Laura Wagner, PhD, RN, FAAN

Associate Professor
Campus Phone
Address Postal

2 Koret Way, Rm 511R
UCSF Box 0608
San Francisco, CA 94143
United States

Biography
My program of research has focused on improving patient safety among nurses. In particular I focus on nursing care processes to improve the EFFICIENCY of care, provide ETHICAL care, and ensure safe care is EVIDENCE-based. I have conducted several funded studies on improving adverse event reporting system software, managing nursing care around falls management, reducing physical restraints and siderails, improving adverse event disclosure, and assessing safety culture in the nursing home setting. My service work has included working with the National Quality Forum to update their list of Serious Reportable Events to include Long-Term Care as well as working as a Faculty member with Safer Healthcare Now! Initiative in Canada to develop the "Getting Started Kit" for falls management in healthcare settings and also chairing the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Best Practice Guideline development for Alternatives to Restraint Use.
Fellow, American Academy of Nursing, 2013
New Investigator Award in Aging, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2009
Springer Award in Geriatric Nursing Research, Springer Publishing Company, 2008

Physical Restraints: Consensus of a Research Definition Using a Modified Delphi Technique.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To develop an internationally accepted research definition of physical restraint.

DESIGN

Comprehensive literature search followed by a web-based, three-round, modified Delphi technique comprising reviews and feedback.

SETTING

Clinical care settings.

PARTICIPANTS

An international group of 48 experts consisting of researchers and clinicians from 14 countries who have made sustained contribution to research and clinical application in the field of physical restraint in clinical care.

MEASUREMENTS

Data were collected using an online survey program and one in-person meeting. Results of the online survey and the in-person meeting were used for distribution in subsequent rounds until consensus on a definition was reached. Consensus was defined as 90% of the participating experts agreeing with the proposed definition of physical restraint.

RESULTS

Thirty-four different definitions were identified during the literature search and served as a starting point for the modified Delphi technique. After three rounds, 45 (95.7%) of 47 remaining experts agreed with the newly proposed definition: "Physical restraint is defined as any action or procedure that prevents a person's free body movement to a position of choice and/or normal access to his/her body by the use of any method, attached or adjacent to a person's body that he/she cannot control or remove easily."

CONCLUSION

A multidisciplinary, internationally representative panel of experts reached consensus on a research definition for physical restraints in older persons. This is a necessary step toward improved comparisons of the prevalence of physical restraint use across studies and countries. This definition can further guide research interventions aimed at reducing use of physical restraints.

Resident and Facility Factors Associated With the Incidence of Urinary Tract Infections Identified in the Nursing Home Minimum Data Set.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

This research examined resident and facility-specific factors associated with a diagnosis of a urinary tract infection (UTI) in the nursing home setting.

METHOD

Minimum Data Set and Online Survey, Certification and Reporting system data were used to identify all nursing home residents in the United States on April 1, 2006, who did not have a UTI ( n = 1,138,418). Residents were followed until they contracted a UTI (9.5%), died (8.3%), left the nursing home (33.2%), or the year ended (49.0%). A Cox proportional hazards model was estimated, controlling for resident and facility characteristics and for the state of residence.

RESULT

The presence of an indwelling catheter was the primary predictor of whether a resident contracted a UTI (adjusted incidence ratio = 3.35, p

DISCUSSION

Several facility-specific risk factors are of significance. Of significance, UTIs may be reduced by modifying factors such as staffing levels.

Implementation of the High-Risk Alcoholism Relapse Scale in a Liver Transplant Clinic.

Abstract

Because of the high prevalence of alcohol relapse after liver transplantation, transplant programs are challenged to evaluate alcoholism among liver transplant patients. Relapse after liver transplantation can have detrimental outcomes such as organ rejection, medical and social resource exhaustion, financial burden to the family and society, and negative public perception of organ transplantation. The purpose of this project was to improve post-liver transplant assessment for the risk of relapse to heavy alcohol use by implementing a protocol using the High-Risk Alcoholism Relapse (HRAR) scale (DiMartini et al., 2000; Yates et al., 1993). The project was conducted in an urban organ transplant center's outpatient post liver transplant clinic. Chart reviews assessed the process of patients identified as being at high risk and the transplant providers' completion of the HRAR scale. Eleven percent of patients assessed were identified as being at high risk for relapse of heavy alcohol use and 85% of providers used the HRAR scale in their clinic interviews. This project demonstrates that further refinements in techniques of predicting the risks of relapse are necessary, and nurses are in ideal positions to screen patients for alcohol use.

Accreditation and Resident Safety in Ontario Long-Term Care Homes.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To determine if accreditation is associated with better resident safety processes and outcomes in 587 Ontario long-term care (LTC) homes. A second area of interest is whether LTC home characteristics influence pursuit of accreditation.

FINDINGS

Out of five safety areas examined, accreditation was only associated with a lower occurrence of falls. Three of four organizational characteristics examined (facility ownership, chain membership and location) were predictors of facility accreditation.

IMPLICATIONS

To prevent inequalities in organizations' ability to pursue accreditation, policymakers may need to consider new initiatives that reduce barriers for LTC homes that lack sufficient resources.

Examining differences in nurses' language, accent, and comprehensibility in nursing home settings based on birth origin and country of education.

Abstract

As nursing homes turn abroad to fill vacancies, the diverse linguistic backgrounds of nurse hires are creating new challenges in comprehensibility between nurses, providers, and residents. Accents are a natural part of spoken language that may present difficulty even when the parties involved are speaking the same language. We surveyed 1,629 nurses working in 98 nursing homes (NHs) in five U.S. states to determine if and how language difficulties were perceived by nurses and others (e.g. physicians, residents and family members). We found that when participants were asked how often other care team members and residents/families had difficulty understanding them due to language use or accent, foreign born nurses were significantly more likely to report that they experienced difficulty at least some of the time across all groups. This study supports an assessment of nurses' language, accents, and comprehensibility in these settings.

Implementation of Mental Health Huddles on Dementia Care Units.

