Nursing facilities are heavily regulated by both federal and state authorities.  Compliance is crucial, but not easy.  Deficiencies increase the facility’s risk of a lawsuit and decreases the likelihood of a successful outcome.  Opposing attorneys love pointing to facility deficiencies noted during state surveys.  Compliance also impacts the value of a facility to prospective purchasers.

Compliance is an area where you can learn from the mistakes of others.  The following are frequently cited as thetop deficiencies found in nursing facilities nationwide:

Infection Control

Medical facility infections are a widely publicized difficulty faced by healthcare providers of all types.  The close proximity of individuals, many of whom are immune-compromised, can result in infections that spread quickly and cause serious illness and even death.

Facilities must have infection control programs which include measures for the investigation, control, and prevention of infections.  When infections do occur, accurate documentation is required.

Accident Control

Nursing facilities by their nature provide assistance and care for those who for one reason or another are unable to provide that care to themselves.  This need for care may be due to a physical impairment, a mental impairment, or frequently, some combination of the two.  It is an environment that breed accidents – falls are particularly common as residents often push themselves to try to do things without assistance, when assistance is needed.

Facilities are required to take steps to help minimize the frequency of accidents.  Of course, it is impossible in a nursing facility to completely eliminate accidents without providing each patient with 24/7 monitoring, which simply isn’t feasible.

Comprehensive Care Plans

Residents at nursing facilities are entitled to comprehensive and individualized care plans.  State and federal regulations detail the information that must be included in care plans as well as the timing of care plan development.  The resident and/or their family should be informed and included in the care planning and plans should be updated liberally, as needed.

Clinical Records

As with all facilities that provide medical care, accurate, timely clinical recordkeeping is essential in nursing home facilities.  Accurate records help prevent mistakes, particularly in the administration of medications.  Too often residents suffer from medication errors due to sloppy record keeping.  Properly kept records also help protect the facility if it is sued.

Among other requirements, records should be organized and easy to access, identify the patient to whom they relate, comply with professional standards, and contain progress notes.  The taking and recording of records falls within the daily responsibilities of staff, and it is not completely outside of administrators’ control.  Administrators can help ensure compliance by instituting stringent hiring practices, providing extensive and recurring training, and implementing recordkeeping audits.

Avoiding Unnecessary Use of Drugs

There are many drugs out there and many in nursing facilities need drugs to achieve their highest quality of life.  However, overuse of drugs in the healthcare system is nearly an epidemic and even more acute in nursing facilities.  Facilities must take care to use drugs only when absolutely necessary.  This means careful analysis before prescribing new drugs or an increase in dosage as well as constant review of what drugs a patient is on to remove those that are no longer necessary from the patient’s regimen.

Cambridge Realty Capital is dedicated to helping your senior housing or healthcare facility succeed and believes that understanding the industry is crucial to that success

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