Care Administrators, the sponsors of National Long Term Care Administrator’s Week, issued a statement articulating how important it is to acknowledge that the role of the long-term care administrator entails so much more than just managing staff. “Administrators are key players in the care team and are entrusted with the responsibility of managing the care of our loved ones. They touch the lives of residents and families, and most importantly, to become an Administrator takes commitment and dedication.”

Administrators like Jackie McKenna not only care deeply about juggling the many duties involved in running a long-term care facility and meeting the medical needs of its residents; they also strive to build a community that makes residents feel at home. We are ecstatic to honor Jackie with this well-deserved award and to acknowledge the diligent dedication of our many Administrators!

 

Does your facility need help with your staffing needs? Request a demo with a member of our sales team for a walk-through of our intelligent solution.

Want to choose your own schedule, earn weekly, and work with amazing facilities like Pocopson Home? IntelyCare provides you with the flexibility to choose when and where you work. Apply today to get started!

Decreasing Falls in Nursing Home Patients

According to The Joint Commission, hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals and Nursing Homes each year. Many patients in long-term care are there in the first place because of injuries sustained in a fall or because they have fallen repeatedly. Falls are one of the major reasons for patient’s to be re-admitted back to an acute care facility, which ultimately will have a significant negative effect on reimbursements for long-term care facilities starting in 2019. Decreasing falls in the elderly patient population requires a well-defined strategy, training and consistent use of basic safety techniques.

The Cost of Patient Falls

Individuals who suffer a fall may suffer serious injury, such as a fractured hip or wrist or a head injury. Lacerations can occur if the patient comes in contact with the edge of a bed or knocks a glass flower vase to the floor. Skin shearing may occur due to the fragility of an elderly patient’s epidermis. The Joint Commission notes that one study found a fall with an injury increased in-patient facility length of stay by an average of 6.3 days. Further, the average cost of a fall in which an injury is incurred is $14,000. The American Health Lawyers Association reports that recent settlements for injuries incurred by long term care patients ranged from $205,000 to $620,000. In addition, there is the cost to the patient in terms of pain and disability, the stress on the family, and the guilt and remorse suffered by the nurses responsible for safeguarding the patient.

Elderly Patients Are at Higher Risk

The elderly are more at risk of falls. They are more likely to have balance problems or need assistive devices to walk around. Muscle strength, flexibility and coordination may be problematic for an elderly person. Elderly people are statistically more likely to be on multiple medications, which may have such side effects as lower blood pressure or dizziness. Diuretics may mean an increased frequency of bathroom visits and some medications can cause diarrhea. In the acute care hospital, the elderly are more susceptible to confusion, whether from medications such as narcotics or from being in unfamiliar surroundings. In long-term care facilities, it is often the elderly patient who can no longer live independently – whether from physical disability or mental impairments such as dementia – who needs long-term care in the first place.

Best Practices for Reducing Falls

In 2009, the National Guidelines Clearinghouse published a number of best practice recommendations for fall prevention in long term care. These include:

  • Develop a specific program aimed at reducing falls. This should take into account the patient population, the environment of the long term care facility, and the numbers, skills and experience of the caregivers. If your facility does not have such a program, volunteer to start one.
  • Assess fall risks on admission and after a fall. If a patient does fall, determine the most likely reason for the fall to have occurred. Make changes to prevent a fall from happening again.
  • Develop exercise programs for long term care patients, particularly strength training. Tai chi can also help with balance and coordination problems.
  • Conduct medication reviews – patients who are taking certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or multiple medications should be considered at high risk for falls.
  • Educate patients who are at increased risk and who are mentally competent. This can include safe transfer techniques, basic fall prevention such as not getting up abruptly from a sitting position or the use of assistive devices.
  • Conduct regular environmental assessments and modification – reduce clutter, ensure lighting is adequate and clean up spills promptly.

The Top Two

Of all the possible strategies a nurse can use to prevent patient falls, the top two are probably a careful and thorough patient assessment at regular intervals and the consistent use of basic safety techniques. The first helps ensure that patients who are developing balance problems, worsening dementia, medication side effects or confusion from hypoxia will be identified as early as possible. Each time you walk down the hall, make it a practice to glance in the patient rooms on each side. You will be surprised how much information you can glean in a three-second snapshot. Always practice the basics: put up side rails, lower the bed, engage wheel locks and make sure patients can reach call lights, water or other items on the bedside table. Use bed alarms and use them at a short interval, such as two or three seconds.

