Pandemic Nursing is a new term that describes nursing care that is rushed, physically overwhelming, and emotionally draining and provided to an onslaught of critically ill patients. There are numerable contributing factors and adverse results related to Pandemic Nursing. I have witnessed firsthand in the halls of long-term care facilities and recognize the toll this environment is having on the nurses. The frantic, adrenalin pumping reaction to the disaster of the day, coupled with total exhaustion. Working in a Pandemic Nursing environment is a direct threat to patient safety. Is your facility working under Pandemic Nursing conditions? To assess the risk, answer these questions: Is the pace of work hectic? Is the station and records frequently disorganized? Have there been financial strains on the facility? Is there a shortage of staff? Has the nurse-to-patient ratios fluctuated higher? Has the level of care the patients require increased? Is the facility having difficulty recruiting and retaining staff? Add to this list of struggles the increased daily workload of, continuous donning of PPE, increased discharges and emergencies, isolated and depressed patients and constant testing and swabbing. Unfortunately, the results of practicing Pandemic Nursing are bad patient outcomes. A recent article by the Institute for Safe Medication Practices reported an increase of serious increased medication errors coupled with a trend by nurses to try
Annual Surveys resume, are you ready? Surveyors have returned to facilities after the licensure and certification surveys were suspended early into the pandemic when nursing homes closed their doors to visitors. AHCA visits in 2020 only focused on complaints and infection control issues. Many facilities have not had an annual licensure & certification survey since 2019 and nurses suffering from “Pandemic Nursing” may not be prepared to be scrutinized. One Director of Nursing recently admitted “He was particularly concerned about the many opportunities for serious medication errors when providing what he called “pandemic nursing” care—the rushed, physically overwhelming, and emotionally draining care provided to an onslaught of critically ill patients.” During the past year staff may forget the details or get used to taking short cuts just to get their job done. While facility staff are still dealing with COVID19 and ever-changing priorities they must be ready when the annual inspection returns to the building We must recognize that human factors and working in healthcare during a pandemic can easily lead to medication errors. A perfect storm for serious medication errors is created by: The hectic pace and disorganization of “pandemic nursing” The constantly under-resourced healthcare environment High nurse-to-patient ratios due to staffing shortages The exhausting and continuous donning of PPE The need for any available nurse, not necessarily the
Florida Health Care Association Chief Lobbyist and Navy senior chief, Bob Asztalos has been visiting nursing centers throughout the state of Florida to present them with medals honoring their service. The Florida Veterans Foundation has participated in these very special recognitions that honors the service of those who have served our country. For the oldest vets, who may have served in World War II, the nursing centers are now their home. Each veteran is honored in a ceremony and presented with a medal for their service. The program began when Florida Health Care noticed the World War II vets were dwindling at their annual Veterans Day breakfast. “We felt like we needed to recognize those veterans before they are all gone,” Asztalos explained, “but we also discovered Vietnam veterans who have so much conflicting emotions over their service.” One Vietnam veteran cried in gratitude and said it was the first time a person ever thanked him for his service. For more information on how you can honor your veterans complete the form below.
All long term care facilities are required to have an effective immunization program that reflect current standards of practice. Receipt of vaccinations is essential to the health and well-being of long-term care residents. Influenza outbreaks place both the residents and staff at risk of infection. If your facility does have an outbreak, the CDC offers the following guidance. Flu Vaccines must be offered to patients October 1st through March 31st. Facilities are encouraged to promote 100% staff participation in flu shots to prevent outbreaks. Got to www.flu.gov for useful information and resources for your Influenza Vaccination Program. The following forms can be used for education, promotion and documentation of your facility’s Immunization Program. CLICK HERE for the CDC Long-Term Care Toolkit for valuable information. INFLUENZA VACCINE INFORMATION SHEET (English) INFLUENZA VACCINE INFORMATION SHEET (Spanish) POSTER/FLYER 65 YEARS+ (English) POSTER/FLYER 65 YEARS+ (Spanish) POSTER/FLYER HEALTHCARE WORKER (English) POSTER/FLYER HEALTHCARE WORKER (Spanish) Sample Consent Form
Post Traumatic Stress and the Elderly After Hurricane Irma that displaced thousands of people and left them without power many elderly patients find it hard to “bounce back” from the stress. The sudden and overwhelming nature of natural disasters can leave many shocked, emotional and uncertain about their future. The constant warning and 24/7 news coverage of destructive weather this year can take a major toll on anyone’s mental health. People can develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder” at any time after experiencing a traumatic event, but 30 days is the minimum to receive a diagnosis. After Hurricane Harvey and the catastrophic flooding, many people are suffering acute symptoms such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder and fear of the unknown. For the elderly and those who have a history of mental illness or dementia they are at a greater risk for developing PTSD. Signs of PTSD include flashbacks and nightmares, avoidance of situations that bring them back to the trauma, heart pounding, trouble breathing. The condition can also lead to feelings of depression and anxiety as well as insomnia. Being displaced during a storm, staying with other people (even family) needing to throw away damaged items, having to buy a refrigerator’s food, dealing with blocked streets and downed trees are stressful for healthy adults and even more so for an elderly