Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC

Let’s face it: Working in a long-term care facility comes with a lot of risk. We have old, frail and/or chronically ill long-stay residents and very acutely ill short-stay residents. We have everything from a high risk of falls to frequent family member complaints.

You can “hide” from these realities and then try and do something reactively when they occur, or you can seek out the person in your organization who deals with risk management. Otherwise, well, to be honest, it is just plain stupid. And that’s like being in a car heading toward a brick wall and everyone’s arguing over where they’re going to sit!  

Let’s not waste our resources. Roberto Clemente was quoted, “If you have a chance to accomplish something that will make things better for people coming behind you, and you don’t do that, you are wasting your time on this earth.”

Come on, my friends, it really is easy to see where your areas of risk are. Do you use mechanical lifts? Have you had a skills and competency lab on using them properly, including how to match the right kind of sling to a resident? Do your nurses know how to create a risk mitigation care plan?

If a family member is complaining that mom hasn’t had a shower in a week, do you just check the CNA task sheets, or do you actually investigate? Do you have residents on medications used off label that are a “red flag” for surveyors and haven’t care planned for the risk of those side effects?

So, please, be proactive, seek out assistance — that is what smart people do. I mean, doing nothing is much harder because you never know when you are done!

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, Senior Director of Clinical Innovation and Education for Mission Health Communities, LLC and an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.