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Q: We update the facility assessment annually. How can we use it to improve resident outcomes? 

A: Facility-wide assessments determine the resources necessary to care for residents competently. Yet information from the facility assessment also can help improve resident care and outcomes. 

For this question, let’s focus on one required item: resident-level information, such as diseases, conditions, physical and cognitive disabilities, and overall acuity. This one item can inform multiple decisions regarding facility resources.

Budget-use — Facility assessments might prompt adjustments for resources such as the number and type of staff, equipment and staff education costs. For example, if the assessment shows a high volume of wounds, a facility might invest in a certified wound nurse, who could educate on wound care and treatments. 

Education — Apply resident diagnosis information to competency-based educational offerings for all staff. For example, if 60% of residents have a diagnosis of depression, provide staff education on depression. Similarly, review facility-acquired infections and have the infection preventionist develop education on preventing these types of infections.

QAPI — Compare the facility assessment to that of previous years. Look for trends that may merit a performance improvement plan. Decreasing infections, wounds, falls, weight loss and behaviors all improve resident outcomes. 

Annually reviewing the facility assessment can yield information that helps facility leaders tailor care delivery. Using that information as a planning tool to assist with budgeting, education and QAPI efforts provides an opportunity to care not only competently, but in a way that also improves resident outcomes.

Please send your nursing-related questions to Amy Stewart at [email protected]