Nursing Homes: Inventory Stock Control

Inventory management demands a huge deal of time from caregivers working in health care environments.

Caregivers often have to stop what they are doing to manually count what’s in stock, quantities to be ordered and then count item in upon receiving them at the Nursing home. Each time this happens, the caregiver has less time to spend with their residents on the delivery of quality, personalized care.

Complying with Regulation

Managing the Nursing Home’s medicine inventory is a crucial aspect of maintaining safety and quality.

‘Medication error rate. Nursing facilities must ensure that the medication error rate does not exceed five percent.’ (OBRA-87).

Ensuring that documented quantities of each medicine match actual quantities that are in stock is essential to demonstrating compliance with OBRA. Disposal and/or return of unwanted medicines by suitably trained staff is another important aspect of complying with Safety standards.

Human Error & Potential Risk in Inventory Records

Inventory management becomes increasingly complex for larger Long-Term Healthcare facilities, or where there are multiple units in one organization.

In a facility with large numbers of residents being cared for, the likelihood increases for medicines being ordered via multiple locations and in some instances, dispensed by more than one distributor.

Managing medicine inventories can soon become a large and extremely fragmented task.

Counting in Medicine Quantities

Counting of medicine quantities is performed rigorously and with the utmost care sometime by more then one care giver, though it is still extremely susceptible to risk due to the potential for human error.

This risk exists in all processes that are performed manually, particularly where more than one person is involved in entering data to a single inventory record.

Where even one quantity of a medicine is miscounted, this error can cause a trickled effect throughout the reordering and receiving process, causing inaccurate quantities to be recorded multiple times and multiple inaccuracies to exist within the Nursing Home records.

This presents a significant risk of the Nursing Home being marked as Unsafe if an inspection were to occur and numerous errors were identified in the homes records.

Inventory Management

Good inventory management system takes care of not only ordering items, but the entire inventory management process.

This includes:

  • supply and ordering
  • storage
  • disposal
  • recording

Key Issues in Manual Inventory Management

Caregivers are removed from the provision of care for lengthy time periods to complete the reordering and counting in of received medicines.

There is the potential for human error to occur in manual counts of large medicine quantities, causing miscounts to be documented in care records.

Medicines do expire and must then be destroyed causing considerable wastage of resources.  Wastage increases when medicines are over ordered.

On the other hand, if under-ordering occurs then residents will not receive proper care.  This poses a risk to the health and safety of the Nursing homes residents, particularly where they rely on a certain medicine for pain management or management of a serious health issue.

Keeping an audit trail can become difficult when records are handwritten by numerous staff, and legibility issues often arise.

All of which contribute to the compliance ratings of a Nursing home and so it should be considered in your systems and processes.

Learn more how to accurately keep track of your inventory in Nursing Home.