Did you survive the impact of the record breaking Bomb Cyclone? 

Last week the East Coast was blasted with Grayson, a “bomb cyclone” smothering us with heavy snow and winds setting multiple records.

Preparing for the blast of the Bomb Cyclone

If you’ve watched the news or opened Facebook, you’ve probably heard about the “Bomb Cyclone” that’s blasting the East Coast. But what exactly is a bomb cyclone and how can you prepare for it?

First off, the intimidating name doesn’t actually refer to the storm itself. The storm has been named Grayson. Instead, bomb cyclone, refers to the occurrence of events as the weather unfolds. The formal term for this is bombogenesis and refers to winds rotating the same direction as Earth in a region where the pressure of the atmosphere is lower than sea level. Essentially, this causes the winds to form a cyclone in the center of the region and the moisture causes precipitation. The lower the pressure drops within a cyclone, the more extreme of a storm occurs.

Considering it’s unseasonably cold in most of the region and Grayson’s pressure has dropped even further than needed to confirm his bomb status, it’s important to be prepared. This explosion of a storm is happening in areas where snow accumulation and chilly temperatures are less usual which means limiting your exposure to the storm is your best option.

Unfortunately we haven’t figured out how to control the weather, but GreyMar promises to have your back when a natural disaster strikes. Hospitals, assisted living facilities, and more can keep their patients safe with the following tips.

In areas where winter road prepping isn’t common, deliveries could be postponed for days due to road conditions. Staff should stock up on surgical supplies, medication, food, and anything else critical to get through the day. Some facilities make arrangements at local hotels so staff can commute safely. This ensures enough staff on hand.

By postponing any voluntary surgeries, rescheduling discharges, and encouraging late term pregnant patients to come in earlier for surprise deliveries, facilities can take the steps to limit any risks.

After 14 nursing home residents died in outages during hurricane season, facilities everywhere have been upping their preparedness. Precautions to consider are: checking on emergency equipment, food, and water, have plenty of generators ready, ensure the heat system is operable, have extra blankets on hand, and plan for an evacuation if necessary.

Another worry to consider is backing up your MARs and TARs. We can’t change the weather, but you can trust GreyMar’s backup system to keep updated MAR’s and TAR’s stored on our cloud. You could have no generator, no power, and no internet and you’d still have a fully functional GreyMar cart from which you can print your PointClickCare MAR’s and TAR’s.

To make sure you’re covering all your bases, make a checklist of what you need to do. Stay updated on if Grayson’s path with collide with your’s with your local forecast. You can visit greymar.io for more information on our disaster recovery service specifically designed for EHR.

ISP outage? GreyMAR can help!

Two days ago, on November 6th, our Nation’s internet infrastructure was tested by a nationwide cyber attack. ISP’s like Comcast were affected causing services to not operating correctly.

We wanted to take this opportunity to demonstrate just how affective GreyMAR services are at keeping your facility running during major system outages like this.

During the attack, we encouraged PointClickCare users using affect ISPs to prepare their failover to GreyMAR’s disaster recovery for EMAR services.

If disaster strikes, GreyMar promises to have your back with a resilient backup plan. Our backup system will keep updated MAR’s and TAR’s stored securely on our cloud. Your systems will automatically switchover during an outage providing zero downtime!

We can even provide a backup phone system and electronic faxing on a high gain cellular network so your team can stay focused and connected.

Contact our GreyMAR Success Team and we’ll get you setup with a service demo or trial just for you and your community! You can schedule one here. 

GreyMAR Helps Avoid Outages in Skilled Nursing on a Budget

The Skilled Nursing industry is overwhelmingly outdated, we hope we can all agree. Diving deeper into what causes outages and these frustrating concerns really falls on IT, specifically the IT company’s lack of understanding of what needs to be completely functional, who can wait, etc. GreyMAR wants to share some knowledge on how we’re able to maintain such a high level of service for our customers who are skilled nursing.

Look into backup internet service providers.

Backup internet service providers are easy to find, and usually decently priced. We would NEVER recommend a DSL backup as this is just way too slow for today’s modern programs you may be using. Getting this will dramatically improve your facilities ability to operate if your primary ISP goes down.

Ensure IT has it hooked up right, and it stays cool.

Getting a secondary internet provider is a great idea, but ensure your IT company is capable of hooking it up to your firewall/router properly. We have went into buildings that had purchased a secondary internet connection, have been paying for it monthly and it wasn’t even hooked up. We’ve also found that either the primary or secondary modem was sitting under a desk somewhere and overheating, thus causing it to not work, or work half of the time.

Generator plugs at all of your wiring rooms.

