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FACTS for a Database for a Nursing Home
Red Thread River House Book Cover

The design of this Database has been created by following
our General Approach.
The purpose of the Web Site is to support administration 
and track Patients in a Nursing Home.

The Home will provide 4 levels of Patient Care :-
   1) minumum care
   2) intermediate care
   3) full care
   4) special care units. 

Authorized personel should be able to access information from all units. 

The components of this project are as follows :
   1000+ patients, Name, unit name, room/apt #, phone #, SSn, Age, DOB, 
   Doctors, DName, Dspecialty, Family Contact, FName, Faddress, Fphone #, Medical Insurance(s), 
   company name, address, policy #, Medicare # (SSN + 1letter), Diagnosis, 
   symptoms description, symptom date, Lab test name, lab test date, 
   Radiological test, Radiological test date, Admission date, and Monthly charges. 

Possible Entities :-
 Patients, Care Units, Family Contact, Medicare, Doctors, Insurance, Tests, Billing, Medical History, and 
 Misc. Floor expenses. 

Clarification is required of the appropriate Keys (primary, foreign, composite etc.) 
A good approach for Primary Keys is to make them 'surrogate' keys, which are simply unique integers,
which are constantly increasing. These are implemented as Sequences in Oracle and Identity Fields in Microsoft
SQL Server.
This is especially appropriate for Patients, where it is useful to have use a number which can be automatically
generated in a straightforward manner.

For Tables of Reference or Static Data, such as Levels of Patient Care, there is usually an obvious Primary
Key,such as the Level Number, which can be used as the Primary Key.

There are other situations, frequently referring to fixed assets or situations, where there may be an obvious 
Primary Key.

A good example is the Rooms in the Nursing Home, where it might be sensible to use the Room Number as the Primary Key
of the Rooms Entity or Table.

It is necessary to be sure that Rooms will always be referred to in the same way in the future.
If they are not integers, such as Room 213, then the field can be defined as a character string.
By choosing a length, such as 10 characters, provides a substantial amount of flexibility for the future.
A length of 5 might also be adequate for the present, and migrating in the future is a straightfoward DBA task.

Barry Williams
Principal Consultant
Database Answers
14th. April 2001

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