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In this second part regarding how Nursing Home and Hospital Surveyors look at pain management in the nursing home we are going to look at some of the definitions they use for common concepts. If you remember, the State Operations Manual (SOM) provides much guidance to Nursing Home and Hospital surveyors on how to investigate and survey facilities. In regards to pain managment, the guidance provides the following definitions at F309 in Appendix PP:

“Addiction” – a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. Addiction is characterized by an overwhelming craving for medication or behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.

Adjuvant Analgesics” refers to any medication with a primary indication other than pain management but with analgesic properties in some painful conditions.

“Adverse Consequence” – an unpleasant symptom or event that is due to or associated with a medication.  Examples would include impairment or decline in a resident’s mental or physical condition or functional or psychosocial status and various types of adverse drug reactions and interactions.

“Adverse drug reaction” (ADR) is a form of adverse consequence that may be either a secondary effect of a medication that is usually undesirable and different from the therapeutic effect of the medication or any response to a medication that is noxious and unintended and occurs in doses for prophylaxis, diagnosis, or treatment. The guidance goes on to explain to nursing home and hospital surveyors that the term “side effect” is often used interchangeably with ADR; however, side effects are actually one of five ADR categories. The other categories of ADRs are hypersensitivity, idiosyncratic response, toxic reactions, and adverse medication interactions. A side effect is an expected, well-known reaction that occurs with a predictable frequency and may or may not constitute an adverse consequence.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM) –  a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be a part of conventional medicine.

Non-pharmacological interventions” are approaches to care that do not involve medications, generally directed towards stabilizing or improving a resident’s mental, physical or psychosocial well-being.

“Pain” – an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that can be acute, recurrent or persistent. The guidance then breaks this down further and provides the following descriptions of several different types of pain:

“Acute Pain” – generally pain of abrupt onset and limited duration, often associated with an adverse chemical, thermal or mechanical stimulus such as surgery, trauma and acute illness;

“Breakthrough Pain” – an episodic increase in (flare-up) pain in someone whose pain is generally being managed by his/her current medication regimen;

“Incident Pain” – typically predictable pain that is related to a precipitating event such as movement or certain actions; and

“Persistent Pain” or “Chronic Pain” – a pain state that continues for a prolonged period of time or recurs more than intermittently for months or years.

“Physical Dependence” is a physiologic state of neuro-adaptation that is characterized by a withdrawal syndrome if a medication or drug is stopped or decreased abruptly, or if an antagonist is administered.

“Standards of Practice” refers to approaches to care, procedures, techniques, treatments, etc., that are based on research and/or expert consensus and that are contained in current manuals, textbooks, or publications, or that are accepted, adopted or promulgated by recognized professional organizations or national accrediting bodies.

“Tolerance” is a physiologic state resulting from regular use of a drug in which an increased dosage is needed to produce the same effect or a reduced effect is observed with a constant dose.

So with those definitions Nursing Home and Hospital Surveyors are more prepared to evaluate the pain management program in a Long Term Care Facility. The knowledge they gain from these guidelines also serve them well as they look at pain management in other facility types. It is, though, more common to find inadequate pain management in a long term facility. We will continue with the discussion of pain management the n ext time. Meanwhile, keep yourself informed as to what is required of facilities, whether nursing home, clinic, hospital, hospice, dialysis or whatever. You are then more empowered to watch for, comment on, and report problems you see.

Remember, Be your own advocate!

JL

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People often ask how they can keep updated in regard to changes in interpretive guidelines for CMS Conditions of Participation.  One of the best ways is to review the CMS Survey & Certification Letter website. 

The website can be found at:
http://www.cms.hhs.gov/SurveyCertificationGenInfo/PMSR/list.asp#TopOfPage
I hope this helps answer your questions. The CMS website is a wealth of information, if you just know where to find it. You will find many other things on the website as well, and if you take some time to explore it, you will find things you never imagined you wanted or needed to know.

JL

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Admin Note: After some further discussion with MSH, I also provided her with the following information. MSH stated under duress she had to sign admission papers saying they would only use particular physicians. I provided this information in hopes that it would be of help to her, and to you if you find yourself in similar circumstances.

