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PeaceHealth Ketchikan Long Term Care receives quality award

New patient safety system will decrease falls and increase resident interaction


September 22, 2016
Thursday PM

(SitNews) Ketchikan, Alaska - New Horizons Long Term Care (LTC) was one of four Alaska LTC facilities to receive Recognition of Quality Achievement last month at the annual Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association (ASHNA) meeting.

The award was given to the local PeaceHealth Ketchikan facility by Mountain-Pacific Quality Health in recognition of meeting goals which included instilling quality and performance improvement practices, eliminating health- care-acquired conditions, and improving resident satisfaction.

One way New Horizons is improving patient safety is to discontinue reliance on alarms while increasing interaction between caregivers and residents through what they call the CHAT system.

jpg PeaceHealth Ketchikan Long Term Care receives quality award

Marguerite Auger (left) and Jessica Tacker a CNA who is the Unit Coordinator.
Photo courtesy PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center

While it might seem counter-intuitive to remove alarms that sound when residents get out of bed or a chair or recliner, Marguerite Auger ACD, LTC Activities Director did her research, “reliance on alarms can cause ‘alarm fatigue’ among caregivers who respond to all alarms only to find someone just shifting in a chair.” Nationally, there is a move away from alarms.

“Alarms are loud too and can startled other residents and they might not prevent falls. Alarms tell us someone is up,” said Auger, “but, sometimes a resident will have already fallen or will fall before we can get there”

Through a mentoring program sponsored by ASHNA, LTC started the CHAT system in early March. “CHAT is a checklist for caregivers to follow as they make rounds,” Auger said. “They go through the CHAT list with every resident, every 15 minutes, 24/7.”

C is for Call Button. The caregiver checks to make sure the call button is in easy reach of the residents. H is Hydration. Is water or juice readily available to the resident?

H is Hydration. Is water or juice readily available to the resident?

A is Assessment. Is the bed the right height? Is the resident properly situated in bed? Do pillows need adjusting? Is the bedside table in easy reach?

T is Toileting. Does the resident need assistance to the bathroom or a change if incontinence is an issue?

The fall rate, already low, has improved a little Auger said but the main thing is “a cultural change. We are strengthening our awareness of all the residents. We are more aware of each resident and their routines and are more proactive to take care of their safety rather than reactively relying on alarms.”

Auger will make a presentation on the CHAT program next month at the annual Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association's (ASHNA) Resident Safety Conference.

Heritage Place in Soldatna received the top award Recognition of Quality Excellence. Among the others receiving the Recognition of Quality Achievement are Denali Center in Fairbanks, Quyanna Care Center in Nome and the Yukon Kuskokwim Elders Home in Bethel.

Mountain-Pacific Quality Health is a nonprofit corporation that is a resource for innovation in health care in Montana, Wyoming, Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews


Source of News:

PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center



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