What if we told you that you can treat clean faster? This means that non-pharmacological tools can work faster than most as needed, oral medications used to treat anxiety, excessive agitation, and more.
In long-term care, and most other treating entities, CMS requires that healthcare providers attempt to use non-pharmacological interventions first before giving medications to treat symptoms of dementia and mental health concerns - anxiety, depression, agitation, wandering, repetitive behaviors, hoarding, aggression, and so on. Treating clean in this fashion is a Win, Win! Your organization is in compliance, it helps your 5-star rating and increases your reimbursement, while the resident or patient is not dealing with the negative side effects of these medications, like falls, confusion, irritability, and upset stomach.
The other advantage is that you can treat clean faster. Did you know that it can take minimally 30 minutes for as needed medications to start working, and sometimes it may take up to an hour?! Who has time for that when you have a resident or patient displaying the above mentioned symptoms? Here are some time frames for non-pharmacological interventions:
1. Anxiety - can treat with aromatic lavender essential oil = 22 seconds - 2 minutes
2. Depression - can treat with changing negative thoughts into positive ones = 1 minute
3. Agitation - can treat with soothing music = 2 minutes
4. Wandering - can treat with meaningful engagement = 2 minutes
And we can go on and on. Remember that everyone is different and what may work for one person may not work for others, as is the same when you use medications. However, these interventions work faster with really no negative side effects. Non-pharmacological interventions are a no brainer.
Train your staff to feel and act confidently in providing these approaches. This not only helps the residents or patients but also helps your staff feel they are being successful, increasing staff retention and morale.
All in all, treating non-pharmacologically is keeping you as an organization in compliance with CMS, it's improving your 5-star rating, increasing your reimbursement, improving staff retention and morale, and the resident or patient and their families are happier! Win, Win!