08- Apr2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer

Five Tips For A Successful Care Conference

Patients who have been admitted to a nursing home are entitled to a care conference. At this meeting members of the interdisciplinary team will be in attendance to provide information about the patients (or resident as nursing homes call them) care plan.  The nursing home resident and their family support should be in attendance to ask questions and serve as an advocate for the resident.

The resident themselves should also be in attendance. However if this isn’t possible, the residents Power of Attorney or Patient Advocate should be there to receive information about the patients treatment plan.

Read Related: What Is a Care Conference?

As a family member or patient advocate it is vital that you attend the resident care conference so you can understand any changes in condition or treatment.  Changes in medical condition can occur quickly or over time and without context it may be difficult to understand the changes.

As important as the care conference is they are routine and as a result apathy can occur during the process. Here is a list of five things you should do to prepare for the resident care conference so it remains and effective care management tool.

List Your Concerns

Remember this is your chance to get questions answered with the entire treatment team in the same room.  It makes sense to prepare a list of concerns so they can be properly addressed. You should also check on any other concerns you had during the last care conference to make sure they have been corrected

Request the Chart

Just three years ago it was common to have patient charts available at the nursing desk to review.  After the Affordable Care Act, medical care organizations were mandated to incorporate electronic medical records to improve reporting.  The transition from paper and electronic medical records presents a challenge for family members. As a result, the chart might not be available for review without use of a computer. If a paper chart is not available, make sure the nurse reviews the electronic version with you.  The patient bill of rights requires them to do this.

Request Specific Staff

All key disciplines should be in attendance at the resident care conference.  The meeting should include a representative from nursing, therapy, dietary, activities and social work departments. Each department will present a report on their portion of the care plan. Special treatments like wound care, hospice or respiratory therapy should also be discussed. If you would like to have a specific staff member in attendance you should make that request prior to care conference.  Remember, the nursing home staff is very busy and it’s not unusual for them to attend multiple meetings in a day.  If they get the opportunity to skip a meeting they will take it. You can insure their presence by requesting their attendance prior to the meeting.

Ask For An Action Plan

Once you have communicated your concerns during the resident care conference it is important those concerns are address.  Even if you were carefully detailed in presenting your concerns, without an action plan, nothing will get fixed. Be sure to have the staff member running the meeting to repeat your concerns back to you to avoid misunderstandings.  Then ask for a date on which you can expect a report on the progress.

Be Polite

Remember no one is going to care for your senior family member like you do.  Even the best nursing home staff will not have the emotional attachment you have with your family member. This is especially important to remember when meeting with nursing home staff. It is important to be as professional as possible and limit emotional response.  The staff is there to do a job. Emotional responses like yelling or crying only slows the entire process.

Treat nursing home staff like a colleague at work.  They are members of a treatment team charged with taking care of your senior family member, just like you. If you keep an air of professionalism, you will have an optimal outcome.

06- Apr2017
Posted By: Tony Fischer

What Is A Nursing Home Care Conference?

What is a Care Conference?

Care Conference, Resident Care Conference or Interdisciplinary team meetings are all forms of meetings designed to communicate the care plan to the patient and their family.  Nursing Homes are required to hold a care conference for the senior and their family either on a regular schedule or at the patients request. These meetings are a key structure of communication with nursing home staff and should always be attended.

Who Should Be There?

The patient (or resident’s as nursing homes call them) should be in attendance and permitted to ask questions. The patient can also have a family member or advocate in attendance to help facilitate communication and understanding.

The nursing home staff in attendance should include: The charge nurse, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Activities Director, Dietary Director and Social Worker. If the resident is receiving treatments like wound care, hospice or respiratory therapy they should also be in the meeting.

Every aspect of the residents care plan should be reviewed at care conference.

List of documentation that should be reviewed include:

  • Care plan
  • Nursing notes
  • Therapy notes
  • Labs results
  • Clinical assessments
  • Medication list

How Often Are They Held?

If the resident is there for short-term sub-acute rehabilitation, care conferences are scheduled near the end of their stay.  If the resident is receiving long-term care, conferences are scheduled at 14, 30 and 90 days.  Special care conferences can also be scheduled in the event of a change in condition. Check with the social work office for the care conference schedule.

Don’t Skip The Meeting

The nursing home often schedules the care conference meetings as part of a system of compliance.  However just because a meeting is scheduled at a time in which you cannot attend ask the to reschedule. Care conferences are a very important and state mandated function to the nursing home communication process.  If you skip a meeting you are in danger of missing some very important information.