Navigating the intricacies of the survey process can seem difficult. However, with the right strategies, mindset, and preparedness plan your facility can emerge stronger and better equipped for success than ever before. In this week’s blog, we delve into the key aspects of managing the survey process to focus our teams on not only achieving compliance, but also to strive for excellence.

  1. Preparation is Paramount:

The foundation of survey success lies in thorough preparation. Start by familiarizing yourself with the survey process and requirements. Develop a comprehensive plan that outlines timelines, responsibilities, and resources needed for managing the survey process. Consider conducting mock surveys to identify areas for improvement and fine-tune your processes accordingly.

  1. Foster a Culture of Continuous Compliance:

Compliance shouldn’t be viewed as a box to check off, but rather as an integral part of your organization’s culture. Instill a sense of accountability and ownership among staff members regarding regulatory requirements. Define collective goals for the entire facility and for departments, and help staff understand the role they play in achieving objectives. Share specific outcomes that they helped bring to fruition. Provide regular training sessions and open communication channels to reinforce this culture of compliance and team work. Plan regular QAPI monitoring activities followed by constructive feedback on what staff are doing well, as well as specific opportunities for improvement.

  1. Empower Your Team:

Your frontline staff are your greatest assets in the survey process. Empower them with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to excel. Encourage a proactive approach to identifying and addressing potential issues before they escalate. Recognize and celebrate individual team member’s contributions to maintaining high standards of care during walking rounds, through written notes, and when there are opportunities for public acknowledgement. Offer support and allow time for listening to staff feedback on what they need to perform their job well.

  1. Implement Effective Survey Entrance Drills:

Establish a structured survey entrance drill to ensure immediate readiness when surveyors arrive. Conduct rounds to check critical areas such as the kitchen, dumpsters, med rooms, and unit refrigerators. Secure any hazards and review staffing projections and med pass readiness with licensed staff. Department heads should conduct rounds every morning, focusing on their specific tasks outlined in the survey entrance drill.

  1. Provide Prompt and Relevant Information:

When interacting with surveyors, provide required information promptly and succinctly. Offer only the necessary documentation (such as specific care plans or weight sheets,) rather than overwhelming surveyors with unnecessary details. Encourage staff to report back to the Administrator and DON after surveyor interactions and keep copies of all items requested for review.

  1. Foster Transparency and Honesty:

Maintain honesty and transparency in all interactions with surveyors. Correct any identified issues immediately, even if that means you’re making the correction in front of a surveyor. Accompany surveyors whenever possible, offering assistance and ensuring they have access to necessary information and resources.

  1. Establish Clear Roles and Responsibilities:

Ensure all team members know their roles and responsibilities during the survey process. Conduct frequent rounds throughout the facility, touching base with surveyors periodically to offer assistance. Hold daily stand-up and stand-down meetings with staff to direct and recap survey activity, emphasizing the importance of teamwork and communication.

In conclusion, managing the survey process effectively requires proactive planning, a commitment to compliance, and a focus on continuous improvement. By embracing these key principles and fostering a culture of excellence, you can navigate the survey process with confidence and emerge as a strong leader in quality care. Remember, success is not just about achieving compliance—it’s about exceeding expectations and making a meaningful difference in the lives of those you serve.

Tap into these Proactive resources as part of your survey readiness journey:

      • Its not too late to join us for the Survey Prep and Understanding Post Survey Elements 8-week webinar series which began March 20th and continues through May 8th. When you register for the series, you’ll receive an on-demand recording to any sessions you missed.
      • New for 2024! Proactive’s Survey Ready Toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for survey success. This toolkit combines the wisdom of the Proactive regulatory team’s decades of survey experience into an 8-week facility plan that can be implemented in bite-size increments, with progressive duties delegated to each department. View the table of contents




Shelly Maffia, RN, MSN, MBA, LNHA, QCP, CHC, CLNC, CPC
Director of Regulatory Services

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