Tuesday, August 11, 2015

16 Ways to Include Assisted Living Data in Your Quality Award Application

Dr. Lindsay Schwartz

 The AHCA/NCAL Quality Award Program is rooted in the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. This means that organizations must “evaluate performance, assess where improvements or innovation are most needed, and get results.”

As assisted living communities progress through the application process – achieving Bronze, moving onto Silver, and finally Gold – providers must show demonstrable evidence that their organization has a system of success. However, assisted living does not have an MDS – a universal measure for collecting clinical data among skilled nursing centers.

That doesn’t mean assisted living providers can’t use data to demonstrate their commitment to quality. There are numerous comparative sources that members can use in their Silver and Gold applications, and AHCA/NCAL has compiled them into a handy list.

Here are some highlights:
  • LTC Trend Tracker – this online tool just became available to NCAL members this year at no additional cost. After registering, assisted living providers can use the Turnover and Retention Upload feature to see their staffing rates and compare those rates to their peers. 
  • National Patient Safety Organization for Assisted Living (PSO) – There may be no MDS for assisted living, but the PSO comes close with the first national reporting system on clinical data for the profession. There are 25 different measures covering domains like falls, pressure ulcers, etc., and you can use as many or as few as you feel is appropriate. The added benefit… the data is protected from legal discovery. There are some additional costs for NCAL members, but PSO participants say they value the ability to track quality improvement while reducing their risk of liability.
  • CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics – The agency’s National Study of Long Term Care Providers surveys residential care communities (aka assisted living) and other long term care settings to monitor trends in the profession. Their findings offer data on residents and buildings’ characteristics at the national and state levels.
Find more sources in the Comparative Data for Assisted Living tip sheet.

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