As health care providers, we all want to provide the highest quality of care possible to our patients. Member facilities of the Louisiana Nursing Home Association have made a special effort to implement changes and best practices to improve quality of care.

Data regarding quality shows great improvement by Louisiana nursing facilities:

  • RN staffing increased 75 percent in Louisiana nursing facilities as compared to 44 percent nationally.
  • Total nurse staffing increased 19 percent in Louisiana as compared to 13 percent nationally.
  • The development of pressure ulcers decreased faster in Louisiana than in the nation.
  • Neuroleptic medication use decreased by 16 percent.

According to the American’s Health Rankings 2013 edition, Louisiana’s seniors rank second-worst in the nation in health measures such as diabetes and other conditions. These factors contribute to the health outcomes that are experienced in the facilities. (A patient with more severe medical conditions has a greater likelihood of not showing improvement.)

When one dives more deeply into the Federal Survey results (December 2014), the improvements in quality are apparent. Compared to the national average, Louisiana is superior in several areas of quality. Louisiana has fewer facilities found to be in substandard quality of care compared to the national average; it has fewer facilities with immediate jeopardy deficiencies; and it has more with deficiency-free surveys.

A cost-saving achievement took place when LNHA, working in concert with the Department of Health, succeeded in reducing the number of overall beds. Over the past 10 years, Louisiana’s nursing facilities accomplished an intentional reduction of beds from 40,000 beds to approximately 35,000 beds, a 12.5 percent decrease — the equivalent of 35 fewer nursing facilities being taken offline. If your community has a nursing facility, it is comforting to know it will be there when a loved one needs it, whether it’s for long-term care or a short-term rehabilitative stay.

It is important for long-term care service providers to be regulated in order to assess their effectiveness in providing quality and a safe environment. Long-term care encompasses a full spectrum of services in a variety of settings, including assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities, and home- and community-based services. There are varying levels of care based on the patients’ needs. Frail, elderly and disabled individuals should be cared for in a setting that meets their clinical needs, while taking into consideration their personal desires. Not everyone who requires long-term care services can have their needs met through home- and community-based care. Many of Louisiana’s elderly and disabled need the around-the-clock care of a nursing facility.

LNHA is committed to help our member facilities improve lives by delivering solutions for quality care. For more information, visit www.lnha.org.

Joseph A. Donchess

executive director, Louisiana Nursing Home Association

Baton Rouge