I have never done this, but in my experience what I have seen is that usually a consultant is the person who makes sure that the facility is providing the best care for the resident and ensures that they are in regulatory compliance. A lot of facilities have a consultant that does the nursing part, one for dietary, one for enviromenntal services, etc, and they all concentrate on their department to make sure they are following the regulations and facility ploicy. The nursing consultants assist the director of nursing with the nursing functions, do chart audits and mock surveys and also help with anything else that could be part of the nursing department. The consultant is the person who the DON can go to for help. Chart audits are a big part of it, but also making sure that the staff are following proper procedures is also important. The nurse consultants I have seen are the support for the DON to help him/her, know the regulations and be able to help the facility during survey with any issues that arise. Lots of times the consultants help the DON and support him/her with solving quiestions and issues that arise during survey and with the plan of correction if needed. I am not sure exactly what your job description entails, but if they have a list of regulations that you are to check charts for, then they want you to be able to go through the charts and make sure that there are no regulatory issues. They want you to look at the charts like a surveyor would and see if you are able to find things that could be deficient practice. In order to do this you have to be very familiar with the facility policy and procedures and the regulations. They probably want you to look for things like making sure the physicians visits are within the time frames they are supposed to be, orders are signed and followed through, labs done, MD and RP's are notified, MARS and TARS are completed, and anything that is documented is complete, accurate and followed through on, care plans
are reviewed and revised when necessary, and a whole list of things that the surveyors will look for, but not only because the surveyors will look for it, but to ensure that the apropriate care is given for each resident. It is a big job. I have often thought that I would like to be a consultant some day...sometimes the consultant fills in for the DON and must be able to take over if the DON resigned or is out sick- in other words, can function an an interm DON if necessary. You have to look at the chart, and also look at the resident to make sure the chart reflects the accurate documentation and care that the resident is receiving...I hope this helps a little and doesn't freak you out, but this is based on the experience I have had with consultants.