Review guidelines for skills testing

Tips help set up skills olympics

Community Health and Counseling Services (CHCS) in Bangor, ME, has created the following guidelines for procedure skills testing, along with a written test:

Procedure skills testing:

These guidelines will be followed and used with all skills being tested. Please familiarize yourself with them prior to testing. This is a testing model, not a teaching model. If a skill is performed unsuccessfully, the supervisor will arrange for teaching to occur at a different time, followed by retesting. The area manager in each office will be responsible for assessing the competency of those registered nurses testing the home health aides. All RNs involved in the testing must be totally familiar with the skills being tested and the subjects included in the written component of the test.

One unsatisfactory rating on a criterion sheet constitutes a failure, since each of those criteria is considered an essential performance. If a home health aide is unable to pass a skills competency, she will not be assigned that particular skill with any client until the competency has been successfully demonstrated.

All CHCS home health aides must be competency tested annually. If an individual is out on any type of leave at the time of the skills testing, she will be tested within 30 days of return. The schedule of competency testing in each area will be distributed to all offices to ease in scheduling. All retesting must be completed no later than the end of March. If a person is unable to pass the skills testing despite individualized teaching, it becomes a performance behavior deficiency.

Any home health aide preparation time for the skills olympics should be documented on a staff development form. All this time counts toward the 12-hour minimum required by federal and state regulation. The core competencies are identified on the staff development form and the competency testing grid. All of these must be done in each area office. Each area office may then individualize other competencies as needed according to your assessment. The outcomes of the testing will serve as a foundation for skills needs assessment in your office and will help to guide you in educational programming.

The home health aide will:

    1. Verify presence of procedure on client's care plan.

    2. Gather needed equipment.

    3. Explain nature and purpose of procedure to client/caregiver prior to initiating.

    4. Use appropriate universal/standard precautions and personal protective equipment.

    5. Do appropriate assessment before, during, and after procedure.

    6. Document time, results, and client responses in clinical record per department policy.

    7. Discard disposable equipment as per agency policy.

    8. Indicate correct way to clean nondisposable equipment.

    9. Tell them that some procedures may be done only on a case-by-case basis and they should refer to the procedure inventory.

Written test:

    10. Home health aide will use an answer sheet when taking written test. Original test should be secured for reuse. A key will be provided for the supervisor.

    11. Minimum passing score is 90%. We are requesting that if an individual gets a question wrong, to record the question number on the staff development form (we have a designated spot for this information). The reason we are doing this is for internal quality control to identify any trend for questions missed.

    12. If a home health aide does not score 90%, the supervisor will arrange for teaching to occur at a different time, followed by retesting of those items missed.

    13. Passing score on staff development form must reflect 90% before it is submitted to staff development.

    14. All teaching time should be documented on a staff development form as it counts toward mandatory minimum of 12 hours.

(See skills olympics certificate, next page.)