Since early 2020, we have been faced with a pandemic that has challenged health care more than anything else in our lifetime. Therefore, it is important to focus on strategies to effectively evaluate and communicate acute changes of condition and how to provide prompt and complete follow-up for quality and positive outcomes.
With a COVID-19 infection, acute changes in condition can happen very rapidly in residents of LTC facilities. Being prepared with a good response plan is essential. In order for the clinician to make an informed decision regarding orders, transfer, care needs or new medications, it is crucial for the nurse to have all of the resident’s information ready to communicate when calling or discussing the change of condition with the practitioner.
The SBAR (Situation-Background-Assessment-Recommendation) technique provides a framework for communication between members of the health care team about a patient’s condition. INTERACT® (Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers) is a quality improvement program that focuses on the management of acute change in resident condition and includes clinical and educational tools and strategies for use in everyday practice.
View INTERACT® tools and resources>
The INTERACT® SBAR provides an exceptional guide for nurses to gather all pertinent information prior to calling the clinician. It also improves communication, provides a consistent language for the entire care team, provides the nurse with standardized criteria for resident evaluation, and has clear guidelines.
Implementation of the INTERACT® SBAR communication tool within your organization is a key strategy in a thorough evaluation and assessment of a resident with an acute change of condition in order to provide the clinician with informed decision-making. It is important to have good systems to identify:
- Who should fill this out in your organization
- Steps to implement it into your organization
- Communicating with physicians
- Discussion points for consideration – obstacles, competency needs, performance improvement needs
- Policy and Procedure discussion
- Paper vs. electronic considerations
As providers continue to move forward, INTERACT® QIP strategies can help support the following:
- Prevent conditions from becoming severe enough to require hospitalization through early identification and evaluation of changes in resident condition
- Manage some conditions without transfer when this is feasible and safe
- Improve advance care planning and the use of palliative care plans when appropriate as an alternative to hospitalization for some residents
- Improve communication and documentation within LTC facilities and programs and between LTC and acute care
- Integrate into ongoing QI initiatives (e.g., QAPI)
- Embed in Health Information Technology across care settings
Fostering consistent communication by using the INTERACT® SBAR will help to keep your quality “bar” raised for ensuring a quality mindset throughout your organization.
Lisa A. Thomson, BA, LNHA, CIMT – Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer
Susan LaGrange, RN, BSN, NHA, CDONA™, FACDONA, CIMT, IP-BC™ – Chief Nursing Officer