And so it begins…
It’s taken 2 years, 3 rounds of vaccinations, and countless hours, days, weeks, and months of hard work…but we are seeing the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. As skilled nursing and long-term care organizations enter this new phase, it’s time to look at the business challenges of a post-COVID operating environment and determine what safety and quality strategies are needed to rebuild both trust and operating profits.
The business challenges are undeniable…
Occupancy is Down Due to Shaken Trust in Safety
With a shaken trust still lingering, medical providers and social agencies need safety assurances for the patients they refer. At the same time, social media and web searches have armed patients and families with quick access to a facility’s safety record and they are using this information to make their own decisions. This trust must be rebuilt…and that requires a meaningful and purposeful shift from a compliance mindset to a culture where every employee not only understands, but fully embraces safety.
There Are Higher Liability Costs
Providing long-term and senior care is inherently a high-risk endeavor—and there’s no denying that COVID has taken this risk to a new level. So it’s no surprise that the high costs of litigation and employee injuries have led to a dramatic increase in liability costs. We’ve witnessed insurance premiums growing by double digits, deductibles shooting up, and caps moving downward.
There Are Staff Concerns over Safety
Employees want to be assured of a safe working environment, and with the ongoing staffing shortages and high turnover, it has become imperative that proper coaching and competency checks are solidly and reliably in place. Knowing that the labor market for frontline caregiver staff is full of choices, today’s skilled nursing and long-term care organizations need to ensure staff members feel safe.
Start driving positive results with these 5 safety-focused strategies…
Overcoming today’s very real business challenges requires a strategic commitment to safety and quality management, which can be an effective source of competitive advantage and brand differentiation. Here are 5 critical strategies that LTC organizations should adopt within their operating environment:
- Make Safety a “C-suite led, Top 3” Priority
As a leader, you need to look closely at the specifics of your commitment to safety and ask yourself such important questions as: Do I have a real-time snapshot of all quality and safety gaps/risks, action plans, and benchmarks?; Can I identify high-risk staff, departments, and facilities early?; Are my quality and safety risk assessments up to date…and how often are they updated?; and Do I have corrective action workflows to ensure all risks are tracked and remediated?
- Take a Systems-Based Approach to Safety
Traditionally, LTC safety has been managed at the departmental or functional level. What often happens is these “safety silos” lead to “safety chasms” where important hand-offs can—and often do—fall into the crevasse. A preferred holistic, systems-based approach starts with identifying all safety risks and processes spanning across the entire operation and systems. Safety management must be a unified approach that strategically considers every risk factor.
- Assess Safety Risks Comprehensively
All effective safety programs start with a comprehensive assessment of risk factors. A 360˚ approach to risk assessments involves regularly updating assessments and taking input from all levels of the organization, while also anticipating and planning for risks. Conducting a fresh review of your organization’s risk assessments with a cross-functional team is a solid step in the right direction.
- Improve Coaching and Competency Checks
Competency checks, when combined with quick coaching and remedial training, can dramatically reduce infection control and other safety risks. And digital tools can compress the time it takes to conduct competency checks to just a few minutes. In fact, CareSafely’s competency check software enables infection preventionists to conduct a hand hygiene check, auto-score the results, and obtain the employee’s digital signature in less than 3 minutes.
- Digitize Safety & Quality Management
For LTC organizations, a transition from manual workflows to digital Quality, Safety, Compliance (QSC) management systems is crucial for effective and efficient safety management. Digital tools—required to properly and effectively manage risk and safety programs—can be used for risk assessment, incident reporting, action planning, and for deep analysis in identifying high-risk areas.
Beyond the Big Wake-Up Call…
The COVID pandemic woke us up and shook us up—opening our eyes to precarious gaps in safety and quality while also rattling the public’s trust. The time is now for LTC organizations to shift their traditional risk management approach to a mindset that is culture- and quality-driven across all aspects of the operation including staff safety, facility safety, and emergency preparedness.
LTC organizations will most certainly rise to the current challenges as they build stronger paths forward with a renewed commitment to safety and quality. We at CareSafely are ready to partner with you throughout this important journey.
Download your detailed Executive Brief today and to learn more about how CareSafely can help you rebuild your trust and profits in the post-COVID world, please visit www.CareSafely.com or email [email protected].