Staff at Great River Klein Center — the long-term care (LTC) facility at Great River Health in West Burlington, Iowa — didn’t have any time to waste when The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its plans to suspend many planned surveys in favor of targeted infection control surveys, designed to assess facilities’ COVID-19 readiness.
“The timeline was a quick turnaround for what we were able to produce,” said Shana Augsburger, RN, director of nursing. “We didn't know when we were going to be surveyed, so we had to be ready. I feel like we came together and got things done quickly.”
COVID-19 is a challenge for LTC facilities tasked with the huge responsibility of caring for the most vulnerable.
“We had to rise to the challenge,” said Augsburger. “We followed guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa Health Care Association and the American Health Care Association. Once we understood what was expected of us, we made sure our electronic health record (EHR) supported that work and our policies. We were able to achieve a lot of that with Cerner.”
“We came up with care plan documentation and created a specific COVID-19 care plan, so every elder had one,” said Stephanie Hightower, LPN, informatics analyst, clinical informatics.
Klein Center’s COVID-19 PowerPlan™ included all orders and tasks needed to support the policies that staff put in place.
“I created a lot of tasks so staff could order a PowerPlan, which, for example, would trigger a respiratory assessment task and temperature task for them,” said Hightower. “Creating that documentation in PowerChart® is extremely important and helpful because you can go into results review and see all that information instead of digging through notes. You can see if there's a trend with their vitals or their respiratory assessment.”
Using the Cerner platform, Klein Center staff supported their efforts to successfully pass the infection control survey on April 29-30.
“I appreciate the partnership we have with Cerner, and together we have done — and will continue to do — some great things,” said Hightower.
After Klein Center staff shared their PowerPlan with Cerner, it was used to help other organizations.
“Great River frequently brings successful things they've done on their own to our attention. We take those ideas and experiences and incorporate them into our solution design and recommended workflows,” said Jennifer Nolan, RN-BC, QCP-CT, senior solution strategist, long-term post-acute care, Cerner.
From an infection control and prevention standpoint, the Klein Center staff knows they must remain diligent moving forward.
“We have to reach this new normal, which is probably our number one priority right now. As things are starting to open in the community and across the nation, we must stay persistent on surveillance,” said Augsburger. “We're relying heavily on the EHR, the tasks and PowerPlan. That stuff needs to be built within the record so we're maintaining our surveillance, but then we also kind of shift gears because there has to be life after COVID-19.”
When Klein Center staff did its exit interview with CMS, the surveyors commented they felt Klein Center contained some of the most prepared staff they’d spoken with.
“CMS said we could speak to the policy and the procedure and talk about what we were doing in surveillance and monitoring,” said Augsburger. “I feel proud of our staff for that, especially during a time where we were pushing mass amounts of information and change. They were able to speak to the policy and procedure so well because we built out the tasking and documentation in PowerChart to support those policies, and our staff were seeing and using it every day.”