CMS issued updated SNF visitation guidance on September 17. The new guidance lays out a plan addressing when and how SNFs should begin allowing visitors in their facility again, based on community spread and resident health.
Older adults are especially vulnerable physically during the coronavirus pandemic. But they're also notably resilient psychologically, calling upon a lifetime of experience and perspective to help them through difficult times.
Being prepared for an audit is of utmost importance for SNFs. COVID-19 has completely changed the auditing process, though, and as post-pandemic audits loom on the horizon, it’s imperative that SNFs are ready for them to resume.
By understanding what accountability means in the skilled nursing setting, how to maintain personal accountability, and when to work with peers to achieve accountability, staff have the opportunity to improve the culture of accountability within a facility. Additionally, they display what it means, in part, to be a professional.
As it has for so many aspects of our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed the way many skilled nursing facilities (SNF) function. Policies and procedures are constantly evolving, so SNFs need to ensure that they are taking appropriate actions and documenting all that is required. As the pandemic continues to evolve, the documentation requirements evolve as well. “As you're reviewing and updating your policies and procedures, make sure that your policies are dated and that you are keeping your prior versions,” recommends Todd Selby, attorney at Hall, Render, Killian, Heath & Lyman, PC.
Oxygen is necessary for life. Some diseases and conditions prevent enough oxygen from nourishing the body’s tissues, so supplemental oxygen is administered. Oxygen is a basic need at the lowest level of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Needs at the lower levels must be fulfilled before needs at the higher levels become important. Because the need for oxygen is a low level need, the resident who is having trouble breathing cannot focus on much else. Oxygen is a prescription item, and a physician’s order is necessary to administer it to a resident. Your facility policies may permit nurses to administer oxygen in an emergency, but if a general standing order is implemented for a resident, physician notification and a proper order are necessary.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken things up for SNFs and affected nearly all day-to-day activities. In order to reduce the burden for SNFs, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a variety of blanket waivers to cut through red tape that SNFs typically face. The waivers are set to last as long as the pandemic is declared a national emergency, although we don’t yet know when that declaration will expire.
There are few communities hit harder by COVID-19 than the elderly nursing home population. Not only are outcomes for older individuals who contract the virus poorer, but the isolation practices necessary to keep them safe can cause a host of new health issues. Although skilled nursing facilities (SNF) are under strict requirements and must be vigilant about isolation and infection control practices to keep COVID-19 at bay, SNFs also need to ensure that depression, anxiety, and confusion don’t take over their facility.