Abstract

Client-responsive behaviours occur commonly among residents in long-term care (LTC) settings; direct-care staff, however, receive little education, support, or opportunities to discuss and collaborate on managing such behaviours. Our participatory action project introduced mental health huddles to support staff in discussing and managing client-responsive behaviours in long-term care. This research project engaged direct-care staff (e.g., personal support workers, registered practical nurses, housekeeping staff, and registered nurses) in learning how to use these huddles. Staff workers used huddles as a forum to stay informed, review work, problem solve, and develop person-centered action plans. Fifty-six huddles occurred over a 12-week period; two to seven direct-care staff participated in each huddle. Focus groups indicated improved staff collaboration, teamwork, support, and communication when discussing specific responsive behaviours. Huddles provided LTC staff with the opportunity to collaborate and discuss strategies to optimize resident care. Further research on how huddles affect resident care outcomes is needed.

The benefits associated with volunteering among seniors: a critical review and recommendations for future research.

Abstract

There is an urgent need to identify lifestyle activities that reduce functional decline and dementia associated with population aging. The goals of this article are to review critically the evidence on the benefits associated with formal volunteering among older adults, propose a theoretical model of how volunteering may reduce functional limitations and dementia risk, and offer recommendations for future research. Database searches identified 113 papers on volunteering benefits in older adults, of which 73 were included. Data from descriptive, cross-sectional, and prospective cohort studies, along with 1 randomized controlled trial, most consistently reveal that volunteering is associated with reduced symptoms of depression, better self-reported health, fewer functional limitations, and lower mortality. The extant evidence provides the basis for a model proposing that volunteering increases social, physical, and cognitive activity (to varying degrees depending on characteristics of the volunteer placement) which, through biological and psychological mechanisms, leads to improved functioning; we further propose that these volunteering-related functional improvements should be associated with reduced dementia risk. Recommendations for future research are that studies (a) include more objective measures of psychosocial, physical, and cognitive functioning; (b) integrate qualitative and quantitative methods in prospective study designs; (c) explore further individual differences in the benefits associated with volunteering; (d) include occupational analyses of volunteers' specific jobs in order to identify their social, physical, and cognitive complexity; (e) investigate the independent versus interactive health benefits associated with volunteering relative to engagement in other forms of activity; and (f) examine the relationship between volunteering and dementia risk.

Impact of infection preventionists on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid quality measures in Maryland nursing homes.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Health care-associated infections are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in US nursing homes (NHs). The objective of the research is to assess the impact of Maryland NH infection preventionists (IPs) on NH quality measures.

METHODS

Two hundred thirty-four NHs were queried through mailed survey. These survey data were then linked with 2008 quality data from Nursing Home Compare and the On-line Survey Certification of Automated Records.

RESULTS

Three of the 8 quality measures examined-influenza vaccination for both short- and long-stay residents and pressure ulcer prevention in high-risk residents-were significantly associated with the number of IPs. None of the quality measures were shown to be significant with IPs who received specialized training on infection prevention and management compared with those who did not receive specialized training.

CONCLUSION

IPs play a critical role in preventing and managing health care-associated infections in nursing homes, especially in the areas of influenza vaccination and pressure ulcer prevention among high-risk nursing home residents. Quality measures that reflect the effects of IP training may not have been elucidated yet. Further research is needed to support the IP role in order for policy to advocate for increased IP funding.

Hand Hygiene Practices Reported by Nurse Aides in Nursing Homes.

Abstract

Information from nurse aides describing their opinions of hand hygiene practices in nursing homes including perceived barriers to hand hygiene is presented. The information comes from a questionnaire developed for this investigation, with items addressing compliance, facility guidelines and protocols, training, hand washing facilities and materials, and hand washing barriers. Information from 4,211 nurse aides (response rate of 56%) working in a nationally representative sample of 767 nursing homes (participation rate = 51%) is used. We find that 57.4% of nurse aides comply with hand washing when caring for residents most of the time, while 21.7% always comply. With facilities, 43.3% sometimes check that hand washing is performed. In summary, self-reported compliance was poor, and facilities and materials were often lacking. These findings are useful in identifying issues and interventions, including the need for further initiatives to address hand hygiene practices.

Potential prescription drug misuse in assisted living.

Abstract

Prescription drug misuse among older adults includes inappropriate and harmful use of these drugs. In this study, prescription drug misuse in assisted living settings as reported by direct care workers (DCWs) was examined. Data came from DCWs in 45 assisted living settings located in Pennsylvania. A total of 944 DCWs completed a questionnaire on their opinions of prescription drug misuse. DCWs believed most assisted living residents take prescription medications. In addition, 10% of DCWs observed or had evidence that residents used unnecessarily high doses, 30% were preoccupied with the cost of prescription drugs, and 26% had problems understanding the complexity of their drug treatment regimen. Prescription drug misuse may be a problem of importance in assisted living settings. Assisted living has experienced rapid growth in capacity, yet the ability of these settings and their residents to manage prescription drugs may not have kept pace with this growth.

Utilization of a benchmarking database to inform NICHE implementation.

Abstract

An integral part of NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) is a benchmarking service that provides member sites with the ability to evaluate staff perceptions of the care environment compared with other NICHE sites. The NICHE Database includes more than 100,000 surveys (Geriatric Institutional Assessment Profile). This study aimed to explain how secondary analyses of this aggregate database can inform effective geriatric programming in hospitals. We found that nurse age and experience influence nurse perceptions of organizational alignment to NICHE guiding principles and that those perceptions improve following NICHE implementation. The NICHE Database addresses knowledge generation in key areas of geriatric nursing practice and assists hospitals' systemic capacity to effectively embed NICHE Guiding Principles: evidence-based geriatric knowledge, patient-family centered care, healthy and productive practice environment, and multidimensional metrics of quality. It contributes to the growing field of implementation science that seeks to promote the uptake of research findings into clinical practice.

Examining the feasibility and utility of an SBAR protocol in long-term care.

