Ask the care expert ... about life safety code changes

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Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA
Sherrie Dornberger, RNC, CDONA, FACDONA, executive director, NADONA

I am a new ADON and heard there's a new life safety code, which I'll be responsible for. Is that true?

There will be new life safety codes shortly. However, in the Federal Register on April 16, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published the proposed updated rules.  You can Google them or look at some of your forms or compliance companies, as I am sure they can also give you the proposed new rules.

CMS will end the comment period for the newly proposed changes very soon, on June 16. 

The new rules update current standards from the 2000 edition to the 2012 editions of the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) LSC and the Health Care Facilities Code (HCFC).

When the new codes are adopted, they will apply across the long-term care continuum of healthcare facilities such as, but not limited to, PACE, LTC facilities and hospitals.

I also heard that we are supposed to check new residents on a sex offenders website. Do you know that website address?

It is www.nsopw.gov/Core/Portal.aspx. ALL new admissions should be checked prior to admission on this website.

As nurses, we need to protect all of the residents under our care. Looking at the website to be sure we are not bringing in a sex offender protects everyone at the facility — including staff — but in particular those residents with dementia who can't protect themselves.

It is not only required that we look up every potential resident, but it is also the right thing to do. Just remember when looking up the resident's name that many names are similar or common. Double-check, especially if you think you have a positive result.