Address the increasingly complex aging services care delivery and regulatory environment with expert guidance, proven approaches for quality and safety
Options for care are evolving rapidly to meet the needs of the aging population, helping seniors and their family members receive the peace of mind they need knowing that they're getting the best care available. Innovative technologies are reshaping service delivery in facilities and fueling new opportunities for older adults to age in place. In the face of change, one thing remains the same: the need to ensure quality, safety, and compliance in complex regulatory environments as you support those navigating the aging process.
Ensuring that your facilities are designed to meet the care needs of these older adults and that your caregivers are properly equipped to care for the elderly (regardless of whether they need physical support or memory care for cognitive conditions like dementia) is only the tip of the iceberg. Today's elder care service providers need to be able to navigate additional challenges like litigation (having the right attorneys to deal with lawsuits and claims), operating margin pressures, and so much more. That being said, taking the next steps and addressing these challenges to improve the quality of your facilities does not have to be a difficult time.
With experience and resources spanning continuing, post-acute, and long-term care environments, as well as home-based services, Aging Services Consulting gives leaders access to risk management expertise through a retainer model. Our experts and senior care consultants are thought leaders on a range of quality, patient safety, and compliance topics (essential to preventing the termination of Medicare and Medicaid). We help tackle some of the most pressing challenges in senior care. If you're ready to provide elderly care with compassion, provide older individuals with the level of care that they deserve, and improve their quality of life moving forward, working with an elderly care consultant is the way to go.
Identify risk and improvement opportunities
As a senior care provider, your main goal is to ensure that your patients are cared for every step of the way. But when working with older people and developing long-term care plans, how do you ensure that you improve the medical care offered by your facilities? ECRI's senior care consultants evaluate patient safety events to help identify opportunities to reduce risk and improve outcomes. Our risk management experts visit facilities to assess risks to patient and resident safety and/or regulatory compliance. We also recommend best practices for mitigating those risks and improving quality and safety for residents.
ECRI’s work has helped our members approach risk management pro-actively, assisting them in implementing an enterprise wide culture of safety that promotes the continual pursuit of providing the highest quality care and services…They have brought a completely new level of risk management and improved outcomes at our member organizations and their work has quite significantly advanced the profession of aging services risk management across all continuums of care in the long-term care and community & home based services environments.
That being said, assessing risk to patient safety only helps you provide consistent, quality care to an aging population. In order to preserve the health of older adults and your geriatric care managers, you need to account for the potential for unforeseen infections as well. Offering elder care services can be made more difficult when you're unable to support the medical needs of an older population in the face of an emergency.
The COVID-19 pandemic is an excellent example of this as it not only became a threat to seniors but also caused a host of related infections stemming from treatment equipment and a lack of protocol to handle care situations like these. As senior care consultants, we also provide infection prevention and infection control solutions that help your skilled nursing facilities (nursing homes, assisted living communities, etc.) prepare for potential outbreaks, evaluate and investigate potential areas of improvement, and develop a comprehensive plan for the future.
Address resident safety
Seemingly small risk factors can have a significant impact on resident safety and well-being. This is especially the case when you're working with an aging population that is more vulnerable to illnesses or physical trauma caused by falls and other problems seniors encounter as they age. How can a community reduce fall risk? How can residents feel assured that they can call for help when they need it? How can you evaluate medication safety to avoid potential consequences that impact the health of those in your facilities? What are the best ways to coordinate staff response to a resident fall or other safety incidents? There are numerous considerations to make and potential situations to plan ahead for when you're caring for older patients. The best choice to make as an elderly health care service provider is to evaluate your current practices and provide health care personnel with the resources they need to understand and navigate aging risks.
Assisted living consultants assess current practices and offer practical guidance and action-oriented resources to address those and other common safety challenges. Additionally, our ambulatory care risk management resources help you and your staff expand your knowledge base so that you can provide the proper care with confidence. Eldercare can be an extremely rewarding form of health care for those who wish to support seniors and the quality of life they deserve. With our guidance, you can make sure your residents are safe, comfortable, and happy.
Update policies and procedures
The best facilities are those that constantly evolve to navigate new challenges presented by caring for an elderly population. While there are certain eldercare best practices that all assisted living facilities, care homes, or other facilities need to follow to promote a culture of safety and security, systems and processes will inevitably change over time. What may be the best fit for your patients now may significantly shift in the future should new challenges arise. Put simply, policies and procedures are essential to maintaining consistency and compliance in care and service delivery. These need to be "living" documents continually updated to reflect changes in care environments and the regulations that govern them.
Bring senior care consultants from ECRI on site for long-term care consulting to collaborate on reviewing and updating policies and procedures. This will allow for a smooth transition as your facilities take a new approach to senior care and your personnel become accustomed to a new way of caring for their patients.
Investigate and resolve adverse events
Whether it's unanticipated side effects caused by medications, an incident that occurred even when safety needs were being met, or something else entirely, accidents happen. This is a natural consequence of the health care system. However, accidents do not have to take place over and over again or put you at risk of facing legal repercussions as a result. Having the support of health care consultants will give you the guidance you need to navigate such issues.
When an adverse event occurs, our nursing home consultants can serve as an objective third party to investigate the event and analyze the root causes, providing comprehensive accident and forensic investigation services. ECRI works with you to investigate patient incidents and analyze these events to find the root cause. Based on those findings, we can then recommend evidence-based solutions to help reduce the risk of these events in the future. We also offer proactive consultations to help you prevent hazards that might be common in your facilities, expert witness consultation and testimony, biomedical testing, technical consultations, and gross and microscopic inspections.
Compassionate care cannot exist without personal responsibility. If you aim to provide the best place for seniors to receive care and make better care decisions over time, our services and consultants offer the investigative services needed to provide valuable insights that will go a long way in furthering the quality of care offered by your organization.
Providing high-quality elder care for seniors who need medical support is the primary focus of your facilities. However, ensuring that you're meeting your bottom line, sourcing necessary medical supplies effectively, and operating efficiently is key to providing care. ECRI also offers spend management services to provide you with the guidance your organization needs to run your senior care facilities with greater efficiency.
Interested in learning more?
Setup a consultation with an ECRI expert to learn more about improving the quality of care provided at your organization.
Recent ECRI articles in Annals of Long-Term Care®.
- January 2023: Systems Approach to HRO in Aging Services
- November 2022: Planning for a Sustainable Telehealth Program
- March/April 2021: Seek Understanding: Designing Effective and Data-informed Vaccination Campaigns
- January/February 2021: Supporting Resident Mental Health: A Comprehensive Approach
- December 2020: A Culture of Safety: It Takes a Community
- September 2020: When the Resident Says No: Best Practices for Informed Refusal
- June 2020: Sending the Signal: Notifications Activate the Organization’s Response to an Incident