In 2012, AALNA and our NCAL partners, Lindsay Schwartz and Dave Kyllo, became involved in the review, revision, and development of INTERACT tools specific to the Assisted Living Environment at the request of AALNA. Rita Vann, Senior VP of Clinical Services at Brookdale Senior Living and AALNA national board of directors member, also worked toward a collaboration with INTERACT project director Dr. Joseph G. Ouslander. Dr. Ouslander is a Professor and Associate Dean for Geriatric Programs at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and a Professor at the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing of Florida Atlantic University. Through this partnership, AALNA, NCAL and Brookdale have worked together to further the fundamental goal of INTERACT by working to improve care. Through these and other Assisted Living Facility (ALF) stakeholder collegial collaborations, AALNA was able to influence the paths pursued and the changes needed to create Assisted Living appropriate tools and approaches to the INTERACT communication system.
The official INTERACT tools for Assisted Living became available to the public on the INTERACT website on July 25, 2014. These tools can be accessed at no cost by visiting: http://interact2.net/assisted_living.aspx.The entire system of quality improvement in communication from adoption of the program by your ALF, through hospital readmission tracking, the guide to implementation and all of tools for all staff levels such as the SBARs, etc. are available at this site.
As the landscape of healthcare changes, state regulations become more stringent and requirements for quality improvement become more evident and the impact on Assisted Living will be felt. AALNA and our partners want to be the leaders in our profession bringing systematic improved communication and quality improvement to a higher level before any government agency demands it.
The advent and use of these Assisted Living specific tools will become a standard part of quality improvement. The skilled environment has been utilizing their tools for a few years and changes to staff communication with each other and physicians regarding patient changes in status have improved with their use. AALNA sees this system as an innovative approach to improving communication by more directly empowering our caregivers and improving our relationships with each other, residents, families and physicians.
We at AALNA hope all of our members will embrace these new, industry driven tools as your organization for Assisted Living Nurses was instrumental in their development specifically for our profession. Projects such as this are evidence of nurses working with and for nurses to provide quality environments for our staff, residents, families and physicians. This is a perfect example of what your association can do for you and our profession.