By Adam Bowie, The Daily Gleaner
Publication: The Daily Gleaner; Date: Nov 12,2015; Section: News
A new software program designed to make it easier for staff in nursing homes to report slaps or kicks from patients will be the first of its kind in Canada and should help to make the workplace safer for both employees and residents across New Brunswick.
Thanks to a partnership between the New Brunswick Continuing Care Safety Association, the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, and representatives form the Netherlands’ Patient Safety Company, long-term care facilities across the province will soon have a new online tool to help staff with the reporting and management of troubling incidents in nursing homes.
Unfortunately, it’s quite common for nursing home staffers to be slapped, kicked, or pushed while caring for patient in distress, particularly those living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The union that represents New Brunswick’s nurses polled 115 members who work in nursing homes in 2014 and found that 65 per cent had experienced some form of physical abuse in the pas year and 78 per cent had experience verbal abuse.
With the new reporting software, employees will be encouraged to fill out a simple reporting form online, even if it’s only to record a pinch. When that form is submitted, the information becomes immediately available to everyone who needs to know about what happened and for data-tracking purposes.
The program launched at the Passamaquoddy Lodge in St. Andrews this week. The goal is to have nursing homes across the province using the new system by February.
Denise Paradis, executive director of the New Brunswick continuing Care Safety Association, worked closely with officials in the Netherlands for months to develop this software, noting that the Dutch are considered innovators in the delivery of long-term care.
She said the program will offer administrators better information about incidents between staff and residents.
“No other safety association in Canada is directly connected to each of its members. We have to rely on out-dated statistics from (WorkSafe) to set our prevention programs,” she said.
“This means in most cases, we are looking only at the big events that are WorkSafe claims and not all the little incidents that have lead to the more serious injury. This program will allow (us to gain) a true picture and better prevention measures, which can only enhance the type of care provided to our residents.”
Michael Keating, executive director of the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, said this will help encourage employees to report the many small incidents that occur that are rarely reported, which will give administrators a better understanding of what’s happening day to day in each facility.
“The (association) is proud to lead the way in Canada by introducing real-time analysis of safety issues,” he said.
“The integrated approach to reporting, investigating, and recommending plans of action will allow us to predict risks and take preventive action, making the workplace safer.”
This is the second safety initiative to roll out in the province’s nursing home sector in recent days, following a separate announcement form the Nursing Home Workplace Violence Prevention Working Group.
Marilyn Quinn, president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, said workers across the province will soon benefit form a new toolkit for nursing home employees across the province, which will help them identify, develop, and share resources and training.
“There’ll be signage, new posters going out to the nursing homes,” she said.
She said that initiative will also offer improved guidance for nurses around the reporting of incidents in the workplace.
Quinn said the new software will help to capture improved data from those working in long-term care facilities.
“The New Brunswick Nurses Union welcomes the addition of an electronic safety program as another important step in the continuing efforts to improve worker and resident safety,” she said.
“Understanding health and safety trends is key to prevention. When incidents go unreported, it is difficult to put measures in place to prevent future occurrences.”
- The Daily Gleaner