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In long-term care facilities and other healthcare facilities, patient interaction is the key to getting people the specific care that they need. Patient interaction is when a physician or nurse talks to a patient who needs medical care. The physician will listen to and use the information provided to decide how to help them feel better. This principle lies at the center of patient-centered care

Patient interaction includes communication, physical contact, and emotional support, and its role in care cannot be understated. Indeed, studies have shown that properly-managed nurse-patient relationships can improve a patient’s quality of life, giving them comfort and happiness. 

Long-term care software has become increasingly important in this area, as caregivers have come to realize the importance of technology in improving such interactions. Elder care software programs, such as electronic health records (EHRs), can be used to manage patient records, set reminders for medications and appointments, send messages for health advice or updates, and store data that can help with decision-making. With these tools, healthcare providers can better assess the needs of their patients and provide personalized care.

For physicians and long-term care leaders looking to improve resident and patient interaction in their facilities, here are the six keys to effective patient interactions:

A nurse with a satisfied resident in a facility that prioritizes patient interaction.
By taking the time to fully understand the patient or resident’s perspective, the physician or nurse can better identify their needs and concerns.
  • Listen to understand, not to respond: By taking the time to fully understand the patient or resident’s perspective, the physician or nurse can better identify their needs and concerns, and provide more personalized and effective care. This builds trust, reduces miscommunication, and allows residents to feel heard and respected. 
  • No two people are the same: Every resident has their own unique set of experiences, values, and beliefs that shape their perspective and understanding of their healthcare. By recognizing and respecting this individuality, physicians and nurses can better address the needs and concerns of each nursing home resident. ‘
  • Avoid tones and gestures that can be perceived as threatening: When long-term care residents feel threatened or anxious, it can be more difficult for them to communicate openly and honestly with their healthcare provider. But when physicians and nurses are approachable and friendly, residents are more likely to cooperate with them in the health care process.
  • Validate emotions: If a patient or resident feels that their emotions are not being acknowledged, they may become frustrated or feel unheard, which can lead to a breakdown in the patient-provider relationship. But taking the time to understand and be empathetic toward their concerns can build trust and improve the overall quality of care.
  • Learn about their interests and needs: By asking patients and residents about their concerns, preferences, and goals caregivers can help improve resident satisfaction and outcomes while also helping to build trust and a positive relationship. This can also help CNAs identify barriers or challenges that may be impacting their care and work with them to overcome those obstacles.
  • Never be defensive: When patients or residents feel that their nurse or physician is defensive, they may start to think they can’t communicate openly. On the other hand, when healthcare providers remain calm and open-minded, even when faced with criticism from residents or challenging situations, it can build trust and facilitate better communication.

In the next section, we will discuss LTC software and how it can enhance resident interaction in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care facilities. 

How LTC Software Enhances Patient Interaction

LTC software plays a vital role in enhancing resident interaction in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care settings by improving communication, coordination, and overall care delivery in these settings. Some of the benefits that senior care software provides that enhance patient interaction are the following: 

Improved communication and care coordination

By utilizing an EHR system, long-term care professionals can quickly and easily access a resident’s medical history, including diagnoses, medications, allergies, and test results. This helps to reduce errors and improve the quality of care, as nurses and physicians have access to all the necessary information they need to make informed decisions.

One of the key features of an EHR system that enables improved communication and care coordination is the ability to share information with other healthcare professionals, externally or internally. For example, a physician can easily share a patient’s medical records with a nurse or specialist, which ensures all members of the care team are informed about a resident’s updated condition and treatment plan.

Another feature of EHR systems that can improve communication and care coordination is the ability to generate alerts and notifications. For example, if a resident’s medication needs to be adjusted or if a test result is abnormal, the EHR system can automatically send an alert to the appropriate caregiver. This ensures that any necessary actions are acted on in a timely manner.

Reduction of medical errors, resulting in improved care outcomes

The best LTC software systems tend to come with a centralized, cloud-storage database for storing and accessing resident information. This helps to reduce medical errors and improve care outcomes through a number of mechanisms. For example, NetSolutions EHR includes decision support tools that help healthcare professionals identify and avoid potential errors. These tools may include alerts for inappropriate prescribing, alerts for potential drug interactions, and alerts for potential allergies.

