Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Guest Post: Praise for MDS 3.0, from the Frontlines

January 4, 2011
Ladd Nichols
By:  Ladd Nichols, vice president of marketing for Gulf South Medical Supply

Despite some initial bumps in the road, I’ve heard positive feedback from many providers about the implementation of the new minimum data set (MDS) 3.0. According to frontline caregivers, this encouraging news comes not only from facility staff members, but also from residents.

Why are residents giving high marks to MDS 3.0 after just three months? The answer may be in the people connection. The new MDS requires more interaction with both residents and staff members to compile multiple assessments as determined by various schedules and resident status and condition. 

Elizabeth Beeson, MDS coordinator for Foss Home and Village, a skilled nursing facility in Seattle, Wash., found that the resident interviews have been the “best part of the whole MDS 3.0 process,” thanks to some training and preparation. 

To conduct resident interviews and gather the increased amount of information required with MDS 3.0, the facility takes an interdisciplinary approach. Social workers do mood assessments, activities workers do customary routines, and nursing staff do cognition and pain assessments. 

On the downside, there are some lingering concerns, like the overwhelming workload for staff and the possible impact on assessment accuracy. Says Beeson, “I see people talking about the fact that if you have a five-day Medicare assessment that’s done and a discharge three days later, we have to do two assessments only three days apart and collect the same information with a different end point. We basically have to re-do the same assessment but look at everything differently,” she says. 

On top of it all, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expects staff to conduct the interview again even though it’s three days later. 

Although some are hoping that there will be changes down the road in some of the requirements, staff have been surprised with how many residents can actively participate in the interviews.

At Elness Convalescent, a skilled nursing facility in Central Valley, Calif., Director of Nursing Pamela Powell says the staff transition is going much smoother after a rocky start with computer problems at the state level and the lack of return validation for data transmittals from the facility.  

“I had to go in and change all our assessment forms for our different departments that do input on the MDS and that made it easier for them.”
She also added another MDS staff person to help out because the first coordinator is overwhelmed.Powell and her staff learned how to create “I Care” plans for residents, which is even more inclusive of residents at every step of the process. 

Though facilities are now coping with several issues, in my estimation they are seeing improved resident care planning and positive organizational culture change. Is this the case at your facility?

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