Beginning October 24, 2022, nursing home surveyors will use the new guidance that CMS published in late-June of this year. While there are many significant changes coming to Appendix PP, for the purposes of this article we want to focus on language added to F Tag 919 and the Resident Call System.
The language added to F Tag 919 aims to provide more detail about the accessibility of the resident call system. The added language says:
The call system must be accessible to residents while in their bed or other sleeping accommodations within the resident’s room.
The call system must be accessible to the resident at each toilet and bath or shower facility. The call system should be accessible to a resident lying on the floor.
Is there a functioning communication system from rooms, at the bedside, toilets, and bathing facilities in which resident calls are received and answered by staff? Is the call system accessible if the resident were lying on the floor?
When the changes to F919 were reviewed, the question arose: Does the call light at the bedside need to be accessible “if the resident were lying on the floor?
Long-term care stakeholders were able to reach out to CMS directly for an answer to this question, and CMS confirmed that access to the call system while on the floor is only indicated in the bathroom and shower. Like NFPA 99 and the FGI Guidelines, the requirement for the resident call system to be accessible to a resident while lying on the ground does not include the resident bedside. While the guidance in Appendix PP may not be completely clear on this, CMS’ clarification will help prepare providers should there be a question of call system accessibility at the bedside.