Process will be explained at family night on Monday.

Health care professionals and staff members enter the field for a variety of reasons, probably the least of which is to spend time doing paperwork. Information and data, however, are important in managing and planning for the patients' care, and governmental agencies require that records be submitted.

Many hospitals have already transitioned to electronic records, but Administrative Director Richard Bell believes Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center may be "ahead of the game" for skilled nursing facilities.

They began the process in July, and he anticipates it will take nine months to a year to transition from paper to electronics.

That's a benefit to residents.

"It creates an environment of care focused more on actual quality care time than compliance time," he said. "It gives more accurate information to the government about the care we give and the information results in more quality care services across the spectrum."

Bell demonstrated the process. When a nurse or aide enters a resident's room, there may be 16 possibilities for care. Does the person need assistance to use the restroom? One or two helpers? Or is the person self-sufficient? That matters, Bell noted.

The staff member can pull up the resident's record on a hallway kiosk to learn what care was administered and when, and then document the care given immediately afterward.

That's more efficient than the older system, he said, in which a staff member performed a dozen activities in one room, went next door to perform five to seven and at the end of the shift, how many activities do they actually remember?

There's a computer on the medication cart that provides information directly from the pharmacy. The system prompts the staff member to give the correct drug and dosage at the correct time, making medication errors much less likely to happen.

The records are very secure, Bell stressed.

Electronic record keeping will be mandated for the long-term care industry by 2014, Bell said, although the actual date keeps moving.

The process will be explained at a family night from 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 21. The community is welcome to attend.

"We like people to come in and see the services, and know what's available should they ever need it," Bell said. "Nobody plans to need it (long-term care), but a car accident, a fall or a stroke can change life quickly."

Pratt Rehabilitation and Residence Center is a part of Pratt Regional Medical Center. It is a 51-bed skilled nursing facility that provides rehabilitation, occupational, physical and speech therapies, dietary management and social services.