Your IT company should be able to work with your maintenance department and ensure that all of your wiring rooms, servers, etc are all on the red generator plugs. It is also recommended that all of the equipment is on a backup battery pack that has proper voltage handling capabilities so when the generator kicks over, it doesn’t blow out your equipment.

Updates on your equipment matters more than you think.

Another real life story – we had a facility in Florida that we walked into – had newer looking access points (for wifi connectivity) right? Once we got into them, we found the software was from 2013 (which is like dog years… multiple everything by 7, get what I mean?). The facility complained of horrible wifi. With simple updates, we ran our measurement tool and found 57% increase of speed just from doing that. Now a proper IT company should do an entire review of your wireless “air usage” every so often. Wireless is very sensitive to new objects such as dressers, mirrors, room movements, anything to “soak up signal” or destroy it, such as cordless phones on your med carts.

EMAR backup and ensuring staff knows how to access it.

We ended up creating an EMAR backup system for PointClickCare we’ve been pushing called GreyMAR. Take this simple test and walk around your facility and ask “If PCC goes down, what do you do?” and see the diverse answers you will get. We are hoping to help facilities organize and get what they need as fast as possible. Check out our site https://greymar.io

 

There’s many fancy things we can do if you’re up to it.

Failover phone systems.

If you have choppy phone service that cuts in and out or constantly goes out, we have the capability to have any facility phones failover to our systems here, and we can make the phones seem like they’re the facilities, and transfer in between floors. This requires very little setup and works very well if your phone lines and/or system is down. We’ve done this for buildings up to 600 beds multiple times.

Medcarts and Kiosks failover to backup documentation program.

If you’re not happy with your computers and how your backup system is in place, there is always the option of having the GreyMAR OS (operating system) and it will automatically flip all of your clinician devices over to a backup EMAR / POC system if PointClickCare is detected as being down, or based on our crowd sourcing the system is down and PointClickCare isn’t aware yet. (Yes, we’ve done this before!)

Thanks again for reading, hopefully this provides some information and is fun to read. I have started a newsletter that you’re welcome to sign up for.

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GreyMAR reduces HIPAA concerns for PointClickCare EMAR backups

Let’s get one thing straight – the goal of any facility that has any sort of outage needs to get their MARs and TARs printed as fast as possible, plain and simple. Having the ability to do so needs to be simple, fast, efficient, and secure. With modern struggles coupled with outdated technologies for senior living, many of these things can get quickly overlooked.

Most PointClickCare customers are familiar with the provided solution that backups their MARs and TARs in the event of a system wide outage, internet outage, etc. With that being said, there are many concerns a modern facility should recognize during their risk assessment of their backup strategy.

With the list of HIPAA addressables declining and the rise of required items, it is extremely important that senior living facilities utilize PointClickCare take special note of their backup strategies.

Who maintains your current backup solution?

The facility usually employs or sub contracts an outside IT provider to handle these tasks. While IT may understand the basis of what your EMAR backup is doing, them fully understanding the concept and how a domino affect can happen is very slight. If the solution provided by the EMAR provider is not constantly maintained, you can be affected by many items as described below.

If the device was stolen, is your PHI at risk?

The computer that’s sitting there with your patients information on it isn’t secured most likely. There is a fine line between usability and security, and it’s hard to perfect. Most facilities have unencrypted backups from my experience (or none at all) and the computer can simply be picked up and taken. Without proper precautions, the device can also have a simple USB drive plugged in and PHI stolen this way as well.

How are you alerted if your backups are outdated?

The provided solution from PointClickCare doesn’t include notifications if your backups are out of date. Not to mention, if you don’t have an IT guy constantly maintaining the provided solution, you are at risk for outdated EMAR backups. The program has no method for alerting and won’t let you know if something didn’t complete correctly.

How are you alerted if your backup doesn’t complete?

Similar to the last point – the provided solution by PCC doesn’t give you much to run with, and doesn’t show you errors if something doesn’t download correctly. If the file download doesn’t complete, you could be left with outdated backups, corrupt backups, or worse, no backups at all.

Does your staff know and understand how to utilize your system?

It can almost be guaranteed that if you walked up to anyone in the facility they will have little to no clue how to work the backup system. The goal is to have a fast, easy way to print out MARs and TARs, but this can be cumbersome for the everyday nurse.

What if there is a power outage? What about an internet outage?

Some facilities feel their power and internet systems are perfected, but I can tell you from experience being in the business for many years, that is far from the truth. What if the generate transfer switch burns up? Generator doesn’t kick on?

What if there is a large area-wide outage of some sort?

Area-wide outages are something we deal with daily, and it’s becoming more frequent, especially in larger cities. When there is an area wide outage, this can sometimes last for days, up to a week I have seen. We had a client that had no internet for close to a week and needed to stay operational. Luckily with the experience we’ve gathered it was easy for us to keep them operating. Facilities not under our umbrella though, I highly recommended a plan.

