With the growing scrutiny brought on by more sophisticated investigative reporting, along with a new, well-educated generation of adult children, comes an added layer of responsibility for senior care providers.
One area of concern to families is how medications are managed, both for the individual resident and within the facilities themselves.
Those in senior care leadership roles need to get comfortable with providing more transparency and demonstrating their adoption of best practices in all areas of medication management. Here are three key questions families are asking:
- How are the medications administered? You must be prepared to walk through the process of medication management, including who handles meds passing, what the process involves and who actually administers medications.
- Where are medications stored? They’ve heard the horror stories of CNAs and nurses who break into the med closets after hours and steal drugs. You need to provide evidence that your medications are secure at all times. On-site medication packaging and delivery systems can be helpful in this regard. And, now, thanks to technology advances, we have access to sophisticated medication automation platforms. These platforms are not only secure, but they also ensure the exact dosage per patient while keeping track of inventory. In short, they make it virtually impossible to conceal any nefarious activity occurring at any level within the community.
- How do I know he/she isn’t getting over or under-medicated? This is a huge problem and one that is well covered in the media. It’s important to be able to ease any fears of over or under-mediation. Once again, technology can help, with automated solutions that take the painstaking, error-prone process of meds passing out of the hands of nurses and CNAs, dispensing the right dosage, per patient, every time. While nothing can guarantee that a human error will not occur, you can assure friends and families that as much risk as possible has been removed from the process.
Conventional wisdom tells us to control those things which we can control. Nowhere is that more important than in today’s long term care communities. And, with greater scrutiny and stricter federal controls, there is far less margin of error allowable. Medicare/Medicaid requirements, HIPAA regulations, and an increased focus on elder abuse, means providers need to arm themselves with the tools and technology to keep as tight of control as possible over how their medications are stored and handled.
Using in-facility packaging and delivery technology such as Talyst’s InSite® System and other automation technology platforms can go a long way towards securing the processes of administration and storage of medications. And, HR leadership can play a more active role in creating a culture that invests in their employees; one which emphasizes wellness, awareness and training to create a healthy environment for both employees and residents.