BPGs for long-term care homes
RNAO is playing a major role in a new advancement for nurses and other care providers in long-term care.
BPG Clinical Pathways for long-term care homes: The help nurses need now

Imagine being able to quickly complete a comprehensive assessment of a new long-term care resident with user-friendly technology that supports evidence-based practice. And imagine having access to system-generated progress notes that eliminate double documentation and the need to search for resident information in different places. Fortunately, for Marcy Farrow, there’s no need to imagine working in an environment like this because this is her new reality. 

What is BPG Clinical Pathways? This software saves time on assessments, allowing providers to focus more on care, and provides prompts that assist nurses by expanding their existing competencies and bringing their skill set up to a higher standard. It also increases consistency in assessments, which can potentially reduce error.

RNAO is playing a major role in this advancement for nurses and other care providers in long-term care, through its partnership with PointClickCare (PCC) – a primary vendor of electronic medical record systems. Through this collaboration, RNAO developed BPG Clinical Pathways – a digital version of its Best Practice Guidelines – and worked with PCC to embed them within PCC’s new Nursing Advantage Canada software platform, making them readily accessible at the point of care. 

What this means for nurses and patients is less time spent on assessments and more time spent on care. According to Farrow, the implementation of the RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways and the PCC technology is like a dream come true, “The RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways will streamline processes at the sector level, eliminating variations in practice, ensuring everyone is speaking the same language and advancing quality care for residents.”

A collaboration for success

“This project has brought together all of the expertise needed to develop a stellar product,” adds Farrow. “This was not just the work of software developers. It was built in collaboration with nurses. RNAO contributed expertise in evidence-based practice and PointClickCare contributed expertise in the technology. Senior long-term care nurses contributed their clinical expertise and RAI coordinators brought their expertise in MDS assessments. The result of this collaboration is a great product that supports evidence-based assessments and efficient resident-centred care planning. This has never happened before. What this means in practice is that everyone benefits – the residents, staff and the organizations.”  

Better assessments – key to efficient, resident-centred care

Three Responsive Health Management (RHM) long-term care homes are among a group of early adopters who have been participating in a small-scale implementation of the RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways since May 2021. Brie Anna Munshaw, RPN, assistant director of care at one of the RHM homes, reminisced about her journey as a member of the implementation team, “This project has been an incredible learning experience for me. I am delighted to see the end result. I believe RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways will be very helpful for the long-term care sector as a whole.” 

Lillian Tong, RN, clinical practice coordinator at RHM, shared her perspective, “I like that the assessment includes many of the resident- and family-centred care approaches found in the RNAO Best Practice Guidelines. It’s not just focused on the medical and physical aspect of care, but also the psychosocial aspects. That enables the care team to better support the resident and family through what can be a nerve-wracking transition period.”

The RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways also benefit staff by facilitating rapid learning. The design leverages functionality in the Nursing Advantage Canada technology to support the nurses’ clinical decision making using helpful clinical suggestions that serve as prompts for next steps. “It enhances nurses' existing competencies and skills and brings them up to a higher level and standard of competency,” Farrow explains. “Regardless of how long a nurse may have worked in LTC, it ensures consistent approaches to assessment. The clinical suggestions and prompts reduce knowledge gaps.” 

What are the benefits?

Montana Crawford, RN, and the nurse manager at another RHM home, commented on the benefits of the RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways for frontline nurses, residents and families. “The RNAO admission assessment provides a detailed overview of each new resident, focusing on the individual person and their care goals. Overall, it saves nurses time and allows for staff to personalize care for the resident, creating a more pleasant admission experience for residents and families.” Miriam Hachey, nurse manager at the same RHM home, shared similar sentiments, “I am quite happy with the new admission assessment. It allows nurses to develop a more personalized plan of care for the residents with the family’s input. It also reduces the amount of time to complete the admission process as the new Clinical Pathway incorporates most of the other assessments that are required. Using this new Clinical Pathway might also decrease some families’ anxiety of moving their loved ones into long-term care. It allows them to discuss the resident’s previous routines and habits, which in turn can make the adjustment period shorter because it gives them the assurance that their loved one’s routines will not change too drastically.”

Ultimately, however, it is long-term care home residents and their families who will experience the positive effects of this new tool. When nurses are able to spend less time on assessments and can depend on more accurate assessments, they will be able to spend more time caring for their patients. 

RNAO will continue to lead the charge to make helpful new tools available for nurses. We are currently deploying the RNAO BPG Clinical Pathways to long-term care homes across the province. To learn more about how your home can participate in the initiative, visit RNAO.ca/clinicalpathways.




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