The Obama administration is initiating changes to nursing homes regulations that are geared to modernize and improve care in nursing facilities that receive Medicare and Medicaid payments. The changes were announced at the White House Conference on Aging on July 13 2015.
Proposed nursing home regulations would strengthen oversight of antipsychotic drugs, initiate more training on dementia care and develop a more homey living environment.
Some of the most innovative initiatives include limitations on the use of antipsychotic drugs, more extensive training on Alzheimer’s and dementia treatments and a shift away from a medical model of care to more resident oriented care.
New Nursing Home Regulations would update antiquated regulations
The current Medicare/Medicaid laws and regulations have not been updated for approximately 30 years and do not include many new health initiatives. The proposed changes will require nursing homes to incorporate new advances in electronic communications and recent developments in medial management and infection control.
New Nursing Home Regulations would make facilities more homey
One welcome change that is being proposed shifts the style of care residents receive. Currently most nursing facilities follow an institutional model of care that is determined by the staff. The new model will be homier and include more family and resident input. Some of these actions would require facilities to “provide suitable and nourishing alternative meals and snacks for residents who want to eat at non-tradition times or outside of scheduled meal times.”
Another modification would allow residents to choose their own roommates. This would allow same-sex couples, siblings, other relatives, or long- term friends to share accommodations.
New Nursing Home Regulations would develop more stringent rules on drug usage
Finally there will be more safeguards against misuse of medications. Each facility’s pharmacist will be required to monitor drugs that are prescribed for excessive periods of time.
New Nursing Home Regulations still omit federal nurse-to-resident ratio requirements
One sad omission is a demand for a federal minimum nurse-to-resident ratio requirement. Nursing home advocates have been demanding that facilities require a specific number of staff to patient care. However according to the new proposals nursing homes will be required to report staffing levels, which Medicare officials said they will review for adequacy.
For a more in-depth discussion of these proposed changes read Susan Jaffee article for Kaiser Health News by clicking here
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