One of the major advances of MDS 3.0 is the use of direct interview items to capture the resident’s voice or self-reporting. Research and analysis related to the MDS 3.0 concludes that resident interviews can be accurate and feasible. Even residents with cognitive impairment can reliably answer questions about how they feel and what they want. In fact, the cognitive, mood, preferences for customary routine and activities, and pain assessments of the MDS 3.0 will all use a simple interview with standardized language and can be the sole information source.
Only a small percentage of residents who cannot participate or communicate will use an alternative assessment method. According to the CMS research team, these new interview sets—Brief Interview for Mental Status (BIMS), Confusion Assessment Method (CAM), PHQ-9 or mood assessment, and pain items—were easy for staff members to use in the demonstration facilities and revealed improved sensitivity and correlation to clinical standards.
The basics of interviewing skills for long-term care staff members should be taught, monitored, and encouraged at every opportunity. Don’t allow the interview process to become rote or simply a paperwork compliance task. This is easily detected through a review of care plans, resident responses to facility life, and the survey interview process.
Remember, although technique is important, attitude is more important. It’s all about relationships. As you begin to practice interviews, the relationships with residents, families, and staff will begin to grow as well. The relationships you build will increase satisfaction on all levels and move your facility toward culture change.
To conduct a successful MDS 3.0 interview, LTC staff members must:
- Choose an appropriate time. Interview a resident or family member at his or her convenience. Be sure that your interview does not interrupt mealtime, an activity, a doctor’s appointment, or any previously scheduled event.
- Come to the interview with a clear mind, leave any distractions behind, and don’t allow others to interrupt the conversation.
- Take control of the environment. Arrange a suitable environment for interviewing.
- Introduce yourself.
- Explain the purpose of the interview.
- Use appropriate language.
- Speak slowly. Ask questions one at a time and allow ample time for responses. Do not rush the interviewee.
- Develop rapport. Take the time to get to know the interviewee and develop rapport if it doesn’t already exist.
- Pay attention to body language.
- Practice skilled listening. Make understanding gestures, such as head nods, and sounds, such as “hmmm” or “I see.”
- Validate or clarify information as you go.
- Give the resident the opportunity to ask questions and then close the interview. Be sure to thank the interviewee for his or her time.
This information was adapted from HCPro’s handbook, Interviewing Essentials for MDS 3.0 and QIS.