Updated: Apr 18
Skilled nursing facilities are facing a change in the culture of their communities. This change involves learning to care not only for the frail elderly, but also for a younger population with their own set of challenging needs. Long-term care facility staff are responsible for the daily medical and custodial needs of their residents; and now they are faced more often with mental health, substance abuse and other issues of individuals entering the long-term care setting. Those with cognitive disabilities and dementia diagnosis are living longer with their diseases and there are behavioral challenges that come with longevity and disease progression.
Skilled nursing facilities are required under the federal Requirements of Participation, effective 2019, to have the following:
BEHAVIORAL HEALTH - §483.40(a) "sufficient staff who provide direct services to residents with the appropriate competencies and skills sets to provide nursing and related services to assure resident safety and attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident" ..... These competencies and skills sets include, but are not limited to, knowledge of and appropriate training and supervision for: §483.40(a)(1) Caring for residents with mental and psychosocial disorders, as well as residents with a history of trauma and/or post-traumatic stress disorder,"
TRAUMA INFORMED CARE - §483.25(m) "The facility must ensure that residents who are trauma survivors receive culturally competent, trauma-informed care in accordance with professional standards of practice and accounting for residents’ experiences and preferences in order to eliminate or mitigate triggers that may cause re-traumatization of the resident."
STAFF TRAINING - § 483.95 which includes, communication, resident rights and facility responsibility, and behavioral health training
Under these federal requirements, long-term care facilities are responsible for not only treating the medical needs of residents - but they must also have competent staff who are capable of assessing residents' psychosocial needs and treating them from a person-centered, individualized perspective. Federal regulations make long-term care facilities responsible for treating the whole person.
These regulations, implemented in 2019, have created a new set of challenges for long-term care facility staff nationwide. While we not only face critical staffing shortages, we are also faced with staff who often express that they do not have the training to deal with these challenging situations. The inability to deal appropriately with these situations may ultimately lead to poor outcomes in resident treatment and care. It may also cause high employee turnover, safety concerns for residents and staff, and increased family concerns and complaints. How do long-term care facilities handle these growing concerns?
Cue the professionals from Tobin & Associates, a healthcare recruitment organization that has more than 20 years of experience in the industry. Through their experience, they have developed a staff training program to assist long-term care facilities with increasing resident and staff satisfaction, safety and quality of life, decreasing resident to resident abuse, medication usage, and staff turnover, and normalizing resident sleep patterns.
"LifeBridge© provides training and support for all facility personnel in communicating and dealing with residents presenting behavioral challenges being accelerated during times of crisis, focused on "attaining or maintaining the highest practicable physical, mental and psychosocial well-being of each resident" says Natalie Holliday, Executive Coordinator for Tobin & Associates.
The program is funded through the CMP Reinvestment Program and began in March 2022. It has proven, successful outcomes after one year, with a 75% or more success rate in areas of normalized sleeping patterns, reduction in medication usage, and reduction in resident agitated behaviors. It is a 24 hour/day, 7 day/week in-house service program that provides extensive education to the entire disciplinary team. All LifeBridge programs are completely individualized to the facility's current needs and are delivered through the Zoom platform live with LifeBridge trainers. Based on facility needs and pace, the program takes approximately 6 - 8 months (one 1-hour training session per month) and then quarterly review sessions.
If you would like more information about the LifeBridge program, funded through the North Carolina CMP Program, please contact Kayleigh Langworthy at email@example.com or at 888.336.7800 ext. 1264.
This project runs through February 2025.