Abstract

Ineffective nurse-physician communication in the nursing home setting adversely affects resident care as well as the work environment for both nurses and physicians. Using a repeated measures design, this quality improvement project evaluated the influence of SBAR (Situation; Background of the change; Assessment or appearance; and Request for action) protocol and training on nurse communication with medical providers, as perceived by nurses and physicians, using a pre-post questionnaire. The majority (87.5%) of nurses respondents found the tool useful to organize information and provide cues on what to communicate to medical providers. Limitations expressed by some nurses included the time to complete the tool, and communication barriers not corrected by the SBAR tool. Project findings, including reported physician satisfaction, support the use of SBAR to address both issues of complete documentation and time constraints.

Impact of voluntary accreditation on short-stay rehabilitative measures in U.S. nursing homes.

Abstract

PURPOSE

To examine accreditation from nursing homes accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) and whether this is associated with improved rehabilitation care.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional association of CARF accreditation and quality.

METHODS

Comparison of the short-stay quality measures (influenza and pneumococcal vaccination; pain; delirium; pressures sores; five-star quality and health inspection scores) between the sample of 246 CARF-accredited homes compared with the 15,393 nursing homes in the 2010 On-Line Survey Certification of Automated Records (OSCAR).

FINDINGS

CARF-accredited nursing homes demonstrate better quality with regard to the short-stay quality measures.

CONCLUSIONS

Approaches beyond traditional regulation and governmental inspections are necessary to improve the quality of care in nursing homes.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

During a patient's rehabilitation stay, minimizing iatrogenic complications is paramount. Given the findings of this study, it is unfortunate that very few nursing homes are CARF accredited.

Barriers and facilitators to communicating nursing errors in long-term care settings.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore nurses' perceptions about communicating nursing errors.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional, descriptive study.

PARTICIPANTS

Approximately 289 nurses working in long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada.

METHODS

A cross-sectional, descriptive study of approximately 289 nurses working in long-term care facilities in Ontario, Canada. Solicited nurses' perceptions concerning the disclosure of nursing errors and adverse events by including an open-ended item at the conclusion of a 60-item (multiple choice) questionnaire on the same topic. A qualitative content analysis was conducted using a multi-step process.

RESULTS

A total of 245 responses were included in the content analysis. The main categories related to error communication that were derived from the analysis were as follows: (1) differences in the definition of terms; (2) the day-to-day working conditions and their impact on defining and reporting errors; (3) organizational factors that both help and hinder the reporting of errors in ensuring both personal and organizational responsibility; (4) communication styles that both help and hinder disclosure and adherence to proper protocols; and (5) external factors such as policies and professional standards and codes of ethics, which can provide clarity of process; and (6) recommendations for implementation of professional standards in long-term care settings to facilitate supportive working conditions.

CONCLUSION

Eliminating the barriers to error communication requires moving toward a culture of safety. This involves both top-down and bottom-up approaches that allow nurses to feel comfortable being active participants in the error communication process.

Staffing-related deficiency citations in nursing homes.

Abstract

There is evidence that staffing characteristics influence quality of care in nursing homes. Federal and state surveyors conduct inspections of homes to assess their compliance with regulatory standards, including requirements related to staffing. Deficiency citations are issued when these standards are not met. This article examines the relationship between operational, facility, and market characteristics and organizational performance measured as staffing-related deficiency citations. Online Survey Certification of Automated Records (OSCAR) data from 2000 through 2007 were used with multinomial logistic regression analyses to identify factors associated with deficiency citations for staffing. Chain members and facilities with poor quality of care were more likely to receive deficiency citations for staffing. Greater bed count and competition between nursing homes were associated with a decreased likelihood of deficiency citations for staffing. Staffing-related deficiencies within nursing homes vary according to various operational, facility, and market characteristics.

Use of HIT for adverse event reporting in nursing homes: barriers and facilitators.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

Approximately 8 million adverse events occur annually in nursing homes (NHs). The focus of this research is to determine barriers and health information technology (HIT)-related facilitators to adverse event reporting among U.S. NHs.

METHODS

Surveys were returned by 399 nursing home administrators using a mailed survey approach. Respondents were asked to report on their adverse event reporting processes focusing on barriers and role of HIT facilitators.

RESULTS

About 15% of NHs had computerized entry by the nurse on the unit and almost 18% used no computer technology to track, monitor, or maintain adverse event data. One-third of nursing directors conducted data analysis "by-hand." NHs without HIT were more likely to not be accredited (p = 0.04) and not part of a chain/corporation (p = 0.03). Two of the top three barriers focused on fears of reporting as a barrier.

CONCLUSIONS

This study found numerous barriers and few HIT-related facilitators to assist with adverse event reporting. Improvements in facilitating adverse event reporting through the use of HIT approaches may be warranted.

Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders - a model for optimising the geriatric nursing practice environment.

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

To explain the relationship between a positive nurse practice environment (NPE) and implementation of evidence-based practices. To describe the components of NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) programmes that contribute to a positive geriatric nursing practice environment.

BACKGROUND

The NPE is a system-level intervention for promoting quality and patient safety; however, there are population-specific factors that influence the nurses' perception of their practice and its' relationship with patient outcomes. Favourable perceptions of the geriatric-specific NPE are associated with better perceptions of geriatric care quality.

DESIGNS

Discursive paper.

METHOD

In this selective critical analysis of the descriptive and empirical literature, we present the implementation of geriatric models in relation to the NPE and components of the NICHE programme that support hospitals' systemic capacity to effectively integrate and sustain evidence-based geriatric knowledge into practice.

RESULTS

Although there are several geriatric models and chronic care models available, NICHE has been the most successful in recruiting hospital membership as well as contributing to the depth of geriatric hospital programming.

CONCLUSIONS

Although all geriatric care models require significant nursing input, only NICHE focuses on the nursing staff's perception of the care environment for geriatric practice. Studies in NICHE hospitals demonstrate that quality geriatric care requires a NPE in which the structure and processes of hospital services focus on specific patient care needs.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE

The implementation of evidence-based models addressing the unique needs of hospitalised older adults requires programmes such as NICHE that serve as technical resources centre and a catalyst for networking among facilities committed to quality geriatric care. Unprecedented international growth in the ageing population compels us to examine how to adapt the successful components of NICHE to the distinctive needs of health systems throughout the world that serve older adults.