What if the files are corrupted?

The technology that PointClickCare chose to rely on for their EMAR backups is very primitive, thus is prone to many system errors and may not reliably work. With that said, it is extremely important that you keep an eye on your backups, or employ an IT person to watch over this.

Are you complying with regulations on who has access to the backups?

Carefully read over the HIPAA regulations and you’ll see that there are many that explain the necessity to maintain audit trails of who has access to your PHI. Just like someone logs into PointClickCare with a username and password, there needs to be a way to maintain this with the backups, too.

Don’t panic! This is all easily correctable!

These were all problems that we were faced with, so you’re not alone. In fact, just by reading this article, you are likely much more caught up with technology and regulations that your peers, so go you! I’d like to introduce you to a service we’ve created to solve all of these issues.

We’ve solved all of these PointClickCare EMAR backup concerns with a simple product called GreyMAR. Simple put, GreyMAR is a disaster solution designed specifically for PointClickCare customers, and we’ve tightly integrated it with their services. GreyMAR maintains, verifies, and secures your backups. We maintain everything for you automatically, and have built powerful logic into our backup system to ensure it’s up to date, encrypted at every point, and easy to access.

With GreyMAR:

To access your MARs and TARs you do the following:

  1. Go to the website, device, or medcart that your nurse is already using.
  2. Login with specific credentials (this is to maintain audit trails as required by law)
  3. Boom, everything is there, no more clicks.

I won’t go into all of the cool features we’ve built here, but you’re welcome to visit our website at https://greymar.io and check it out, or schedule a demo with me by following this link: Schedule A Demo

But wait, there’s more!

As we continued to grow the service (we’re now backing up 5,000 records a week!) we built in fully automated and easy to use eFax. We’ve also included an emergency phone that can be hooked up into our emergency phone system for your building, but that’s another article and still currently in development.

I hope you enjoy this and learned something. Feel free to send me a your feedback!

If you’re interested in more, sign up for our newsletter here.

Sleep Challenges for Residents in Assisted Living Facilities

In one of her most recent posts, Dr. Eleanor Barbera, an accomplished speaker and consultant with over 20 years of experience as a psychologist in long-term care, dissected sleep challenges of older adults. Dr. Barbera explains the negative side effects coming from these challenges and how they effect basic patient care practices.

“Poor sleep is associated with cognitive and physical deficits. It can impair residents’ ability to participate in rehab and negatively affect their moods and their interactions with others, including the staff members there to help them (whose job is hard enough).

Residents who can’t sleep through the night due to elements within the control of the facility are not happy with this situation. They’re less satisfied with their stays and therefore less likely to recommend the facility to their friends and neighbors.

As illuminating as it would be, you needn’t sleep in your facility for a week to find out which staff training and policies will remedy the problem. The residents have told me what keeps them up at night and I’ve outlined a “sleep hygiene” training program based on that. 

A basic “sleep hygiene” program will:

·      Set the expectation that employees are working in the residents’ homes and should be mindful of their slumber. This includes talking in calm, hushed tones and turning off unnecessary lights after nighttime care.

·      Limit fluids in the evening, provide toileting before bedtime and offer swift, calm and prepared mid-night care that increases the likelihood that residents can go back to sleep.

·      Communicate between shifts so that the elders who have gotten up earliest get to bed soonest if they desire.

·      Prioritize pain management, particularly if it’s interfering with sleep.

·      Refer residents experiencing sleep difficulty due to anxiety or depression to the consulting psychologist.

·      Attend to agitated residents immediately so that they don’t wake their neighbors.

·      Find peaceful nighttime pursuits for elders with dementia-related sleep disturbance such as magazines, drawing or music on headsets.

·      Replace noisy medical equipment such as oxygen machines with quieter models.

·      Select roommates with attention to sleep habits and nighttime needs.

·      Create a policy for quiet hours after, say, 10 p.m. and require low volumes or headsets for electronics after that.

·      Train teams to collaborate between shifts so that they identify and assist residents who are asleep during the day and up at night to reestablish regular sleep patterns.”

We thought Dr. Barbera listed important benefits from using a “sleep hygiene program” and wanted to share them with you!

To read Dr. Barbera’s full post, click here.

Rebuilding the Healthcare Infrastructure in Puerto Rico

GreyMAR plans to reach out to facilities in Puerto Rico who were devastated by the hurricanes in hopes to help rebuild the healthcare infrastructure. GreyMAR is committed to ensuring operational healthcare facilities and ensuring patient safety.

GreyMAR’s MAR and TAR disaster recovery for PointClickCare solution will include eFax and Custom Documents modules as well to ensure fax capabilities are operational. Service is able to be setup within minutes and allows clinicians and administrators to upload documents into electronic storage for safekeeping and fast staff distribution.

