Improving the quality of long-term care (LTC) facilities is an ongoing effort. There has been much debate between policymakers and the public in recent years, but the simple fact is that poor performance among facilities ultimately impacts the health and well-being of those receiving care.
Many different elements can impact the quality of care. From policies and procedures to staff training and updated facilities, it can be challenging to find the right balance to keep costs down and quality high. However, the ultimate goal should always be to prioritize your residents’ satisfaction. At the end the day, the happiness of your residents will be the true indicator of success.
Let’s look at some of the key criteria you need to consider to improve the quality of care in your facility.
Create a Positive Environment for your Residents
Above all else, a long-term care facility is a home! Every effort should be made to create a positive environment for residents while meeting the physical, social, religious and intellectual needs of each individual. From the basics such as furniture, bathrooms, and lighting to attractive common areas such as a games room, dining room, and other living spaces, your facility and services should enrich your residents’ life.
While facilities should be updated and maintained regularly, your calendar should also be full of activities and social events. These should reflect the different levels of care, provide choices for residents, as well as be inclusive to all. The goal should be to put a smile on residents’ faces by providing a stimulating environment with a holistic approach.
Hire the Right Staff
Hiring is an essential element to improving the quality of care in your facility. Adequate screenings and in-depth interviews should be conducted by management to ensure appropriate staff fills each position.
You should be picky with the type of staff you hire. Employees need to contribute to the positive energy in the facility, show a passion and desire to care for those in need and a willingness to develop on a professional level.
Skills and qualifications on a resume are one thing, but do they fit in with the culture and align with your goals? Hire staff that believe in your vision, work well in a team and adds value to your facility.
Focus on Effective Training and Development.
Staff training and development is a key priority and essential to continuously improving quality. Staff must be educated on how to deal with all different types of scenarios. From emergency procedures to safe resident handling and equipment operation, your team needs to be equipped to deal with problems that arise on a daily basis confidently.
A well-trained and competent team will not only reduce stress levels and turnover rates but will ultimately provide a healthier environment for your residents.
If you have hired the right staff, let them do their job! A significant concern in LTC facilities is staff turnover. Limiting responsibility and micro-managing can lead to lower job satisfaction, and ultimately, the loss of your most valuable employees.
Your staff need to feel confident that they can adapt and intervene whenever needed to ensure your residents come first. Yes, there will be many policies and procedures to follow, but they also need to be empowered to make decisions as they administer care. Reduce the hand-holding and trust in your employees’ ability to do their job, and your quality of care will improve in the process.
Ensure Adequate Staff Levels
While the level of care will vary between residents, all those staying within your LTC facility are dependent on your staff to complete daily activities. And at one point or another, most residents will require urgent medical attention. It is, therefore, imperative staff are available and prepared at all times to assist. This means ensuring staff to resident ratios are kept at an optimum level, not only according to the law but also in accordance with the needs and extent of care required by your particular residents.
Ensuring adequate staff numbers, along with strong leadership, not only helps to improve the quality of care but also enhances the workplace culture, reducing employee burn out and turn-over rates in the process.
Implement the Right Policies and Procedures.
Policies and procedures are mandatory to maintain a high level of quality care, as well as the safety and security of both residents and staff. It’s imperative to keep these up-to-date and well-written to ensure your facility remains compliant with federal regulations and reduces any practices that result in substandard care.
Your policies and procedures should be reviewed on a regular basis with staff, residents, and families to ensure they remain relevant and help deliver positive outcomes for all parties. Employees training should align with and be guided by your policies.
Always Focus on Quality of Care
Quality of care in LTC facilities should always be a focus. Take these tips on board and you’ll be well on your way to keeping your staff happy, your residents well cared for and your facility constantly growing!