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Communication among health care providers key to reducing errors

As loved ones such as parents or grandparents age, family members often grapple over long-term care options. In many cases, family members lack the financial and emotional resources to deal with an aging and ailing loved one. Individuals who have dementia or other chronic health problems often require round-the-clock care and supervision. As a result, many families turn to nursing home or assisted living facilities to care for aging loved ones

Nursing homes throughout the state of New York strive to provide residents with a clean, safe and caring living environment. As with any industry, however, nursing home and assisted living facilities are always looking for ways to improve care and reduce errors which could potentially result in patients being harmed. 

One safety organization recently introduced its plans to implement a new program called TeamSTEPPS which is geared towards those within the health care industry. Through various studies, researchers determined that many of the errors that occur within a health care or nursing home setting stem from poor communication between medical professionals. The TeamSTEPPS program, therefore, aims to improve and promote communication between all health care professionals within an organization.

One strategy recommended by the program's creators is the implementation of regular morning "huddles". These gatherings would allow nursing home staff members to discuss residents' needs and address questions and concerns prior to the start of a shift. Many New York nursing homes already strive to provide a culture in which staff members regularly communicate about residents' needs. Instituting an actual program such as TeamSTEPPS, would serve to further promote a culture in which open communication is routine, thereby improving the safety and care of nursing home residents.

New York nursing homes that are facing allegations and possible litigation related the neglect or abuse of nursing home residents would be wise to secure legal representation. In many cases, such claims are unfounded and an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters can help provide for the best possible outcome.

Source: McKinghts Long-Term Care News & Assisted Living "Long-term care providers to pilot new teamwork training protocol," Ashley Carman, July 19, 2013

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