Improving Quality in Long-Term Care: A Collaborative Evidence-Based Practice Project

Monday, 9 November 2015

Elizabeth Roe, PhD, RN
Nursing, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, MI, USA

This presentation will describe an ongoing collaborative evidence-based practice (EBP) project to improve quality in long-term care (LTC). The project is mutually beneficial to the University and the clinical settings involved. The goals of this project are: 1. To involve staff in EBP in the LTC setting, 2. To increase the knowledge and use of EBP in the LTC setting, and: 3. Improve quality and safety in the LTC setting. The project began five years ago when a Nursing faculty member from the University functioned as an EBP mentor in an acute care hospital, providing education on EBP and assisting staff in the identification of evidence-based questions with subsequent evidence reviews and recommendations.  One year ago this project extended to the LTC setting where the faculty member has been working with LTC staff in three different local agencies to identify clinical problems, complete EBP reviews, make recommendations, and assist with implementation of recommendations if needed. The faculty member serves as a mentor, helping nurses in LTC (at all levels) who are often unaware of EBP, integrate evidence into practice. This is especially relevant in LTCs which have a very low percentage of Registered Nurses, let alone nurses with baccalaureate degrees that are knowledgeable about EBP. This project has benefits for both the University and LTC agencies. Clinical agencies have increased the use of EBP and improved quality and safety in areas such as care of dementia residents, prevention of urinary tract infections, and retention of staff. In addition, staff at the agencies have increased their competency in EBP and seen firsthand the importance of EBP. Examples of the EBP reviews include prevention of UTIs in residents of LTC, recruitment and retention of LTC staff, and family communication. Changes in policies and procedures have occurred, along with recommendations for further research. The Nursing program at the University has benefited by the increase in the collaborative relationships with the agencies and opportunities for students.