Special Article| Volume 19, ISSUE 10, P833-839, October 2018

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Quality Clinical Care in Nursing Facilities


      Despite improvements in selected nursing facility (NF) quality measures such as reduction in antipsychotic use; local, state, and national initiatives; and regulatory incentives, the quality of clinical care delivered in this setting remains inconsistent. Herein, recommendations for overcoming barriers to achieving consistent, high-quality clinical outcomes in long-term (LTC) and post-acute care are provided to address inadequate workforce, suboptimal culture and interprofessional teamwork, insufficiently evidence-based processes of care, and poor adoption and fidelity of technology and integrated clinical decision support. With high staff attrition rates in NFs, mechanisms to measure and close knowledge gaps as well as opportunities for practice simulations should be available to educate and ensure adoption of clinical quality standards on clinician hiring and on an ongoing basis. Multipronged, integrated approaches are needed to further the quest for sustainment of high clinical quality in NF care. In addition to setting a tone for attainment of clinical quality, leadership should champion adoption of practice standards, quality initiatives, and evidence-based guidelines. Maintaining an optimal ratio of hours per resident per day of nurses and nurse aides can improve quality outcomes and staff satisfaction. Clinicians must consistently and effectively apply care processes that include recognition, problem definition, diagnosis, goal identification, intervention, and monitoring resident progress. In order to do so they must have rapid, easy access to necessary tools, including evidence-based standards, algorithms, and care plans, during the care delivery process. Embedding such tools into workflow of electronic health records has the potential to improve quality outcomes. On a national and international level, quality standards should be developed by interprofessional LTC experts committed to applying the highest levels of clinical evidence to improve the care of older persons. The standards should be realistic and practical, and basic principles of implementation science must be used to achieve the desired outcomes.


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