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Policy Recommendations Regarding Skilled Nursing Facility Management of Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19): Lessons from New York State

Lester, Paula E; Holahan, Timothy; Siskind, David; Healy, Elaine
To provide policy recommendations for managing Coronavirus 19 (COVID-19) in skilled nursing facilities, a group of certified medical directors from several facilities in New York state with experience managing the disease used e-mail, phone, and video conferencing to develop consensus recommendations. The resulting document provides recommendations on screening, protection of staff, screening of residents, management of Coronavirus 19 positive and presumed positive cases, communication during an outbreak, management of admissions and readmissions, and providing emotional support for staff. These consensus guidelines have been endorsed by the Executive Board of the New York Medical Directors Association and the Board of the Metropolitan Area Geriatrics Society.
PMID: 32674814
ISSN: 1538-9375
CID: 4528432

Medication Reconciliation: An Educational Module

Lester, Paula E; Sahansra, Sukhminder; Shen, Mark; Becker, Maria; Islam, Shahidul
Introduction/UNASSIGNED:Patients often transition between health care settings, such as office to hospital, hospital to nursing facility, or hospital to home. When a patient is admitted, it is imperative that clinicians review prior medication lists along with new orders to reconcile any discrepancies. This process should occur in a standardized manner to reduce medication errors leading to adverse events and patient harm. Methods/UNASSIGNED:We developed this program as an instructional method via PowerPoint to teach the importance of accurate medication reconciliation. We implemented the program in multiple grand rounds settings with students, trainees, and attending physicians in internal medicine and surgery. Approximately 150 learners attended the sessions. We assessed learners with pre/post self-efficacy assessment (74 completed precourse surveys, 39 completed posttest surveys, and 49 participated in the audience response during the course) and multiple-choice knowledge questions. Results/UNASSIGNED:The results of the postcourse knowledge assessment demonstrated improvement in every question we tested, with two of the improvements reaching statistical significance. We found that 30% of attendees were not at all confident or only somewhat confident in conducting an appropriate medication reconciliation on admission to the hospital. Additionally, 82% of respondents reported that the presentation was likely or extremely likely to improve their medication reconciliation efforts. Discussion/UNASSIGNED:Our educational program was successful in improving learners' knowledge in every question we tested; however, only two of the improvements were statistically significant. Our program is an organized and effective tool for teaching effective and reliable medication reconciliation.
PMCID:6952281
PMID: 31934615
ISSN: 2374-8265
CID: 4263212

The Looming Geriatrician Shortage: Ramifications and Solutions

Lester, Paula E; Dharmarajan, T S; Weinstein, Eleanor
Objective: Geriatricians are skilled in the recognition of asymptomatic and atypical presentations that occur in the elderly and provide comprehensive medication management including recognizing adverse drug events, reducing polypharmacy, and de-prescribing. However, despite the increasing average age of the U.S. population, with the number of individuals above 65 years old predicted to increase 55% by 2030, the geriatric workforce capacity in the United States has actually decreased from 10,270 in 2000 to 8,502 in 2010. Method: We describe physiologic changes in older adults, historical trends in geriatric training, and propose solutions for this looming crisis. Results: Many factors are responsible for the shortage of skilled geriatric providers. Discussion: We discuss the historical context of the lack of geriatricians including changes to the training system, describe the impact of expert geriatric care on patient care and health system outcomes, and propose methods to improve recruitment and retention for geriatric medicine.
PMID: 31583940
ISSN: 1552-6887
CID: 4116932

Palliative Care in New York State Nursing Homes: A Descriptive Study

Lester, Paula E; Kawai, Fernando; Rodrigues, Lucan; Lolis, James; Martins-Welch, Diana; Shalshin, Alexander; Fazzari, Melissa J; Pan, Cynthia X
OBJECTIVE:To describe the current landscape of palliative care (PC) in nursing homes (NHs) in New York State (NYS). MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:A statewide survey was completed by 149 respondents who named 61 different NHs as their workplace. Questions were related to presence, type, and composition of PC programs; perceptions of PC; barriers to implementing PC; and qualifying medical conditions. RESULTS:Hospice is less available than palliative or comfort care programs, with three-fourths of NYS NH responded providing a PC program. In general, medical directors and physicians were more similar in perspective about the role/impact of PC compared to nursing and others. There was general agreement about the positive impact and role of PC in the NH. Funding and staffing were recognized as barriers to implementing PC. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:There is growing penetration of PC programs in NH facilities in NYS, with good perception of the appropriate utilization of PC programs. Financial reimbursement and staffing are barriers to providing PC in the NH and need to be addressed by the health-care system.
PMID: 28135811
ISSN: 1938-2715
CID: 3538172