Hand hygiene deficiency citations in nursing homes.

Abstract

Hand hygiene (HH) is recognized as an effective way to decrease transmission of infections. Little research has been conducted surrounding HH in nursing homes (NHs). In this research, deficiency citations representing potential problems with HH practices by staff as identified in the certification process conducted at almost all US NHs were examined. The aims of the study were to identify potential relationships between these deficiency citations and characteristics of the NH and characteristics of the NH environment. We used a panel of 148,900 observations with information primarily coming from the 2000 through 2009 Online Survey, Certification, And Reporting data (OSCAR). An average of 9% of all NHs per year received a deficiency citation for HH. In the multivariate analyses, for all three caregivers examined (i.e., nurse aides, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses) low staffing levels were associated with receiving a deficiency citation for HH. Two measures of poor quality (i.e., [1] Quality of care deficiency citations and [2] J, K, or L deficiency citations, that is deficiency citations with a high extent of harm and/or more residents affected) were also associated with receiving a deficiency citation for HH. Given the percentage of NHs receiving deficiency citations for potential problems with HH identified in this research, more attention should be placed on this issue.

Measuring administrators' and direct care workers' perceptions of the safety culture in assisted living facilities.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Further understanding of patient safety in health care is still needed. This is particularly evident in long term care settings, where relatively little information exists. Safety culture has emerged as a critical component of efforts to improve patient safety; it is strongly associated with iniatatives that influence patient safety and quality of care. The safety culture of a large sample of assisted living (AL) facilities was examined.

METHODS

The Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture (NHPSC) was modified and used to examine safety culture. A random sample of AL settings from all 50 states was selected to participate. Respondents were AL administrators and direct care workers (DCWs) who completed the modified safety culture survey. The applied properties of the instrument are examined. A summary score for administrators and DCWs for each NHPSC item is also presented. These summary scores have a range from 0 to 100, with low scores representing a poor safety culture (and vice versa).

RESULTS

Information was received from 572 administrators (response rate = 57%) and 3,620 DCWs (response rate = 51%). The scores, using the 0-100 scale, fell into the 48-72 range for administrators and the 40-68 range for DCWs. Many of the scores were similar to those previously found in nursing homes.

CONCLUSIONS

AL is recognized as one of the fastest-growing institutional components of the long term care industry. The modified NHPSC performed well. Some areas of safety culture were perceived less favorably than in nursing homes. As such, some further attention to safety culture in AL is warranted. This study provides a first step toward assessing safety culture in this underexamined setting.

Nurses' disclosure of error scenarios in nursing homes.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Little work has explored the disclosure of errors in nursing homes (NHs).

PURPOSE

This paper reports how nurses would disclose hypothetical errors that occur in NH settings.

METHOD

A cross-sectional survey was given to a randomly selected sample of registered nurses (RNs) and registered practical nurses (RPNs) working in Ontario, Canada NHs.

RESULTS

Of 1,180 respondents, only half might provide full details and the cause of the error and provide steps in how the error would be prevented if they were in situations described by the hypothetical scenarios. Scenarios that were less serious had an almost 3 times higher likelihood of an explicit apology (OR 2.97; 95% CI 1.36-6.51; P = 0.007). Nurses who were RNs, had more education, had a prior history of disclosing a serious error, and agreed with full disclosure were more likely to respond to disclosing more information about the error. Nurses also reported numerous barriers to effective disclosure in their workplace.

CONCLUSION

Improvements in NH safety culture are necessary to enhance the error disclosure process.

Relationship between nursing home safety culture and Joint Commission accreditation.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Safety culture interventions in hospitals have been found to be associated with improved safety practices and outcomes. Studies in nursing homes generally report a poorly developed safety culture. Voluntary accreditation provides a structure for organizing care processes and is known to stimulate continuous quality improvement and thereby has the potential to stimulate improvements in organizational safety culture. The impact of Joint Commission accreditation on patient safety culture perceptions among senior managers in nursing homes in the United States was assessed.

METHODS

A random sample of 6,000 nursing homes was selected from all 50 states. The Nursing Home Survey on Resident Safety Culture was sent to these facilities, and nursing home administrators and directors of nursing were instructed to complete the survey. Scores were computed using the instrument agreement scale, in which the percentage of positive responses represented the summary score. Students' paired sample t-tests were used to compare differences in scores between respondents from accredited nursing homes and those from nonaccredited nursing homes. Multivariate analyses were then used to examine the association between accreditation and each resident safety culture (RSC) subscale, controlling for facility and market characteristics.

RESULTS

The analytic response rate for the sample was 67%. After facility and market characteristics were controlled for, senior managers in accredited nursing homes rated 8 of the 11 RSC domains significantly higher.

CONCLUSION

Joint Commission accreditation appeared to be associated with a more favorable RSC in nursing homes. Assessing a nursing home's RSC is an organization's first step toward improving the culture of safety. These findings support the need for further discussion and facilitation of voluntary accreditation in nursing homes.

Joint commission accreditation and quality measures in U.S. nursing homes.

Abstract

This study examines the association between accreditation and select measures of quality in U.S. nursing homes, both cross-sectionally and over time. Data analyzed in this research originated from a web-based search of The Joint Commission (TJC) accredited facilities and the Nursing Home Compare set of Quality Measures relating to physical restraint use, pain management, urinary catheter use, and pressure sores. Five-Star Nursing Home Quality Rating System information was also used to calculate overall quality measure and health inspection scores. Data were analyzed using negative binomial regression. Comparing quality in the year before accreditation with the 1st year after accreditation, all five Quality Measures and both Five-Star categories demonstrated improvement. In comparing quality after 8 years of accreditation, three of the Quality Measures examined continued to improve. There were no cases where accreditation was associated with decreased quality. These results indicate that TJC accredited nursing homes improve their quality immediately after accreditation but do not continue to improve in all areas over time.

