By: Ashley Strehl - Managing Editor of Digital and Print Publications
Showering, putting on clothes, and brushing our teeth. These are things that most of us do by ourselves every day without a second thought. For residents living within a long-term care community, they are called Activities of Daily Living, (ADLs).
In early November 2021, Voyage Long Term Care began installing iPads across its long-term care communities at Edmond Health Care Center, Skyview Nursing Center, and Oak Hills Care Center for the healthcare team members to chart the residents’ ADLs electronically instead of continuing the traditional method of charting ADLs by paper.
This new system was made possible with the help of their new Regional MDS and Clinical Nurse, Rochelle Malone, who was hired in September. Malone’s experience as an LPN and Wound Care Nurse at a long-term care community that used electronic ADLs made her a great candidate to help the organization set up the electronic ADLs within their own long-term care communities. “When I got here, I was told by my new supervisor, Sara Chapman, [Director of Clinical Reimbursement/Therapy] that ADLs were not being charted electronically, but that they were still doing them on paper. ” Malone said. “When I met the administrator at Oak Hills, she told me that they wanted to do their ADLs electronically. I talked about it with our COO, [Kip McElwee] and CEO, [Brad Underwood] and made it happen for all three communities.”
Malone began the transition by narrowing down the ADLs in the system in a way that would be more efficient for healthcare team members to chart, and she continued the transition by training healthcare team members how to use the electronic systems at their monthly in-service meetings. There is one iPad per hall in each long-term care community. Five electronic ADL iPads are at Oak Hills Care Center, which began using the devices in December. Two devices will be installed at Skyview Nursing Center, and three will be installed at Edmond Health Care Center. These long-term care communities will begin utilizing the systems by the end of the month.
More about ADLs Within Long-Term Care
Long-term care communities, like those under Voyage Long Term Care, that accept Medicaid funding, must chart all ADLs daily. This practice reassures the OSDH Long-Term Care Division, as well as the administrative team within each long-term care community, that the residents' daily needs are being met, and they are receiving assistance in any area that they may need it. Malone explained that while some residents could be independently performing many of their ADLs, there is still some form of supervision of those by healthcare team members that is still charted.
Charted ADLs include bathing and grooming activities, like shaving and brushing teeth, dressing, food, and fluid intake, getting on and off the toilet, getting in and out of bed, transferring to a wheelchair, and walking. “Anything that we do to take care of ourselves, we do for the residents, and it needs to be documented.” Director of Nursing at Oak Hills Care Center, Tiffany Moody, said.
Why Switch to Electronic Charting?
Malone explained that charting ADLs by paper can be a tedious task for healthcare team members. “It can take anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour when you’re charting your ADLs by paper at the end of the day.” Malone said. “Nursing teams were getting frustrated with that method. It was also taking their time away from caring for the residents. With electronic charting, it cuts that time in half.”
Not only is the process of charting ADLs electronically saving more time, Moody explained that this method also keeps those records more centralized and organized. “It makes it easier for us to locate each ADL this way,” Moody said. “Before, paper ADLs could get lost, and they made it difficult for us to keep track of them when we did audits or turned them into MDS. This way, everything is more accurate, easy to access, organized, and all in one place, it is just easier all around for everyone.”
Both Malone and Moody said that this is just another way to improve the residents’ quality of life. “The ultimate goal is to spend more time with our residents,” Malone said. “When a nurse or nursing assistant is done caring for a resident it’s much easier for them to quickly go to the kiosk in the hall and chart what they just assisted with, rather than waiting until the end of their shift and writing in a book for an extra hour or two.”
The fifth Core Value set by Voyage Long Term Care is Innovation, which states, “We strive to be first, be better, and to lead the industry in quality care through the use of cutting-edge technology,” and the organization is consistently finding ways to use this Core Value to inspire new ideas. “If you don’t use it, you lose it,” Moody said. “Charting ADLs electronically will help our team members assist residents with ADLs more efficiently, so the residents can be as independent as possible for as long as possible.”