In 2016, the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS) Community Living Center (CLC) failed to meet a high standard of quality. As a result, its staff developed a quality assurance team to look at the facility’s problems.
VA calls its nursing homes community living centers.
With help from the team, the CLC staff improved communications between Veterans and their caregivers. It also improved Veteran experiences and outcomes and increased the reliability of documentation and data.
Above, from left, are Nanette Brankle, licensed practical nurse; Tiffany Bell, nurses aid; Air Force Veteran George Gorsuch, resident; and Jesse Cornwell, associate chief nurse for extended care.
The improvements came after three years of internal improvements and assessments.
The VANIHCS CLC has 104 beds and serves Veterans throughout Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.
Team from many disciplines achieved success
“This improvement has been a collaborative effort. As a result, we’ve used many disciplines and services over the past three years,” said Elaine Barth, chief of Extended Care.
The quality assurance team includes staff from social work, dietitians, therapies and nursing. It also includes members of its pharmacy, medical administration and nutrition, as well as environmental management services.
Employees trained to improve documentation and data entry. They also altered documentation tools to be more user friendly. As a result, the CLC’s reliability and accuracy of documentation improved to greater than 95%.
In addition, the CLC’s nurses developed strategies to improve quality measures within the CLC. These plans focused on decreasing urinary tract infections, pressure injuries and pain management.
Laundry equipment was made accessible to wheelchair Veterans.
Oversight committee helps
Now, an oversight committee addresses the needs and concerns of the Veterans living at CLC. Unit residents, CLC clinicians and staff comprise the committee.
“One area was a concern that was the washer and dryer units were not easily accessible to Veterans in wheelchairs. Consequently, we were able to remodel one of the laundry rooms to improve accessibility,” said Barth.
The CLC staff also trained to improve the communication between Veterans and their caregivers.
The VANIHCS staff strives to improve its CLC’s quality of care. It upholds the mission of restoring each Veteran to his or her highest level of well-being. In addition, the staff considers the Veterans’ trust in the CLC staff its highest honor and it is committed to exceeding residency expectations.
Alexandria Sharpe is a public affairs officer at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System.