Impact of voluntary accreditation on deficiency citations in U.S. nursing homes.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

 This study examines the association between nursing home accreditation and deficiency citations. 

DESIGN AND METHODS

 Data originated from a web-based search of The Joint Commission (TJC) accreditation and On-line Survey Certification of Automated Records from 2002 to 2010. Deficiency citations were divided into 4 categories: resident behavior and facility practices, quality of life, quality of care, and the most severe citations. Data were analyzed through negative binomial regression, where the number of residents at risk for each measure was the exposure level for that measure. 

RESULTS

 TJC-accredited nursing homes had fewer deficiency citations in all 4 deficiency categories examined. Comparing citations in the year of accreditation with the first year after accreditation, 3 of the 4 deficiency categories were significant. In comparing deficiency citations after 8 years of accreditation, all 4 categories of deficiencies were significant. In all cases, accreditation was associated with fewer deficiency citations. 

IMPLICATIONS

 Our results indicate that TJC-accredited nursing homes improve their quality immediately after accreditation and continue to maintain these improvements over the long-term. These findings support the need for further discussion and facilitation of voluntary accreditation in nursing homes.

Nursing home deficiency citations for physical restraints and restrictive side rails.

Abstract

This article examines whether nursing home facility-level characteristics are associated with the likelihood of receiving deficiency citations for physical restraints, including restrictive side rails. Data from the on-line survey certification of automated records were used to calculate odds ratios for facility-level characteristics associated with these deficiency citations. Repeat records from 2000 to 2007 were combined to produce longitudinal data. The results of this study show that restraint/side rail deficiency citations were negatively associated with higher staffing levels of registered nurses and licensed practical nurses (p ≤ .001) and higher Medicaid reimbursement rates (p ≤ .01). Citations were positively associated with greater nurse aide staffing (p ≤ .01) and higher quality-of-care deficiency citation percentiles (p ≤ .001). The extent of physical restraint and restrictive side rail misuse within nursing homes appears to vary according to various facility characteristics. It is less clear how internal processes within a facility bring about these observed patterns of variation.

Nurses' perceptions of error reporting and disclosure in nursing homes.

Abstract

Nurses have an obligation to disclose an error when one occurs. This study explored 1180 nurses' perceptions of error disclosure in the nursing home setting. Nurse respondents found disclosure to be a difficult process. Registered nurse respondents and nurses who had prior experience disclosing a serious error were more likely to disclose a serious error. The study has implications to improve nursing education, policy, and patient safety culture in the nursing home setting.

U.S. Department of Health adverse event reporting policies for nursing homes.

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to describe state policies for the frequency of adverse event reporting and follow-up that occurs in U.S. nursing homes, and to identify the health information technology used to facilitate these processes. The study was conducted using a mailed survey to the Departments of Health (DOH) in all 50 states, specifically the department that is responsible for the oversight and regulation of nursing home care. Thirty-two state DOH representatives participated. The primary variables examined were (1) which incidents were most commonly reported to state DOH and (2) whether or not they were followed up with a surveyor visit to the nursing home. There was wide variation in incident reporting processes across all states and lack of a standardized process. Abuse is the only adverse event that almost always is required to be reported to the state DOH and has the highest incidence of follow-up with a surveyor visit. Improving and standardizing adverse event reporting systems is a necessary strategy to enhance patient safety in nursing homes. This study provides an important step by increasing our knowledge base of the current state of adverse event reporting policies and processes at the state level.

Nursing home deficiency citations for infection control.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

This study examined the deficiency citation for infection control (ie, F-Tag 441). This information represents potential problems in infection control as identified in the yearly certification process of almost all US nursing homes.

METHODS

The data used came primarily from the Online Survey, Certification, and Reporting data base, which contains information on both deficiency citations and characteristics of nursing homes. The data for each nursing home from 2000 through 2007 were combined, providing a panel of 100,000 observations. Multivariate analyses and generalized estimating equations with a logit link were used.

RESULTS

An average of 15% of all nursing homes received a deficiency citation for infection control each year from 2000 to 2007. In the multivariate analyses, several staffing levels were robust in their significance. For all 3 types of caregiver examined (ie, nurse aides, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Registered Nurses), low staffing levels were associated with receipt of a deficiency citation for infection control.

CONCLUSION

The high number of deficiency citations for infection control problems identified in this study suggests the need for increased emphasis on these programs in nursing homes to protect vulnerable elders.

Current approaches to fall risk assessment in nursing homes.

Abstract

Although falls are the most frequently reported adverse events in nursing homes (NH), fall risk assessment is not standardized or regulated. The purpose of this study was to examine the types of fall risk assessment tools (FRATs) used in NH to identify which are used and the domains they include. Participating facilities completed a survey and were requested to submit a copy of their FRAT. A content analysis of the 137 surveys and 54 FRATs revealed that there was little consistency among the NH in terms of the type of FRAT used, and most of the FRATs submitted were not evidence-based. Improved and validated FRATs are needed to aid NH staff in evaluating NH residents who are at risk for falls.

Safety culture of nursing homes: opinions of top managers.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Examining the perception of patient safety culture (PSC) of top managers in health care settings is important because their orientation to PSC can have a large influence on the facility.

PURPOSES

In this research, the perception of PSC of nursing home administrators (NHAs) and directors of nursing (DONs) is examined.

METHODOLOGY/APPROACH

Primary data were collected to examine the opinions of NHAs and DONs regarding PSC. Information was collected from a large nationally representative sample of 4,000 nursing homes. The Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture survey instrument was used as a measure of PSC. This has 12 domains and 38 items. Bias indexes, intraclass correlation coefficients, and Pearson's product-moment correlation coefficients of the differences between NHA and DON item scores were examined.

FINDINGS

Using a 0-100 scale, most scores fell into the 55-80 range. Higher scores represent a higher (more favorable) PSC. Agreement between the NHAs and DONs was excellent in 10 items, good in 15 items, moderate in 4 items, and poor in 8 items. Of the four largest differences in scores, the NHA scores were higher than the DON scores for 1 item, and DON scores were higher than the NHA scores for 3 items.

