A skilled nursing facility, long-term care facility or nursing home provides for patients who require care 24/7. Patients at a facility like this may include elderly patients, patients recovering from illness or traumatic injury, and patients with chronic or degenerative conditions. CNAs and LPN/LVNs provide much of the day to day care in these settings. In this type of facility some of the patients may not recover enough to live on their own, unlike a hospital setting where patients return home after they recuperate. Many facilities specialize in geriatrics which means caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other conditions that require constant observation and monitoring. There are also facilities that treat patients with traumatic brain injuries or degenerative diseases that have left them permanently impaired. The Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse in a facility like this will focus on improving the patients quality of life and helping keep chronic conditions under control.
Monitoring each patients health and progress through careful evaluation of each patient, their vital signs and assessing other indications of physical and mental well-being. The LPN/LVN will also determine the treatment plan for each patient and ensure that the care strategy addresses the long-term needs of the aging process and the conditions the patient is coping with.
Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurses at the Skilled Nursing Facility provide direct bedside care and act as patient advocate and educator. The LPN/LVN will educate the patient and family members what to expect when dealing with the challenges of aging or specific conditions the patient may have and help them understand what contributions to recovery and long-term wellness they can make. The LPN/LVN will also inform family members of any changes in the patient’s condition and discuss with them any alterations to the patient’s medication or other treatments. Collaborating with the facility physician to help create and implement patient care plans and notifying the physician if there is a change in the patient’s condition.
Some functions of Skilled Nursing Facility Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurses
- Ensuring all work areas and residents’ rooms are maintained in accordance with safety and sanitation standards.
- Ordering equipment and supplies as prescribed.
- Attending rounds with physicians, nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants.
- Assisting with the orientation of new staff to the unit.
- Collaborating with the resident’s physician to provide the care, services, treatments and rehabilitation ordered.
- Communication with the resident’s physician and/or family members when there is a change in resident’s condition or if any incident occurs involving patient.
- Administering professional nursing practice services such as: tube feedings, suction, catheterization, changing of dressings, packs and irrigations as necessary.
- Gathering samples of sputum, urine and other specimens for lab tests as ordered.
- Continuous observation and monitoring of seriously ill residents.
- Being the patient advocate and ensuring that other health care team members are providing care according to the resident’s care plan and personal wishes.
- Receiving, transcribing and implementing physician’s orders according to facility procedures.
- Accurately completing necessary charting as required and in a timely manner following established charting policies and procedures.
Qualifications of the Skilled Nursing Facility LPN/LVN
- Communications skills, read, write, speak and understand the English language.
- Possesses the ability to make decisions independently when such action is warranted.
- Ability to communicate on a personal level with residents, family members, personnel, visitors, government agencies and the general public.
- Work well with others and show leadership and supervisory ability.
- Knowledge of medical and nursing practices and procedures, and the regulations, laws and guidelines pertaining to long term care.
- Maintain a cheerful, patient and enthusiastic disposition and handle difficult residents.
- Display a willingness to research and learn about new methods and principles and ways to incorporate them into existing practices to benefit the resident.
Demonstrate Safe and Effective Use of Equipment such as:
- Oxygen wall regulators/portable oxygen
- Patient Call System
- Electronic thermometer
- TPN administration
- Foley catheters
- Geri chair
- Specialty beds
- Computer, printer, copier, fax
- NG tube/suctioning
- Safety bed alarm system
- IV pump
- Gait belt
- Crash Cart
- Insulin pump
- Lifting equipment
- Enteral feeding pump
- Anti embolic stockings