Smart messaging for residents and families in LTC facilities

Posted by Susan C. Hull on Sep 1, 2020 2:19:00 PM
Susan C. Hull
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Long term care (LTC) administrative and clinical leaders face multiple challenges to establish effective communication practices to assure and protect health, well-being and safety for their residents. During public health emergencies (like COVID-19) communication needs for residents, families, and care teams are heightened. Leaders are seeking a digital and secure communication tool which is easy to implement and meets the pandemic-related regulatory requirements.

Residents, families and staff teams need a smart and integrated approach to shared communication for timely, consistent and real-time updates.

The optimum way to do this is to implement an “always on” patient-centric secure and interoperable communication platform to:

  • Consistently communicate to residents, families, and care teams about changes in care, conditions, and incidents.
  • Build relationships by assuring resident safety and peace of mind for family members.
  • Empower residents and families to be more engaged and accountable in care through shared decision making and safe care transitions.
  • Fulfill regulatory requirements, including the occurrence of Covid-19 cases.
  • Meet and assure privacy and security standards.


CMS requires nursing homes to report COVID-19 facility data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and to residents, their representatives, and families of residents in facilities[1]. CMS requires facilities to notify residents and their representatives to keep them up to date on the conditions inside the facility, such as when new cases of occur. These new data sharing requirements are additive to the routine communication needs for resident- specific care plan, condition, and treatment updates.

A single and integrated approach streamlines communication workflows for patients, families and care teams. This makes it makes it easy to:

  • Provide family members with a single source of information to receive personalized updates about their loved ones, and their COVID-19 testing and contact tracing status.
  • Send broadcast message updates to everyone who needs to be included about what the facility is doing overall to manage the pandemic.

A variety of messages types are needed, and message types should be able to be combined to improve the experience for patients, families and care teams.

  • Care teams need to compose personalized messages to any combination of designated resident, family and/or care team members. Examples include any kind of personal communication directed to one or more family members, incident notification and follow up, care plan meeting information, along with relevant attachments.
  • LTC facilities need be able to send broadcast messages to all residents and families, including information, forms, satisfaction surveys and updates about COVID-19 or other infectious outbreaks. Having one streamlined message disseminated to all parties gives the facility an audit trail of who reads the message or responds to the message, enabling the facility to respond to common questions quickly.
  • Automated messages should be triggered by events or data in the communication platform or pushed from the electronic health record (EHR). This way, families have real-time updates about the care and condition of their resident. Examples include changes to resident location, conditions, allergies, medications, immunizations, advanced directives, nutrition orders, and lab and radiology results.
  • Combined message types add communication and workflow efficiencies and contribute to patient and family satisfaction. For example, during an outbreak of an infectious disease, or pandemic, a personalized message about a resident should be sent to the family, care team and primary care provider (PCP) to report virus testing or contact tracing results. The facility also should be able to send a general broadcast message to every resident, family, and care team about virus conditions, updates and procedures in the facility.

In Summary, care and communication experiences for the LTC resident, families and care teams can be different. The “always on” secure digital communication platform and approach assures and protects resident health, well-being and safety. During a public health emergency (like COVID-19), this brings peace of mind to everyone supporting the resident in the center.

Learn more about how CareLoop helps establish smart messaging for residents and families in LTC facilities. Download our free e-book, How to Streamline Long Term Care Communication During a Pandemic.

long term care communication during a pandemic or infectious disease event

Topics: Smart Messaging

Susan C. Hull

Written by Susan C. Hull

Susan is a nurse executive, entrepreneur and informaticist passionate about transforming health and care through co-production. Board certified in nursing informatics and advanced nursing executive, her experience spans diverse roles including designing and managing a new children’s hospital emergency service, nursing and health system executive, healthy community partnership and community health information network (CHIN) executive, chief nursing and health informatics officer, consultant and researcher. Her leadership experience builds on participation in the start of the healthy community, population health and learning health system movements.

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