IMPLICATIONS

The overall perception from both NHAs and DONs appear to represent a somewhat "positive" outlook from these top managers on their institution's PSC. However, NHAs in general report higher scores than DONs do. The areas of divergence between these top managers are further discussed, with a view toward directing future patient safety investigations and initiatives in nursing homes.

Nursing home deficiency citations for safety.

Abstract

Deficiency citations for safety violations in U.S. nursing homes from 2000 to 2007 are examined (representing a panel of 119,472 observations). Internal (i.e., operating characteristics of the facility), organizational factors (i.e., characteristics of the facility itself), and external factors (i.e., characteristics outside of the influence of the organization) associated with these deficiency citations are examined. The findings show that nursing homes increasingly receive deficiency citations for resident safety issues. Low staffing levels, poor quality of care, and an unfavorable Medicaid mix (occupancy and reimbursement) are associated with the likelihood of receiving deficiency citations for safety violations. In many cases, this likely influences the quality of life and quality of care of residents.

Fall risk care processes in nursing home facilities.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To explore the relationships between fall risk factors and care plan intervention and implementation.

DESIGN

Observational cohort study.

SETTING

Nursing homes in Central Ontario, Canada.

PARTICIPANTS

Residents (n = 635) of 8 nursing homes across Ontario, Canada.

MEASUREMENTS

Chart reviews and observational rounds on nursing units were carried out to examine how well nursing staff (1) identified fall risk, (2) documented nursing care plan interventions, and (3) implemented nursing care plan interventions in residents who had fallen in the preceding year.

RESULTS

Of the 635 fallers, two thirds (65.9%) had a history of falls. A total of 94 fallers across the 8 facilities had no fall risk care plan included in their medical record, despite having fallen previously. Only 63.46% of nursing care plan interventions were successfully implemented. Shorter length of stay (P

CONCLUSION

This study revealed significant breakdowns in care related to the lack of documented care plan interventions for residents with a history of falls, and lack of implementation in cases where care plan interventions were made. Policies and procedures to improve the selection and implementation of care plan interventions may result in substantial improvements in nursing home safety.

Falls communication patterns among nursing staff working in long-term care settings.

Abstract

Effective fall-risk communication both among staff and between staff and family members is vital for ensuring the safety of residents in long-term care (LTC) settings. This study uses focus group methodology to investigate how information about falls is identified, communicated, and responded to by licensed staff (registered nurses/registered practical nurses) and unlicensed staff (personal support workers) in four LTC facilities. The authors report on the major themes that emerged throughout the focus groups relating to falls management and report on similarities and differences in the communication processes between the two sampled groups. Results highlight communication of the resident's fall risk, reporting procedures to staff and family members, care plan communication and adherence information, a falls quality improvement knowledge deficit, and barriers to falls quality improvement. Recommendations toward improved communication networks among diverse LTC staff to enhance fall-reduction efforts in LTC settings are provided.

Assessing resident safety culture in nursing homes: using the nursing home survey on resident safety.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To examine the overall responses of nursing home staff to a newly developed nursing home specific survey instrument to assess patient safety culture (PSC) and to examine whether nursing home staff (including administrator/manager, licensed nurse, nurse aide, direct care staff, and support staff) differ in their PSC ratings.

METHODS

Data were collected in late 2007 through early 2008 using a survey administered to staff in each of 40 nursing homes. In 4 of these nursing homes, the responses of different staff were identified. The Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture was used to assess the 12 domains of the PSC and identify differences in PSC perceptions between staff.

RESULTS

For the 40 nursing homes in the sample, the overall facility response rate was 72%. For the 4 nursing homes of interest, the overall facility response rate was 68.9%. The aggregate Nursing Home Survey on Patient Safety Culture scores, using all staff types for all survey items, show that most respondents report a poor PSC. However, administrators/managers had more positive scores than the other staff types (P

CONCLUSIONS

Staff in nursing homes generally agree that PSC is poor. This may have a significant impact on quality of care and quality of life for residents.

Contractures in nursing home residents.

Abstract

Contractures represent a common but preventable source of excess disability among nursing home residents. They result in many negative consequences such as pain, increased fall risk and decreased functional ability. Studies of prevalence vary in the definition of contracture and thus the exact enumeration, but consistently report the commonality in the nursing home setting. In this population, the clinician should focus on tertiary prevention and/or treatment. Methods such as those consistent with restorative care nursing have shown improvement in function and are a reasonable recommendation as a preventive measure for contractures. Assessment, prevention, and treatment approaches are discussed.

Falls among community-residing stroke survivors following inpatient rehabilitation: a descriptive analysis of longitudinal data.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Stroke victims are at relatively high risk for injurious falls. The purpose of this study was to document longitudinal fall patterns following inpatient rehabilitation for first-time stroke survivors.

METHODS

Participants (n = 231) were recruited at the end of their rehab stay and interviewed monthly via telephone for 1 to 32 months regarding fall incidents. Analyses were conducted on: total reports of falls by month over time for first-time and repeat fallers, the incidence of falling in any given month; and factors differing between fallers and non fallers.

RESULTS

The largest percentage of participants (14%) reported falling in the first month post-discharge. After month five, less than 10% of the sample reported falling, bar months 15 (10.4%) and 23 (13.2%). From months one to nine, the percentage of those reporting one fall with and without a prior fall were similar. After month nine, the number of individuals who reported a single fall with a fall history was twice as high compared to those without a prior fall who reported falling. In both cases the percentages were small. A very small subset of the population emerged who fell multiple times each month, most of whom had a prior fall history. At least a third of the sample reported a loss of balance each month. Few factors differed significantly between fallers and non-fallers in months one to six.

CONCLUSION

Longitudinal data suggest that falls most likely linked to first time strokes occur in the first six months post discharge, particularly month one. Data routinely available at discharge does not distinguish fallers from non-fallers. Once a fall incident has occurred however, preventive intervention is warranted.

