You Are Here:Home/Resources/DNS Navigator/DNS Navigator Details
Editor’s note: This is the first article in a multipart series about advance care planning and how to operationalize an effective program in nursing homes.
The surveyor guidance under F578 (Request/Refuse/Discontinue Treatment; Formulate Advance Directives) in Appendix PP of the State Operations Manual defines and discusses advance care planning as follows:
“Advance care planning” is a process of communication between individuals and their healthcare agents to understand, reflect on, discuss, and plan for future healthcare decisions for a time when individuals are not able to make their own healthcare decisions. …
The ability of a dying person to control decisions about medical care and daily routines has been identified as one of the key elements of quality care at the end of life. The process of advance care planning is ongoing and affords the resident, family, and others on the resident’s interdisciplinary health care team an opportunity to reassess the resident’s goals and wishes as the resident’s medical condition changes. Advance care planning is an integral aspect of the facility’s comprehensive care planning process and assures re-evaluation of the resident’s desires on a routine basis and when there is a significant change in the resident’s condition. The process can help the resident, family and interdisciplinary team prepare for the time when a resident becomes unable to make decisions or is actively dying.
But what exactly does that mean? “The commonly used definition of advance care planning is that it is a process to support a person in understanding and ensuring their values, goals, and preferences regarding future medical care,” says Shigeko (Seiko) Izumi, PhD, RN, FPCN, associate professor in the School of Nursing at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR; presenter of the April 22 webinar “COVID Conversations: Team Approach To Assisting Patients With Advance Care Planning” from the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California; and co-author of “A Model to Promote Clinicians' Understanding of the Continuum of Advance Care Planning” in the Journal of Palliative Medicine (2017; 20(3):220-22).
“It’s very important to know the resident’s values, goals, and preferences of future care and then to share that information with families and other healthcare providers so they understand what kinds of care the resident wants when that resident is unable to make their own decisions or cannot express their wishes,” she explains.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) makes clear that nursing homes should have a sexual expression/intimacy program that supports sexually intimate relationships when possible. Specifically, F607 (Develop/Implement Abuse/Neglect, etc. Policies) in Appendix PP of the State Operations Manual states:
The facility must have and implement written policies and procedures to prevent and prohibit all types of abuse, neglect, misappropriation of resident property, and exploitation that achieves (but is not limited to):
Here are critical steps for establishing a viable sexual expression/intimacy program for residents:
Effective this November 28, trauma-informed care will take center stage in the survey process for nursing facilities (NFs) and skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) completes the final stage of rolling out the revised requirements for participation in Medicaid and Medicare. CMS will implement new trauma-informed care regulations under F699 (trauma-informed care), which is a quality-of-care F-tag; F659 (comprehensive care plans/qualified persons); F741 (sufficient/competent staff‐behavioral health needs); and F949 (behavioral health training).
These new or revised F-tags will come on top of two already implemented tags that address trauma—F742 (treatment/service for mental/psychosocial concerns) and F743 (no pattern of behavioral difficulties unless unavoidable)—giving surveyors a full suite of trauma-informed care tags to guide their investigations. Note: Read the Code of Federal Regulations citations that underpin the trauma-informed care requirements for each F-tag at the end of this article.
Many directors of nursing services (DNSs) have a hands-off approach when it comes to fee-for-service Medicare Part A and the MDS process, says Suzy Harvey, RN-BC, RAC-CT, managing consultant at BKD in Springfield, MO. “DNSs attend morning meetings and sometimes attend Medicare meetings, but they don’t really get involved because they count on their MDS staff to handle those processes.”
That approach works for the RUG-IV case-mix classification system, but when the Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) switches to the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) on Oct. 1, rehabilitation therapy will no longer drive Part A skilled care, says Harvey. “With PDPM focused on patient characteristics and skilled nursing services instead of therapy volume, nursing will become key to facility success in this new system, and as the supervisor of the nursing staff, the DNS will need to help lead the way.”
It’s important to note that working on PDPM isn’t just another task to add to the DNS’s plate, adds Harvey. “Getting paid appropriately is the focus of PDPM, but it ties back into quality of care. Much of what you will need to work on for PDPM will also benefit you on survey and your quality measures as well.”
Here are seven key steps a DNS can take to get out in front of PDPM:
During the holidays, SNF staff across the country welcome an increased number of visitors with special treats to share with loved ones. While extra visitors and sweet treats add to the spirit of the facility at holiday times, they can also pose safety risks to residents. (Consider a yummy pumpkin roll with cream cheese frosting, left at room temperature for 48 hours in a resident’s room.) If you haven’t already done so, now is a good time to shore up your facility’s visitor food policy implementation. Here’s how:
Nurses are critical to the health and well-being of residents in long-term care, overseeing all aspects of care, including residents’ physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellness. Although members of the interdisciplinary team (IDT) assist with their respective disciplines, the nurse is ultimately the one with 24/7 oversight of resident care. Nurses are the eyes and ears of the physician in the long-term care setting and serve as advocates for the residents during the drug regimen review (DRR).
Since the most recently updated CMS guidelines regarding DRR which includes medication reconciliation in the skilled nursing facility were released, facilities have struggled to understand the rules. One of the significant drivers behind these new regulations is the increased rate of medication-related adverse drug events (ADEs). One critical item, however, is still missing from the updated requirements—the resident perspective on medications. The CMS guidelines address DRR and identify the medications that must be reviewed, the scheduling of reviews, clinically significant medication issues, the facility-designated person responsible for conducting the DRR, and communication between the physician and nurse. Little to no mention is made of resident preference and choice related to medications. Do residents want to take all those medications? Is their quality of life improving?
Nursing homes can have the most beautiful policies and procedures for infection prevention and control in the world, but if staff aren’t following through on them, they are a waste of paper, notes Deb Patterson Burdsall, PhD, RN-BC, CIC, FAPIC, an infection prevention and control consultant and faculty member at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) in Arlington, VA.
“So monitoring and auditing infection prevention processes in the facility is a critical component of quality care,” says Burdsall. “Unfortunately, the focus on infection prevention has not always been well-supported because infection surveillance, monitoring whether proper supplies are available and used correctly, and watching whether staff are performing hand hygiene and correctly using personal protective equipment all take time, which means the effort costs money.”
To access this resource, please login or sign up for a membership.