The Challenges of a Nursing Home Administrator During an Acquisition With the downturn of the economy, in recent years, it is an opportune time for companies to acquire businesses that are suffering. Unfortunately, healthcare facilities that assist long-term care patients fall victim to this misfortune in time. According to “Longtermcare.gov” (n.d.), “Most long-term care is not medical care, but rather assistance with the basic personal tasks of everyday life, sometimes called Activities of Daily Living” (What is Long-Term Care?). Chronically ill or disabled patients qualify for this specialty in medicine. Moreover, the elderly are most often associated with nursing homes or some other type of assisted living facility; which makes changes in this field challenging. After my elderly aunt fell and was seriously injured, I witnessed the turmoil that patients and family undergo to maintain a patients sense of dignity and peace of mind within the long-term care network. The experience caused me to launch a new career path as a Health Care Administrator with a concentration in Long-Term Care.
I am aware that as an administrator, my job would be a labor of love because I would manage a nursing home, hospice, or assisted living center where the residents are in a fragile mental and physical states. Caring for those in need who cannot help themselves is an incredible responsibility and I would ensure that all of my residents were cared for in the manner in which I would expect for myself. In my aunt’s case, my father had to endure many trips to the court house to obtain power of attorney to be able to set up physical care after her hospital release. My aunt was in a very fragile state and was not mentally or physically able to speak for herself. In retrospect, I realize that this process was eye opening for me. The challenges that my father faced to access her medical and financial records was daunting. Moreover, he had to keep records of all of the information, pay her taxes, report to the court and relay her medical information doctors, as needed. It was a relief to him when he was able to secure a worthy long-term care facility.
My aunt was blessed to have my father and pass away, peacefully, at the age of one-hundred. However, that is not always the case for many nursing home residents. Like the scenario in Option 1, nursing home patients often do not have a loved one to speak for them. In Michigan (my home state), a guardian is appointed by the court. The guardian becomes the point of contact for the patient and they make all of the decisions concerning their care if the patient if they are deemed mentally incompetent. Therefore, in the unfortunate event of an acquisition (Option 1), the court appointed guardian would be contacted to discuss the issue of moving with the patient. However, in my facility, I would do everything possible to ensure that the patient is placed in another nursing home that offers quality service. Moreover, I would make arrangements to have a discussion with my patient’s power of attorney as a caregiver who cares about the integrity and well being of her residents. As a nursing home administrator with displaced patients, I take action to lessen the anxiety of a move.
Elderly patients often do not like change and the thought of transferring their medical records could be another point of angst. While the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) is helpful within a facility, I would push to have Electronic Health Records (EHR) in place for the fluidity of patient care. According to “Healthit.gov” (n.d.), “Unlike EMRs, EHRs also allow a patient’s health record to move with them—to other health care providers, specialists, hospitals, nursing homes, and even across states” (Differences between Electronic Medical Records and Electronic Health Records). Therefore, I would discuss each displaced patient’s medical care needs with them (if they were competent) in one-on-one meetings to ensure that their information would be kept confidential during the move and answer any questions or concerns that they had.
Moreover, if the patient had a language barrier, would obtain a translator, that was trained in HIPAA policy, to meet their need during the transition meeting. I would not only be responsible for my patients care but I would have to adhere to federal and state laws to keep my facility open. According to “Learnsomething.com” (October 1, 2009), I would be responsible training all members of [my] workforce on the policies and procedures with respect to protected health information” (Title 45, Section 164.530 Administrative Requirements). In the case of an acquisition, the trained staff would know protocol in implementing the guidelines upon the release of the facilities residents. In a real life displacement scenario, nursing home residents in New York were forced to evacuate a facility due to a powerful storm. The residents were displaced for twenty days and then were informed that the nursing home was permanently closed. In that case, an attorney filed a law suit on their behalf because the closure of the building was illegal (Resident removal, 1999).
Therefore, if it deemed necessary, I would seek legal action for any potentially displaced residents. It is a sad place in our history when the most vulnerable people in our society are victims of the economy. Fighting for nursing home residents is the honorable thing to do because they often cannot speak for themselves. In the case of an acquisition of a nursing home, all provisions should be made to accommodate the patient. Ensuring that medical files secured will be transferred in a safe manner can ease some of the anxiety that a patient may have. Moreover, the move would be fluid using EHR’s. Talking with residents and answering any questions is another way to diffuse angst. As a health care administrator, it is imperative to be informed and adhere to HIPAA guidelines. In Michigan, court appointed attorneys are available to patients who do not have any loved ones to speak for them. Also, interpreters should be in place for those who have language barriers to assist in the move. It is my goal, as a Health Care Administrator, to not only manage a long-term care facility but be the voice for my residents.
Learnsomething.com. (October 1, 2009). Retrieved from https://www.courses.learnsomething.com/scripts2/content.asp?a=9F7B983E559541A692699E4D6709D56D&ph=783FD00A4EE440E7BB199F8299307842&r=BeginFlashCourse&screenw=1600&screenh=900 Longtermcare.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://longtermcare.gov/the-basics/what-is-long-term-care/ Stoil, M.J. (1999). Resident removal: A modern long-term care saga. Nursing Homes, 48(2), 12-13, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/218468842?accountid=458