Long-term care providers to pilot new teamwork training protocol

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A Medicare quality improvement organization is looking for long-term care providers to pilot its new teamwork training program, TeamSTEPPS.  According to the program's website, it aims to optimize performance among “teams of healthcare professionals, enabling them to respond quickly and effectively to whatever situations arise.”

The long-term care program, originally developed by the Department of Defense and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is similar to one used nationally in hospitals. The hospital data demonstrates that training can reduce errors, such as adverse drug reactions, from a rate of 30 to 18 per 1,000 patient days, according to the Hartford Courant and the Connecticut Health Investigative Team.

“We know communication is a major issue in errors – that people tend to work in silos,” said Ann Spenard, vice president of operations for Qualidigm, Connecticut's Medicare QIO, which created the nursing home protocol in cooperation with Abt Associates and AHRQ. “We think if we can help change that culture, there's an opportunity to improve patient safety in nursing homes.”

One strategy the hospitals have implemented is having morning “huddles” to discuss care plans, which could be applied to nursing home facilities, as well. The developers hope the training will reduce risk, reduce staff turnover and clarify responsibilities within long-term care settings.

Qualidigm is looking for a Connecticut nursing home to pilot the program in the fall. However, the training is also available nationwide to any long-term care provider via the TeamSTEPPS website.

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