Nurses' perceptions of safety culture in long-term care settings.

Abstract

PURPOSE

To describe perceptions of workplace safety culture among nurses employed in long-term care (LTC) settings.

DESIGN

A cross-sectional survey. Respondents were licensed nurses (N=550) with membership in gerontological nursing professional organizations in the United States (n=296), Canada (n=251), and other (n=3).

METHODS

An anonymous, self-administered, mail-in questionnaire, which included the Hospital Survey on Patient Safety Culture as well as questions about individual and institutional characteristics. The survey included key aspects of safety culture, such as work setting, supervisor support, communication about errors, and frequency of events reported.

FINDINGS

Nurse-managers reported significantly more positive safety culture perceptions compared with licensed staff nurses. Additionally, licensed nurses employed in government-run facilities had significantly less positive safety culture perceptions compared with those working in nonprofit organizations.

CONCLUSIONS

Interventions designed to improve safety culture in LTC settings should be focused on the concerns of licensed staff nurses and the improvement of communication between these nurses and their managers.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Enhancing safety culture in long-term care settings may facilitate improvements in resident safety. Assessment of workplace safety culture is the first step in identifying barriers that nurses face to provide safe resident care.

Contractures in frail nursing home residents.

Abstract

Contractures are a common but preventable consequence of prolonged physical immobility among nursing home residents. Significant for their associated costs in institutions rendering care to frail elder residents, contractures further reduce mobility and increase the risk of other outcomes of decreased mobility, such as pressure ulcers. This secondary analysis examines the prevalence of contractures in 273 residents who participated in an interventional study focusing on reducing restrictive siderails. Almost two thirds of the participants had at least 1 contracture, with the most common locations being the shoulder and knee. Presence of pain and being non-White were significant predictors of contracture presence. This study highlights the high prevalence of contractures, the underlying factors associated with them, and the need to prevent or minimize contracture formation, including the role restorative nursing care plays in this avoidable condition.

Use of a falls incident reporting system to improve care process documentation in nursing homes.

Abstract

BACKGROUND

Falls are the most frequently reported adverse event among frail nursing home residents and are an important resident safety issue. Incident reporting systems have been successfully used to improve quality and safety in healthcare. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of a systematically guided menu-driven incident reporting system (MDIRS) on documentation of post-fall evaluation processes in nursing homes.

METHODS

Six for-profit nursing homes in southeastern USA participated in the study. Over a 4-month period, MDIRS was used in three nursing homes matched with another three nursing homes which continued using their existing narrative incident report to document falls. Trained geriatric nurse practitioner auditors used a data collection audit tool to collect medical record documentation of the processes of care for residents who fell. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to compare the post-fall nursing care processes documented in the medical records.

RESULTS

207 medical records of resident who fell were examined. Over 75% of the sample triggered at high risk for falls by the minimum data set. An adequate neurological assessment was documented for only 18.4% of residents who had experienced a fall. Although two-thirds of the sample had a diagnosis of incontinence, less than 20% of the records had incontinence-related interventions in the nursing care plan. Overall, there was more complete documentation of the post-fall evaluation process in the medical records in nursing homes using the MDIRS than in nursing homes using standard narrative incident reports (p

CONCLUSION

Further improvements are necessary in reporting mechanisms to improve the post-fall assessment in nursing home residents.

Broadening the patient safety agenda to include safety in long-term care.

Abstract

The recent patient safety literature has included less of an emphasis on long-term settings than on research in the acute care sector. Recognizing this knowledge gap in our understanding of safety in the long-term care sector, the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Capital Health (Edmonton) and CapitalCare (Edmonton) have collaborated to create a research and action agenda for improving resident safety in Canadian long-term care settings. This collaboration resulted in the development of a background paper highlighting the current state of the science and 14 key-informant interviews with stakeholders across Canada. The background paper subsequently informed an invitational round-table discussion. Key findings from the key-informant interviews as well as implications for research are described in this article.

Least restrictive or least understood? Waist restraints, provider practices, and risk of harm.

Abstract

Since implementation of The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987, restraint use in American nursing homes has reduced dramatically. The reduction in vest restraints has resulted in an increase in "least restrictive" devices such as waist restraints. Although this analysis of U.S. Food and Drug Administration Adverse Event Reporting Data Files found that waist devices pose the same potential risk for asphyxial death as vest restraints, few health professionals and consumers are aware of this outcome. Post-marketing device reporting needs better data quality and surveillance, which can certainly benefit the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in their efforts to regulate and enforce standards of care that reduce deaths and injuries to vulnerable nursing home residents.

Description of an advanced practice nursing consultative model to reduce restrictive siderail use in nursing homes.

Abstract

Researchers have demonstrated that the use of physical restraints in nursing homes can be reduced, particularly where advanced practice nurses (APNs) are utilized. We examined the link between APN practice, siderail reduction, and the costs of siderail alternatives in 273 residents in four Philadelphia nursing homes. The majority of participants were cognitively and physically impaired with multiple co-morbidities. APNs recommended a total of 1,275 siderail-alternative interventions aimed at reducing fall risk. The median cost of siderail alternatives to prevent falls per resident was $135. Residents with a fall history experienced a significantly higher cost of recommendation compared to non-fallers. Findings suggest that an APN consultation model can effectively be implemented through comprehensive, individualized assessment without incurring substantial costs to the nursing home.

Consequences of an intervention to reduce restrictive side rail use in nursing homes.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To examine the effect of an advanced practice nurse (APN) intervention on restrictive side rail usage in four nursing homes and with a sample of 251 residents. A secondary question explored the association between restrictive side rail reduction and bed-related falls.

DESIGN

Pre- and posttest design.

SETTING

Four urban nursing homes.

PARTICIPANTS

All nursing home residents present in the nursing home at three time points (n=710, 719, and 707) and a subset of residents (n=251) with restrictive side rail use at baseline.

INTERVENTION

APN consultation with individual residents and facility-wide education and consultation.