It is also recommended to contact our IT Help Desk if your facility needs additional IT resources.

We have posted free resources to help you plan at both of these links.

https://help.greymar.io/hc/en-us/articles/115004597266-Emergency-Planning-Checklist

https://help.greymar.io/hc/en-us/articles/115004597226-Planning-for-an-Emergency

To get your facility setup on greymar.io please contact us at 412-567-6300

Lines May be Blurred with Alzheimer’s Patients

Dan Freeman, a dedicated and aggressive personal injury attorney, who contributes to the Florida Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, brought up an interesting yet touchy subject when it comes to Alzheimer’s patients; Sexual Assault or Consensual Sex?

In the post, Freeman states:

“A nursing home in California voluntarily closed, displacing some 125 residents, amid allegations of sexual assault involving two patients. The facility will close permanently next month, and residents will be sent to one of three other facilities operated by the same owner.

But the question of what happened – and whether it was in fact abuse – still lingers, and it’s one that has arisen numerous times in nursing homes in Florida too, as well as across the country.

The Sacramento Bee reported one of the patients involved was a 79-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s. The other was a 70-year-old man who was cognitively intact. The man had been observed months earlier touching the woman’s breast. When the incident occurred, he later told investigators she initiated the contact, taking off her clothes and calling him ‘darling.’ The woman told investigators she had made love to her husband, who is deceased.”

You can read the rest of Freeman’s blog post at here.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

As a facility admin, how would you go about handling this situation?

At GreyMAR, we believe having an open community for professionals to connect is important.

Add your thoughts to our community!

Inconveniences in Assisted Living Facilities

GreyMAR recently came across the blog of nursing home resident Kathleen Mears. Kathleen has been blogging about her life as a resident for the past 21 years! Her blog gives us an interesting look into the life of a resident in an assisted living facility.

Her post on October 9, 2017 tells about when the assisted living faculty’s fire prevention consultant came for a visit. It’s hard to understand just how big a small inconvenience can be for a resident, but Kathleen gives us an inside look.

Below she recalls some of her experience:

“The fire prevention consultant said my PC’s line surge protector was too close to my bed. He said, in Ohio, surge protectors within 6 feet of a resident bed must be 1363 A, fire code compliant. I had him write down all the information. I thought I need to buy one to continue using my PC.

I searched on a major shopping website and found a six-outlet 1363 A fire code compliant power strip. I was not surprised that it cost $63. I also found a computer line surge protector but the fine print said it cannot be used within six feet of a resident’s bed.

The compliant power strip cost was more than the line surge protector I was using. I wondered if existing and higher-priced line surge protectors might be more fire code compliant than the inexpensive power strips with a breaker switch. However, I could not find the answer to that question online.”

We sympathize with Kathleen and any resident in an assisted living facility that has to deal with inconveniences like this. GreyMAR is on a mission to make assisted living facilities better than ever, and we hope Kathleen continues to offer us her insight!

Read Kathleen Mears’ full blog post at https://www.iadvanceseniorcare.com/blogs/kathleen-mears/facility-safety/plugging

Photo of Kathleen MearsNOTICE:  Kathleen Mears is a long-time blogger who has been a nursing home resident for 21 years. She gives us a rare insight to life in a nursing home. Her blog can be accessed at https://www.iadvanceseniorcare.com/blog/kathleen-mears

 

GreyMAR announces free service for Hurricane Irma victims

GreyMAR announces that it’s flagship service is being offered free of charge to all facilities that are affected by the hurricanes affecting the lower part of the United States. GreyMAR is committed to ensuring operational healthcare facilities and ensuring patient safety.

GreyMAR’s MAR and TAR disaster recovery for PointClickCare solution will include eFax and Custom Documents modules (separate add-ons being provided free of charge) as well to ensure fax capabilities are operational. Service is able to be setup within minutes and allows clinicians and administrators to upload documents into electronic storage for safekeeping and fast staff distribution.

It is also recommended to contact our IT Help Desk if your facility needs additional IT resources.

We have posted free resources to help you plan at both of these links.

https://help.greymar.io/hc/en-us/articles/115004597266-Emergency-Planning-Checklist

https://help.greymar.io/hc/en-us/articles/115004597226-Planning-for-an-Emergency

To get your facility setup on greymar.io please contact us at 412-567-6300

Interested in our EMAR Backup solution?

Contact our GreyMAR Success Team and we’ll get you setup with an effortless disaster recovery system. GreyMAR enhances your facilities ability to stay operational during major system outages. Our solution ensures your PointClickCare EMAR backups are able to be accessedd 24/7 no matter what.

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