POC resident care (Point of Care) does not involve the typical testing phases like the preanalytical, analytical, and post-analytical phases. Instead, POC resident care focuses on providing bedside testing to patients and residents in a nursing home.
Thanks to multiple advances in technology, nurses and physicians can make use of portable POC testing devices, POC software, and other related nursing home software to provide quick testing, diagnosis, and treatment to residents.
Some of the benefits of POC resident care include:
- Faster access to diagnosis
- Faster treatments for residents
- Reduced expenses on external laboratory testing
- Decreased risk of medical complications
10 Tips for Improving POC Nursing and Testing
In recent times, there has been a technological shift due to the increasing use of POC nursing, point of care documentation and point of care software. POC documentation has particularly helped by reducing inefficiencies in skilled nursing facilities, decreasing the probability of medical errors made by nurses and physicians, promoting and enhancing communication, and encouraging nurses and physicians to spend more time with residents, giving them real-time information on their state of health.
There have also been several proposed theories that were meant to shape POC nursing. However, due to the complex and abstract nature of POC nursing, these theories were never properly understood and implemented by nurses in long term care facilities. As an alternative theory, the Fundamentals of Care (FOC) framework, was proposed as a replacement for previous theories.
This alternative framework serves to explain, guide, and potentially predict the quality of care provided to patients and residents by nurses. The care outcome for the patient/resident and the goal of the FOC framework can be achieved when the nurse and the patient/resident work together to integrate the following three core dimensions:
- Establishing the patient-nurse relationship
- Integrating the FOC into the patient’s care plan
- Ensuring that the patient/resident’s care setting is conducive to achieving Person-Centered Fundamental Care (PCFC) outcomes
The MHRA has created a simple framework to make improvement more possible. They offer the following tips to healthcare administrators as guidelines for POC nursing and testing:
- Involve your local lab: Your local lab can advise on using the purchased devices, additional training, and quality control and safety measures.
- Establish proper management structures: POC nursing and testing require clearly defined roles and hierarchy. This means a nursing home should have a POC testing coordinator and a POC testing committee.
- Observe high health and safety standards: POC tests typically involve body fluids, needles, and other waste reagents. These need to be carefully disposed of after use to prevent potential infections.
- Provide sufficient training: CNAs and other staff need adequate training on using their POC devices and other long term care software. Ideally, nursing home administrators should look for software providers that offer training modules together with their nursing home software.
- Always read the instructions: This may seem obvious, but medical professionals can often overlook it. Administrators must know what device to use, what is compatible, and what devices are inappropriate. This information can often be found in a device’s instruction manual.
- Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): SOPs make processes more systematic by setting clear guidelines. Ideally, nurses and physicians should create a “to-do list” and include the manufacturer’s instructions for the device to minimize errors.
- Practice quality control: Quality control ensures that POC testing follows and meets the expected standards for all health and safety protocols.
- Have qualified staff review results: When POC testing is completed, the results should be analyzed by a qualified physician or lab technician. Meanwhile, nursing homes also need to reference and update the resident’s medical history results so authorized staff can find the data in the long term care EHR software system.
- Document and store all information: Documentation is essential for long term care. Resident data needs to be updated regularly and accurately, with CNAs and RNAs documenting resident data immediately into their care plan software.
- Maintain all POC devices: POC devices (including POC software) must be properly stored and maintained. Maintenance practices include:
- Installing anti-virus software on PCs and other devices used in point of care
- Backing up important data stored on devices
- Having a technician open and clean dust in device internals
- Locking away portable POC devices such as tablets when they are not in use
- Have user controls such as passwords, to prevent unauthorized use of POC devices.
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POC for CNA: How to Choose the Best Software
Patient outcomes are what ultimately matter in healthcare and are the purpose behind POC for CNA. Administrators interested in improving POC resident care outcomes need to choose nursing home software that will meet and even surpass expectations. Administrators should also consider their point of care documentation and POC CNA needs when deciding on a new long term care software system.
Other factors that leadership should include when choosing long term care POC software are:
- A list of requirements as specified by nurses and other relevant staff in the facility
- Analytics tools to determine the facility’s budget and maximum spend on the long term care software
- Documentation and reporting capabilities
- Regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA compliance
- Ability to demo the software and its capabilities
- Customer support services during the initial and after the software’s installation
- Full list of the contract’s terms and conditions
The Importance of POC Resident Care
POC resident care and its associated technologies may be a new advancement in the long term care industry, but their benefits are already making a big impact. Nursing homes and SNFs that implement POC resident care and testing have quicker diagnosis, quicker treatments, and overall better patient outcomes.
Leadership interested in implementing POC systems should choose the best POC software while consulting with an external lab on what equipment and staff training is needed. Most importantly, nursing homes should implement strict quality control measures that are supported by proper management structures.
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