Over the course of a year, the nation’s 15,600 nursing homes provide services to more than three million Americans. To ensure every nursing home resident receives the highest quality of care, Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organizations (QIN-QIOs) and their partners participate in the National Nursing Home Quality Improvement Campaign. As part of the Campaign, QIN-QIOs help nursing homes improve their performance on 13 National Quality Foundation-endorsed quality measures.
In Pennsylvania, home to more than 700 nursing homes, Quality Insights – the Quality Innovation Network-Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) serving Delaware, Louisiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – is piloting state-based Affinity Groups to provide technical assistance and peer learning around select quality measures. Beginning in August 2016, Quality Insights led two small Affinity Groups of nursing homes to concentrate on improving bladder and bowel incontinence. Using the Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement (QAPI) process as a framework, nursing home staff met virtually every other week using GoToMeeting for intensive sessions focused on forming process improvement teams, completing Root Cause Analyses, conducting Plan-Do-Study-Act cycles, goal setting and ongoing monitoring of the measures, and sustainability. During off weeks, nursing home teams worked together to complete homework assignments to prepare them for the following week’s session. Nursing homes also learned how they can meet residents’ needs by engaging residents and their families in all nursing home quality improvement activities. At the end of the 12-week program, the Affinity Groups celebrated their accomplishments, and nursing homes received certificates of completion.
Preliminary data show nursing homes participating in the Affinity Groups are seeing improvement on their bladder and bowel incontinence measure, according to the nursing homes’ own data tracking. Nursing homes also indicate they are adopting the best practices, tools and resources they received through their participation in the Affinity Group. In 2017, Quality Insights plans to introduce a QAPI Affinity Group for nursing homes that are just getting started with quality improvement, as well as Affinity Groups concentrating on reducing falls and the unnecessary use of antipsychotic medications.