MEASUREMENTS

Direct observation of side rail status, resident and nurse interview for functional status, mobility, cognition, behavioral symptoms, medical record review for demographics and treatment information, and incident reports for fall data.

RESULTS

At the institutional level, one of the four nursing homes significantly reduced restrictive side rail use (P=.01). At the individual participant level, 51.4% (n=130) reduced restrictive side rail use. For the group that reduced restrictive side rails, there was a significantly (P<.001 reduced="" fall="" rate="" confidence="" interval="" to="" whereas="" the="" group="" that="" continued="" restrictive="" side="" rail="" did="" not="" demonstrate="" a="" significantly="" ci="-0.056-0.030).</p">

CONCLUSION

An APN consultation model can safely reduce side rail use. Restrictive side rail reduction does not lead to an increase in bed-related falls. Although side rails serve many purposes, routine use of these devices to restrict voluntary movement and prevent falls is not supported.

Reporting near-miss events in nursing homes.

Abstract

Since the Institute of Medicine report To Err Is Human was published in 1999, improving patient safety has become a major initiative for nurses working in all care settings. Nursing homes are a fertile environment for both a high frequency of adverse events to occur and a high number of institutional barriers to reporting them. This article outlines the barriers to reporting adverse events in nursing homes and provides support for why reporting near-miss events can serve as a means of reducing these barriers. It also provides recommendations and specific strategies for how to implement near-miss reporting systems in nursing homes such as policy changes, supportive leadership, and educating nurses about near-miss events. Further nursing research in this evolving area of patient safety is warranted.

The role of the nurse in an ambulatory stroke and cognition clinic.

Abstract

In this paper we described our approach to the development of the role of a nurse within a stroke and cognition ambulatory clinic at Baycrest. In developing this approach we integrated Baycrest's commitment to clients and family-focused care, our focus on interdisciplinary collaborative practice, the position of the post-rehabilitation clinic in the continuum of care, the clinical experience of the nurse and director, and the relevant scholarly literature. The role of the nurses in the stroke and cognition clinic includes assessment, interdisciplinary care planning, client/family support, and knowledge transfer.

Impact of a falls menu-driven incident-reporting system on documentation and quality improvement in nursing homes.

Abstract

PURPOSE

Data from incident-reporting systems have been used successfully in disciplines other than health care to improve safety. This study tested the effect of a falls menu-driven incident-reporting system (MDIRS) on quality-improvement efforts in nursing homes.

DESIGN AND METHODS

Following instrument development and testing, the intervention occurred over a 4-month period in three intervention nursing homes using the MDIRS matched with three homes using their existing narrative incident report to document falls. Data on fall incidents were collected from facility incident reports, and comparisons in incident-report documentation were made between the intervention and control groups. The minutes from quality-improvement meetings were examined to see how incident-report data were used for fall-prevention strategies.

RESULTS

Almost one third of nursing home residents among the six facilities fell during the 4-month study period. Intervention nursing homes had significantly better documentation of fall characteristics on the incident reports than did the control nursing homes. Although only one nursing home fully implemented the MDIRS intervention, all three facilities identified strengths of the system.

IMPLICATIONS

The MDIRS can have a significant impact in improving how nursing staff assess residents following a fall incident. Traditional narrative methods of documenting adverse incidents are time consuming and may not yield sufficient and accurate data. This model has the potential to enhance quality-improvement efforts and augment the current system of adverse incident reporting in nursing homes.

Use of a content analysis procedure for the development of a Falls Management Audit Tool.

Abstract

The Falls Management Audit Tool (FMAT) was developed to assess the documentation of the falls management process in nursing homes. The multistep content analysis procedure was used to guide tool development and obtain reliability and validity of the FMAT. Established fall guidelines and national experts were used for item development. Trained gerontological nurse practitioners conducted chart audits in nursing home residents with a fall history. Adequate content validity (content validity index > .88) and interrater and intrarater reliability were established (kappas > .78) in the final version of the 57-item FMAT and pilot testing demonstrated feasibility. This study provided evidence that the FMAT is a reliable and valid tool, which can be used to assess the documentation of the falls management process and for measuring the effect of research or quality improvement interventions.

Advance care planning and end-of-life care for hospitalized nursing home residents.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES

To describe advance care planning (ACP) and end-of-life care for nursing home residents who are hospitalized in the last 6 weeks of life.

DESIGN

Constant comparative analysis of deceased nursing home resident cases.

SETTING

A not-for-profit Jewish nursing home.

PARTICIPANTS

Forty-three deceased residents hospitalized within the last 6 weeks of life at a tertiary medical center.

MEASUREMENTS

Trained nurse reviewers abstracted data from nursing home records and gerontological advanced practice nurse field notes. Clinical and outcome data from the original study were used to describe the sample. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method and validated in interviews with a gerontological advanced practice nurse and social worker.

RESULTS

The analysis revealed distinct characteristics and identifiable transition points in ACP and end-of-life care with frail nursing home residents. ACP was addressed by social workers as part of the nursing home admission process, focused primarily on cardiopulmonary resuscitation preference, and reviewed only after the crisis of acute illness and hospitalization. Advance directive forms specifying preferences or limitations for life-sustaining treatment contained inconsistent language and vague conditions for implementation. ACP review generally resulted in gradual limitation of life-sustaining treatment. Transition points included nursing home admission, acute illness or hospitalization, and decline toward death. Relatively few nursing home residents received hospice services, with most hospice referrals and palliative care treatment delayed until the week before death. Most residents in this sample died without family present and with little documented evidence of pain or symptom management.

CONCLUSION

Limiting discussion of advance care plans to cardiopulmonary resuscitation falsely dichotomized and oversimplified the choices about medical treatment and care at end-of-life, especially palliative care alternatives, for these older nursing home residents. Formal hospice services were underutilized, and palliative care efforts by nursing home staff were often inconsistent with accepted standards. These results reinforce the need for research and program initiatives in long-term care to improve and facilitate individualized ACP and palliative care at end of life.

Accidental Falls
Accreditation
Homes For The Aged
Nursing Homes
Risk Management