Protecting elderly patients from falls in long-term care requires unceasing vigilance on the part of nurses and CNAs. Reducing falls can prevent a readmission to an acute care hospital or an extension of what was planned to be a temporary stay in long term care. Regular training on fall prevention and always practicing what you learned in a training will help keep your patients safe.

Sources

http://rnao.ca/sites/rnao-ca/files/Falls_Prevention_-_Building_the_Foundations_for_Patient_Safety._A_Self_Learning_Package.pdf
https://www.managedhealthcareconnect.com/article/strategies-for-reducing-falls-long-term-care
https://scholarworks.bellarmine.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1008&context=tdc
https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/quality/5-proven-strategies-to-prevent-patient-falls.html
https://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/hospital/fallpxtoolkit/index.html
http://rn-journal.com/journal-of-nursing/preventing-falls-in-the-elderly-long-term-care-facilities

Chris Caulfield (RN, NP-C), is the Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer of Intelycare which the fastest growing Per-Diem Nurse Staffing organization in the US.

Prior to founding IntelyCare, Chris’ past Healthcare experience includes Long Term Care Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Labor Relations, Case Management, and a Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner.

Why Taking Breaks Is So Important For Nurses

The Problem with Taking Breaks

Nursing is a giving profession and we nurses tend to give a lot, but not all of that giving is by choice. In a conventional job, taking breaks is part of a normal shift. With nurses, there are patients who must receive care. However, providing that care is not always black and white. Patient safety is the top concern and that is sometimes difficult to pull off when so many cogs affect how the wheel turns. For example, a Long Term Care nurse might have twenty patients and two are about to be sent out to appointments, while at the same time you’re expecting two incoming admissions. Not knowing when these patients will arrive makes giving nurses breaks less predictable. Outside factors can make it impossible to stick to a routine schedule that is commonplace in many other industries. When nurses do not receive breaks they become fatigued and that leads to a decrease in patient safety.

There are many studies across many industries that point to the dangers of fatigue on the job. Long-haul truck drivers are a perfect example. If they are too tired to drive they not only risk their own lives but those of other drivers on a road. It is the same with nurses, though the mechanism of injury is different and the outcome varies. A wrong med here, loss of compassion there, lack of infection control, critical medications are given late… the list of possibilities is unfortunately endless. The results show up in data such as increased re-admissions, job turn over, elevated frequencies of call-ins, poor inter-professional relationships, etc.

It seems so easy to fix – just allow nurses to take breaks and eat lunch. Simple, right? The problem is that nursing is not that “cut and dry.” Nursing comes with a high degree of unpredictability and requires around-the-clock constant care. Many times, that care does not fit neatly into a timetable or regimen. Patients always come first. That said, there are definitely ways to manage nurses’ fatigue and even improve your overall quality of care. So, what can be done?

The Road to Caring with Exhaustion

One solution is to ensure your facility is set up with a reliable On-Demand per-diem staffing partner in order to give your internal nurses their own break and reduce the mandatory overtime that’s become commonplace among inpatient health-care facilities. The statistics show that tired nurses have a negative impact on the care they provide, but rarely do we look at their financial impact at their facilities. Tired nurses make mistakes that lead to lawsuits, workers compensation claims, hiring expenses, training, recruitment, etc. Too many patient injuries or too many re-admissions can cause hospitals to lose the faith to discharge their patients back to these LTC facilities. Ensuring that nurses take breaks is important and worth the investment, especially if it leads to decreased readmission frequencies.

Another important fix is to educate nurses so that they understand the impact of caring for themselves at home. There are additional studies that point to the lack of sleep as part of the honest of fatigue. Educating people on how to relax at home and at work is important. Finally, building and maintaining your own internal per-diem pool, as well as a trusted outside per-diem nursing partner who specializes in last minute fill ins, can be very effective tools to help cover short-staff issues. Focusing on these issues will help your facility to improve improve patient care, decrease readmission frequencies, and improve the relationship between nurses as well as the hospital and its community, all while saving you more money in the long run.

Keep your nurses fresh. Well rested nurses do their best work. It takes a lot of energy to care for other people, but we can’t forget to care for ourselves, too.

Deeper Reading and Sources

[1] Association of Sleep and Fatigue With Decision Regret Among Critical Care Nurses 

[2] The Effects of Fatigue and Sleepiness on Nurse Performance and Patient Safety

Chris Caulfield (RN, NP-C), is the Co-founder and Chief Nursing Officer of Intelycare which the fastest growing Per-Diem Nurse Staffing organization in the US.

Prior to founding IntelyCare, Chris’ past Healthcare experience includes Long Term Care Nursing, Nursing Informatics, Labor Relations, Case Management, and a Urgent Care Nurse Practitioner.