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5 Areas to Evaluate Your Staffing Partners

As an administrator at The Meadows of Central Massachusetts, an 82-bed transitional care facility that provides skilled nursing and rehabilitation, Stephen Fortin is familiar with today’s staffing issues in health care settings.

For six years, Fortin has consulted with nearly two dozen nursing homes, providing a range of actionable items they can implement to improve their staffing and assess quality. And while his focus has been on SNFs, the lessons learned translate to senior housing.

That’s because Quality Assurance (QA) is designed to improve quality of care and daily workflows, and prevent recurrences of errors or harm. For senior housing operators who rely on staffing agencies, gaining insight into how agencies vet and oversee the third-party staff entering their buildings is a daunting task.

Among Fortin’s regular recommendations is to work with one organization in particular: IntelyCare.

“If you form a relationship with IntelyCare and their IntelyPros, they form one back with you,” he says.

“I think it’s always difficult when you’re hiring agency staff to ensure that that staff is at the same level as your team,” adds Lynn Barry (MSN, RN), Senior Director of Clinical Operations at IntelyCare. “So we’re here to partner with both the facilities and our nurses to raise the level of care that we can provide to this most vulnerable population.”

IntelyCare underwent accreditation from The Joint Commission and built its own QA team to ensure that all senior housing communities fill nursing shifts with qualified, engaged and reliable nursing professionals. Operators can know if their staffing partners are taking quality assurance seriously by evaluating them in five key areas:

  • Staffing
  • Organization-wide quality
  • Training and education
  • Clinical and professional complaints
  • Daily workflows

Staffing

The first step in knowing that a staffing partner takes QA seriously is in their staffing process itself, Fortin says. Operators must verify that all temporary and full-time staff members meet their specific standards.

“Our team has a broad scope of practice and expertise — floor nurses, Medicare surveyors, DONs, and more — giving us the ability to address the variety of nursing concerns that come our way,” Barry says.

Organization-wide quality to avoid clinical and professional complaints

Operators should be wary of staffing partners that are not prepared to assist with regulatory and compliance matters, Fortin says. He notes that his teams conduct regulation reviews quarterly, with the HR department reviewing any complaints that come in from state or local health departments.

“If any nursing or CNA staff has their license suspended or is brought into question, there’s a much stricter focus on that individual and their reporting and their oversight,” Fortin says.

IntelyCare tracks attendance and tardiness, no-call no-shows and professionalism in both appearance and attitude for its staff.

Mandating training and education to encourage upward mobility

Staff burnout is a massive problem in health care, which many nurses and CNAs attribute to the lack of career flexibility and upward mobility. The onus is then on operators to ensure that all CNAs and nursing staff have been credentialed and meet the standard of education.

IntelyCare offers a host of training and education programs for nursing staff to fulfill their continuing licensure needs. They developed IntelyEdu to provide nursing professionals with access to educational resources, with more than 180 education modules.

IntelyCare also assigns staff with specific knowledge or certifications to work with operators. One post-acute facility where Fortin worked required all nursing staff to be IV-certified. IntelyCare only sent them nurses who already had that certification.

“Even in the contracting phase, when you’re negotiating those areas, IntelyCare is already one step ahead of it,” he says. “When they’re ready to send staff, they’re sending qualified staff.”

Maintaining daily workflows

All of this sounds like a lot of work and a lot for operators to manage. It is. To combat it, IntelyCare creates a system of policies and procedures to help reduce that workload by fitting all of this into the community’s existing workflows. And when it comes to working with a community’s staff, the IntelyPros themselves are a net-add.

“I’ve never had an IntelyCare staff interrupt our daily workflow,” Fortin says. “They’re always participatory, they’re always willing to help.”

Boosting referrals and revenue

For Fortin, the IntelyCare platform improves two areas of his work:

  • establishing relationships with temporary staff
  • boosting referrals because of increased patient satisfaction

“We did see increases in referrals,” he says. “Most nursing homes aren’t taking weekend referrals, so if you have a good weekend admissions nurse, you can still take those referrals and admit on the weekend.”

When using IntelyCare staff instead of FTEs, Fortin has seen a 10-20% reduction in cost on a quarterly basis. He attributes this largely to the access to quality IntelyCare staff.

“Then you can follow up, you can ask them questions, you can talk to them outside of work. You can even try to solicit them to pick up more shifts,” Fortin says. “In my experience, 90% of the time they do, whether the nursing home’s a one-star facility or a five-star facility. If they like where they’re working, they can come back and it’s no different than treating our own staff that way. That’s the best thing that I like about IntelyCare.”

This article is sponsored by IntelyCare, and is adapted from the new IntelyCare – Skilled Nursing News white paper “Top Quality: 5 Areas of Evaluation for Your Staffing Partners.” To learn how IntelyCare can help your community, visit intelycare.com.

The post <strong>5 Areas to Evaluate Your Staffing Partners</strong> appeared first on Senior Housing News.

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