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CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) and choosing prospective Long-Term Care Homes, what Do the Numbers tell you?

Posted Jun 12th, 2015 in News, Long-Term Care, Tips

CIHI (Canadian Institute for Health Information) and choosing prospective Long-Term Care Homes, what Do the Numbers tell you?

There was a CBC news article published June 10 2015 regarding CIHI, a web based tool that compares a nursing home's performance in the areas of Resident care and safety, with their peers.  http://www.cbc.ca/m/news/health/nursing-home-comparison-tool-guides-searches-on-the-web-1.3107864

Potentially, some individuals looking for a Long-Term care home may use this information in the decision making process.

The data collected by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) (http://yourhealthsystem.cihi.ca/hsp/indepth?lang=en#/) provides broad-spectrum information regarding statistic collection in LTC homes, about care and outcomes.

Here are my thoughts...

When I was in Senior Management in the industry, I utilized this information for benchmarking, so as to compare our home’s performance with others.  This gave me additional insight, and provided a valued source of information for review, and action.

The data collected at a home level should be analyzed thoroughly by the team, to spot trends, to celebrate successes, and to address areas where performance needs improvement. 

Example of Data collected by all Homes, and shared with CIHI: Falls in the last 30 days.  

What you see in the CIHI report is how the home's total number of falls compared to other facilities. The comparisons are posted in percentages, benchmarking one location versus others.

The home is aware of their total number of falls, and needs to go about the business of problem solving ways to do a root cause analysis, as to why falls are happening.

The home may consider:

·      The number of individuals falling
·      The number of falls per individual
·      Newly admitted residents falling, versus falls from existing residents
·      Areas of the home where falls are the highest
·      Mitigating factors: antecedents
·      Use of fall prevention equipment
·      When the falls occurred
·      Effectiveness/lack of effectiveness of intervention
·      Review of fall assessments and effectiveness
·      Etc.

This data allows the team to better understand trends, and analyze the issues at hand.   Using collected information, there is the potential for the team to implement measures to address falls, and then gauge the effectiveness of the interventions.  It also allows for the potential reallocation of current staff to areas where fall acuity is higher. 

  • CIHI outcomes have value in the LTC sector:

    ·      Data is being collected and monitored, at the LTC home, and at the operating organization's level
    ·      There is external monitoring from Governmental Compliance Authorities
    ·      Care/health trends are more easily noted internally, and by external stakeholders
    ·      Red Flags become more visible when there is benchmarking with like organizations
    ·      Data collection provides information about trends with the aging population in many     aspects, regarding health, chronic diseases etc.

Although this information is an interesting, and informative read for the general public, it does not provide a full picture of the meaning behind the data collected in LTC homes.


·      Does one home have more falls because of low restraint usage?  When individuals have difficulty with mobility, balance, and strength, falls may happen because more frail Residents are ambulating.

·      Regarding Worsening wounds:  Homes may receive frail new admissions with wounds, and healing can be a difficult and long process.  The data does not isolate wounds that were present upon admission. 

Each home is a blend of unique Residents, experiencing varying levels of physical, cognitive, and emotional changes.  It is becoming more apparent that the real trend is more complex care at a LTC home level, which requires adequate staffing, and funding.  This is where we need to advocate!

So, if the CIHI data raises a flag of concern, make an appointment and ask to speak with the Director or Care.  Discover what the meaning is behind the collected data, and how the home is addressing short falls, in comparison to their peers.  How do their statistics and comparables look across the spectrum? 

Collecting performance data and analyzing related statistical information is a valued service to the Canadian Public.  If you are planning to use this information when searching for a Long-Term Care Home, it may be of benefit to ask for clarification as to the meaning behind the numbers, and the planned interventions, at the LTC Home Level.

 Image source: http://www.stockfreeimages.com/

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