This technology stores all of a resident’s medical information in one place and can easily retrieve it, thus preventing missing or incomplete records. This is particularly important in long-term care facilities, where residents may receive care from multiple healthcare professionals over an extended period of time.

Greater transparency and information accessibility

Nurse teaching a nursing home resident how to use LTC software resident's portal
Resident and family portals are web-based systems that allow residents or their families to access and manage a range of information related to their health and care. 

A centralized data repository in an LTC EHR allows healthcare professionals to access up-to-date information about a resident’s condition. In addition, EHR systems typically have reporting tools that allow nurses to generate reports for individual residents or for an entire facility. These reports can be used to assess the overall quality of care, as well as areas for improvement.

Another way that LTC software promotes transparency and information accessibility is through resident and family portals. These are web-based systems that allow residents or their families to access and manage a range of information related to their health and care. 

For example, a resident portal can provide access to test results, medical history, immunization records, medication lists, and other important documents. This ensures that all parties involved in the care of a resident have access to the same information. Live chat options open other doors of communication. 

Thanks to the implementation of LTC software, many medical patients and residents are now afforded a unique opportunity—they can easily engage their physicians by asking them questions through the portal as well as see their own lab results. This not only helps people feel more informed and involved in taking care of themselves but also allows caregivers to provide better quality service that is catered towards the needs and preferences of each resident.

Contact us here if you would like to improve patient interaction in your facility.

Barriers to Adopting EHRs and Improving Interaction With Patients

The use of senior care software systems enables greater transparency and information accessibility for both residents and their families, thus improving interaction with patients. With LTC software, healthcare providers can generate alerts and notifications, reduce medical errors, and provide decision support, all of which are beneficial for patient interaction. However, there still may be barriers to making this change. 

The reality is that patient interaction skills can only take you so far. Teams also need proper support and technology to be able to communicate with the tens of residents at their facility. That is why barriers to senior care software adoption are, in turn, barriers to patient interaction. 

A nurse using medical equipment that does not help in enhancing interaction with patients
Some of the barriers to long-term care software adoption include a lack of technical know-how among long-term care staff.

These barriers to long-term care software adoption include the following:

  • A lack of technical know-how among long-term care staff
  • Inadequate financial resources to pay for LTC software 
  • A lack of integration between different nursing home software providers
  • Inability to keep up with ever-changing long-term care regulations

Of course, while this software makes communication faster and easier, there are also ethical concerns related to the potential dehumanization of patient interactions that results from becoming overly-reliant upon technology for communication. For example, if a patient’s medical records are entered into an EHR, the nurse or doctor may no longer need to physically visit the patient to assess their condition. This could lead to a decrease in face-to-face interaction and potentially even emotional detachment from the patient.

To keep human connection at the forefront of technology-driven healthcare settings, it is important for long-term care facilities to remain aware of the potential ethical implications and take steps to ensure that patient interactions involve sufficient real human contact. This could mean providing training in communication techniques as well as offering regular opportunities for staff members to connect with residents on an individual basis.

How Experience Care Works to Improve Patient Interaction

By leveraging the power of technology, long-term care facilities can improve patient interaction and provide better quality care. However, there are still several barriers to the effective adoption of LTC software—such as a lack of technical know-how—which must be addressed in order to ensure successful implementation. Additionally, healthcare providers need to remain aware of the potential ethical implications that come with using technology as a means of providing medical services. 

Experience Care’s NetSolutions is an excellent solution that fulfills the expectations caregivers have from software while also bridging the gaps caused by digital documentation. Just one success story is Chatuge Regional Nursing Home, which was able to improve retention significantly by switching to Experience Care and conducting med passes in a fraction of the time. 

The team at Chatuge was able to bring back twenty-five to thirty percent of the nurses who had left on account of spending too much time behind their screens and not enough with residents. The new software solved this issue and inspired them to work in long-term care once again. Read their story here

For more on recent trends in long-term care, read our blog and subscribe to the LTC Heroes podcast

Elijah Oling Wanga