At 67.7 percent, Camarillo Healthcare Center was trending lower than the state (68.8 percent) and national (68 percent) averages on the percentage of residents whose physical function improves from admission to discharge. This measure assesses the percent of short-stay residents whose independence in three mobility functions — transfer, locomotion and walking — increases over the course of the nursing home care episode.

Given the lower percentage, we asked ourselves, why are our scores trending so low? The answer: Nursing documentation indicates that the patient is functioning at a lower level than therapy documentation. MDS is primarily using nursing documentation to report outcomes, hence the lower scores.

The solution? Balloons! We implemented a new system whereby therapists are responsible for telling the rehab aides to put a balloon on the notice board above the patient’s bed to indicate that the patient is at an SBA level or better on the three mobility functions reported on this quality measure.

Meanwhile, CNAs were inserviced on the meaning of the balloons and told to decrease the amount of physical assists provided to these patients in the three mobility functions. MDS is also to check therapy and nursing documentation to get the most accurate data for reporting.

The goal is 90 percent improved function. With teamwork and our new balloon system, we are confident we will have successful results!

Julia Schmutz, DOR & Marjorie Cruz, DON – Camarillo Healthcare Center