I shared certain portions of the federal regulations and the guidance to surveyors with MSH that applied to her situation. The regulation itself is in black, the information in purple is not the regulation, but is guidance CMS uses to interpret the regulation, and my statements are in blue

The resident has a right to a dignified existence, self-determination, and communication with and access to persons and services inside and outside the facility. A facility must protect and promote the rights of each resident, including each of the following rights

 

All residents in long term care facilities have rights guaranteed to them under Federal and State law. Requirements concerning resident rights are specified in §§483.10, 483.12, 483.13, and 483.15. Section 483.10 is intended to lay the foundation for the remaining resident’s rights requirements which cover more specific areas.

These rights include the resident’s right to:
Exercise his or her rights (§483.10(a));
Be informed about what rights and responsibilities he or she has (§483.10(b));
If he or she wishes, have the facility manage his personal funds (§483.10(c));
Choose a physician and treatment and participate in decisions and care planning (§483.10(d));  

 

§483.10(d)(1) Free Choice – The resident has the right to choose a personal attending physician

The right to choose a personal physician does not mean that the physician must or will serve the resident, or that a resident must designate a personal physician. If a physician of the resident’s choosing fails to fulfill a given requirement, such as §483.25(l)(1), Unnecessary drugs; §483.25(l)(2), Antipsychotic drugs; or §483.40, frequency of physician visits, the facility will have the right, after informing the resident, to seek alternate physician participation to assure provision of appropriate and adequate care and treatment. A facility may not place barriers in the way of residents choosing their own physicians. For example, if a resident does not have a physician, or if the resident’s physician becomes unable or unwilling to continue providing care to the resident, the facility must assist the resident in exercising his or her choice in finding another physician.

Before consulting an alternate physician, one mechanism to alleviate a possible problem could involve the facility’s utilization of a peer review process for cases which cannot be satisfactorily resolved by discussion between the medical director and the attending physician. Only after a failed attempt to work with the attending physician or mediate differences in delivery of care should the facility request an alternate physician when requested to do so by the resident or when the physician will not adhere to the regulations.

If it is a condition for admission to a continuing care retirement center (CCR), the requirement for free choice is met if a resident is allowed to choose a personal physician from among those who have practice privileges at the retirement center. (If the facility your loved one is at is not a CCR then this paragraph does not apply – and he/she should not be required to choose from a certain set of physicians)

A resident in a distinct part of a general acute care hospital can choose his/her own physician, unless the hospital requires that physicians with residents in the distinct part have hospital admitting privileges. If this is so, the resident can choose his/her own physician, but cannot have a physician who does not have hospital admitting privileges.

If you feel what they are doing is in violation of this information (they are not allowing the choice of physician), then I suggest you call in a complaint to the department of health for your state, the division that oversees the licensing and certification of nursing homes.

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After the nursing home survey team has finished with the survey, the members will then write the issues they found. This writing is done on the “Statement of Deficiencies”, commonly referred to as the “2567”. The number “2567” refers to the number CMS has assigned to the statement of deficiencies form.
The statement of deficiencies is written in terms specific enough to allow a reasonably knowledgeable person to understand the aspect(s) of the requirement(s) that is (are) not met. This is when the team will also make a final determination of the level of Severity and Scope. You can refer to my previous post on “The A to L of Nursing Homes” to understand a little more about how surveyors grade a nursing home.
So that is just a little bit about how a nursing home surveyor prepares to conduct a nursing home survey and the tasks they must perform during the course of the survey.
Now you must remember that because of the process of sample selection, the nursing home survey team does not look at every resident or patient in a nursing home or hospital. Because of this, there are many times that problems within a nursing home or hospital are not found. This is where it becomes so important for you, the public healthcare consumer, report the problems you find to the local licensing & certification agency who conducts these surveys. You are, in essence, a second set of eyes to help the survey agency know where to look and who to ask. Even then, though, it can become quite difficult to “prove” anything. It is becoming frequently more common for nursing homes and hospitals to challenge the findings from a survey. If the nursing home team does not have all the information to show the failure to follow the regulation the deficiency can be “thrown out”. So when you do report your complaints to a survey agency, give them as much information you can, including names, dates, specific times, actions, etc. The more you can tell them the better the nursing home surveyors chances are in substantiating your complaint.
JL

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