The transition to a long term care home can be difficult for the individual and their family. Even if the move is voluntary, it is still a big change to a new environment with many unfamiliar faces. Family members have an important role to play in ensuring that this life change is successful. This applies to physical safety every bit as much as emotional wellbeing, particularly if the individual is frail and therefore at risk of falling, or might be prone to wandering. For the facility, what this means is that you should be ready to recruit family as part of your safety team.
In a recent project that I consulted on in a surgery department, we used the following lean tools to accomplish some significant changes. The first two weeks of this project were observation and spending time with the people who do the work. We went right to the gemba, which in lean methodology means the actual location of work, and as a result the improvements in this particular department were outstanding!
Take a few minutes to read this excellent article in The Boston Globe about the proliferation of alarming medical devices and the impact this is having on care.
In a nutshell, the sheer volume of alarms in the typical care environment is at or near the tipping point into overload. Johns Hopkins Hospital, for example, recorded a rate of about one critical alarm every 90 seconds on one unit.
It’s interesting to note the care they took to test not only for secure data encryption but also readability on a variety of devices.
There’s an excellent article in the January edition of Long-Term Living discussing trends in technology for senior care.
It’s great to hear about Lean processes being utilized and implemented in every area of a hospital. From clinical staff and daily workflow patterns to the overall flow of information and technology, all that we do in a given day must be designed to enhance patient care. We have to work fast and smart.
For a couple of decades now, senior care facilities have invested in radio-frequency-based systems to protect residents at risk of wandering. Typically, the resident wears a small tag on the wrist or ankle that triggers an alarm if they approach a monitored exit. This kind of targeted protection to residents who need it enables homes to remain, well… homelike! No need for locked doors or other restrictions of movement.
The incredible popularity of the Apple® iPad™ and smart phones of all kinds is quickly making an impact on the healthcare market. At the recent Consumer Electronics Show, there were all kinds of new tablets on display, including some specifically aimed at healthcare.
I’m sure everyone with even a passing interest in infant protection has been following the fascinating story of Carlina White, the young woman from Georgia who was reunited with her real parents some 23 years after being kidnapped from a New York City hospital.