Nursing homes are constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of residents and improve the delivery of medical care.

Brenda Latham has seen many changes over the course of her 41-year career as a registered nurse working in skilled nursing care centers.

“When I first started out, we took medications from amber bottles and used an egg crate pill tray,” Latham said. “Then we advanced to medicine carts with bottles. Then we moved to medicine punch packs. I’m the type of person that believes changes are good.”

The willingness to adapt is why Latham and the team she manages at Birmingham Nursing & Rehab Center were the perfect group to implement a new, person-centered medication program. It began with 30 residents living in a specific area of the center.

Latham explains the new system: “In the past, we’ve had the regulations of times such as giving medicine within one hour before the time or one hour after the time. We took a small group of residents, worked with the doctors and received approval from state regulators. We changed from standard times to upon arising, with meals or food and at bedtime. Because when you’re at home, you take your medicines just like that. You don’t set your alarm clock to wake up at 6:00 a.m. to take medicine. If you want to go to bed at 8:00 p.m., you don’t wait until 9:00 p.m. to take your sleeping medicine.”

The results speak for themselves. The amount of time it took nurses to give medications to every resident on the unit was cut in half. There was a 31% decrease in the number of times medicine was given each day which led to less disruptions of the nursing home residents daily activities. The nursing staff’s job satisfaction related to medication administration improved by 80% and nurses have more time to deliver other medical services.

The positive results of the trial group led Birmingham Nursing & Rehab Center to gradually expand the program to all long-term care residents. The Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation (AQAF) assisted the center during the transition.

“It works and it improves staff satisfaction and resident satisfaction which always improves family satisfaction rates,” AQAF Care Pathways Coach Kristi Hosey said. “There’s clinical evidence to support this. Brenda and her staff went above and beyond to make this happen.”

Because of the success, Birmingham Nursing & Rehab Center was selected to present “Say No to Drugs: Providing Person Center Care by Reducing the Medication Pass” at Alabama’s Best Practices on August 27 in Birmingham.

Click here for detailed information on how to implement Birmingham Nursing & Rehab Center’s best practice in your nursing home.