One-third of all skilled nursing residents experience temporary harm or adverse events during their stay, and about 60% of those instances are preventable, according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General. 

To help lower these numbers, late last year the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a 60-page “Change Package” designed to help nursing home staff and providers work with residents and families to prevent, detect and mitigate harm. 

Developed in partnership with the Quality Innovation Network National Coordinating Center, the manual is based on visits with high-performing nursing homes around the country with a track record of preventing harm while honoring residents’ rights. 

The report includes a two-page primer, which prioritizes steps to take. In it, authors suggest focusing on six key strategies: shoring up staffing; knowing the residents and their needs and planning care with them; preventing, identifying and addressing gaps in care; promoting excellent multidisciplinary team work; providing tangible leadership engagement with staff and residents; and ensuring excellent, competent, available, continuous care — onsite.

“There is no single magic bullet to prevent all causes of harm,” report authors state. “Therefore, the Change Package covers a wide range of strategies and actions.”