Impact of Hospital-Wide Comprehensive Pain Management Initiatives

Lester, Paula E; Shehata, Janet; Fazzari, Melissa; Islam, Shahidul
This project aimed to improve pain management through clinician education, updated assessment tools, computer resources, and improved ordering and delivery systems. Clinicians were surveyed and results analyzed using Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney testing and χ2 testing. Prescribing patterns were evaluated by comparing proportions of prescription orders and dose intervals. Cochran-Armitage Trend Test was used for linear trends in proportion of prescription orders over time. Knowledge scores improved significantly for nurses ( P = .004) and nurse practitioners/physician assistants ( P < .0001). Patient surveys showed a reduction in the percentage of patients dissatisfied with pain control. There was a decrease of 3.6% in intramuscular orders of opioids ( P < .0001). A significant reduction was found in the percentage of orders of potentially high initial doses of opioids of hydromorphone and morphine after implementing an electronic alert. This project demonstrates that a comprehensive educational strategy with improved assessment tools, clinical resources, and educational programming can have a significant impact on pain management.
PMID: 28693334
ISSN: 1555-824x
CID: 3538182

Medical Therapy of Malignant Bowel Obstruction With Octreotide, Dexamethasone, and Metoclopramide

Berger, Jeffrey; Lester, Paula; Rodrigues, Lucan
BACKGROUND:Malignant bowel obstruction is a highly symptomatic, often recurrent, and sometimes refractory condition in patients with intra-abdominal tumor burden. Gastro-intestinal symptoms and function may improve with anti-inflammatory, anti-secretory, and prokinetic/anti-nausea combination medical therapy. OBJECTIVE:To describe the effect of octreotide, metoclopramide, and dexamethasone in combination on symptom burden and bowel function in patients with malignant bowel obstruction and dysfunction. DESIGN/METHODS:A retrospective case series of patients with malignant bowel obstruction (MBO) and malignant bowel dysfunction (MBD) treated by a palliative care consultation service with octreotide, metoclopramide, and dexamethasone. Outcomes measures were nausea, pain, and time to resumption of oral intake. RESULTS:12 cases with MBO, 11 had moderate/severe nausea on presentation. 100% of these had improvement in nausea by treatment day #1. 100% of patients with moderate/severe pain improved to tolerable level by treatment day #1. The median time to resumption of oral intake was 2 days (range 1-6 days) in the 8 cases with evaluable data. Of 7 cases with MBD, 6 had For patients with malignant bowel dysfunction, of those with moderate/severe nausea. 5 of 6 had subjective improvement by day#1. Moderate/severe pain improved to tolerable levels in 5/6 by day #1. Of the 4 cases with evaluable data on resumption of PO intake, time to resume PO ranged from 1-4 days. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:Combination medical therapy may provide rapid improvement in symptoms associated with malignant bowel obstruction and dysfunction.
PMID: 25646530
ISSN: 1938-2715
CID: 3538152

Prevalence and Description of Palliative Care in US Nursing Homes: A Descriptive Study

Lester, Paula E; Stefanacci, Richard G; Feuerman, Martin
OBJECTIVE:To describe rates and policies in U.S. Nursing Homes (NH) related to palliative care, comfort care, and hospice care based on a nationwide survey of directors of nursing. MEASUREMENTS/METHODS:A national survey was distributed online and was completed by 316 directors of nursing of NHs (11% response rate). The directors of nursing were asked about availability and policies in their facilities. Specifically, questions were related to policies, referral patterns, discussion about such care, and types of medical conditions qualifying for such services. RESULTS:Hospice is significantly more available than palliative or comfort care programs; also, for-profit facilities, compared to non-profits, are significantly more likely to have palliative care programs and medical directors for palliative care. Social workers and nurses were most likely to suggest palliative type programs. Only 42% of facilities with palliative program provide consultation by a palliative certified physician. Residents with non-healing pressure ulcers, frequent hospitalizations, or severe/uncontrolled pain or non-pain symptoms were less likely to be referred. CONCLUSIONS:There is limited availability of palliative type programs in NH facilities and underutilization in those NH with programs.
PMID: 25395553
ISSN: 1938-2715
CID: 3538132

Sex in Nursing Homes: A Survey of Nursing Home Policies Governing Resident Sexual Activity

Lester, Paula E; Kohen, Izchak; Stefanacci, Richard G; Feuerman, Martin
OBJECTIVE:To identify nursing home (NH) standards related to sexual activity and sexual relationships for residents through a nationwide survey of directors of nursing (DONs). METHODS:A national survey was distributed online and was completed by 366 DONs of skilled nursing facilities. The DONs answered questions concerning policies and experiences related to sexual activities of their residents including types of resident sexual activity they have encountered, perceptions about residents with dementia engaging in sexual activity, and policies pertaining to sexual activity including masturbation. RESULTS:The results of the survey demonstrated that the vast majority (71.2%) indicated that there had been issues regarding residents' sexual activities in their facilities with over one-half (58%) of the DONs reporting situations of resident with resident sexual activity and 60% with situations of resident masturbation. More than one-half (56.6%) require a family or designated representative to approve sexual activity for a cognitively impaired resident. For a cognitively intact resident, 12.4% of facilities still require family or designated representative to approve sexual activity. However, despite the prevalence of sexual activity, the majority of NHs (63.4%) actually do not have policies dealing with resident sexual activity. Of the NHs with policies, 58.6% have written policies in place, with 11.2% requiring a physician order to allow sexual activity and 9.5% requiring a physician order to restrict sexual activity. CONCLUSIONS:Issues related to sexual activity in NH residents are quite prevalent, however, the rates of policies related to sexual activity are low and the policies and restrictions are not uniform. Our study suggests nursing homes should have a clear policy addressing resident sexual activity. It would be beneficial for such a policy to be communicated to residents and their families as part of an admission package instead of waiting for sexual interest to be noticed. This would enable residents to engage in sexual activity with understanding and support rather than hiding.
PMID: 26441358
ISSN: 1538-9375
CID: 3538162

"I See Little People" [Meeting Abstract]

Okabe, R; Blachman, N; Lester, P
ISI:000374763800604
ISSN: 1532-5415
CID: 2118792

Impact of computerized physician order entry alerts on prescribing in older patients

Lester, Paula E; Rios-Rojas, Liliana; Islam, Shahidul; Fazzari, Melissa J; Gomolin, Irving H
BACKGROUND:A computerized physician order entry (CPOE) system provides opportunity for real-time alerts to prescribers. Winthrop University Hospital began using CPOE in 2009. OBJECTIVE:We sought to improve prescribing among older hospitalized patients by adding alerts to the CPOE system for potentially inappropriate medications. METHODS:In January 2011, informational alerts were integrated into the CPOE system for selected high-risk medications: diphenhydramine, metoclopramide, and all antipsychotics. We evaluated the effect of these alerts on prescribing frequency by comparing the number of prescriptions during the second quarters of 2010 ("pre-alert") with the second quarters of 2011 through 2013 ("post-alert"). Prescribing patterns were evaluated through a pharmacy database of medication orders. Frequency of prescribing was adjusted for total discharges. A comparison was made to ages 18-64 years, and comparing "as needed" vs standing orders. RESULTS:In the 65 years of age and older group, there were significant reductions in prescription rates pre-alert vs post-alert for diphenhydramine (p < 0.001) and metoclopramide (p < 0.001). There was no decrease in prescription rates for antipsychotics in older patients (p = 0.80). In the younger comparison group, no decreases in prescription rates for those drugs were observed. Our analysis is based on numbers of written prescriptions and not actual doses administered; therefore, no conclusions concerning the effect of these alerts on communication or documentation of risk/benefits of these medications can be ascertained. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The data suggest that prescribing rates for drugs with the least efficacy and potential for harm and with alternative agents (i.e., diphenhydramine and metoclopramide) can be modified by CPOE alerts for older patients.
PMID: 25752906
ISSN: 1179-1969
CID: 3466342