RCare News & Blog
Do you work with someone who always goes above and beyond the call of duty? Do you know a caregiver who has a special bond with their residents, someone who truly makes a difference in their community? Do you have an exceptional employee who always brings something extra to the job? RCare would like to celebrate these passionate workers, tell their stories, and give them the recognition they deserve.
The Caregiver of the Year Award was created by RCare to recognize the important work done each and every day by frontline caregiving staff. In line with RCare’s mission to help seniors and those who care for them, this award is a way to celebrate the often unsung heroes who do the challenging and meaningful work of caring for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations.
“Everyone knows someone who is exceptional on the job, who goes above and beyond, who really has a positive impact on the community,” said Jeff Knauss, CEO and Owner of RCare. “We want to celebrate these special people, share their inspirational stories, and give them that moment in the spotlight that they deserve.”
If you or someone you know deserves this award, please submit a nomination. (Yes, you can even nominate yourself.) Three lucky winners will be randomly drawn from the nominees to receive prizes worth $500. Also, those who submit a nomination will receive a gift card for coffee.
Prior winners of this award include Cecibel Quintanilla de Medrano, CNA at Renaissance of Annandale, Janelle Zacho, Director of Nursing at Columbia Health Care Center, and Megan Snead, a nurse at University Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.
RCare is accepting nominations now through January 31, 2022. Nominations must be submitted through our online form. Winners will be announced on National Caregivers Day, February 22, 2022.
“A body at motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest.” We’ve all heard Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of motion, and it applies to motion everywhere, including in long-term care communities. Limited exercise and too much time spent sitting can have effects on the health of people of all ages. However, the impact is magnified as we age. A sedentary lifestyle leads to a higher risk for depression and diabetes in elder adults. It also contributes to bone loss and the loss of muscle mass. Time spent outdoors has been associated with reduced sedentary time and increased physical activity among the elderly. However, it can be difficult to create a safe and inviting outdoor space at a long-term care community. Try these tips to increase resident safety outdoors.
1. Add Visual Cues to Alert Residents to Danger
You’re accustomed to the yellow caution tape that alerts the public to unexpected dangers. Dimming eyesight can make raised spots or steps difficult to see, creating a tripping hazard. Increase resident safety outdoors and minimize these dangers by lining steps with yellow tape.
Paint curbs and elevated areas with bright paint colors to draw attention to changes in elevation. These simple changes can be all it takes to make otherwise dangerous areas easier to navigate.
2. Post Large, Bright Signs
Familiarity represents safety. When you go for a walk in an unfamiliar area, you use visual clues to remind you how to get back to your residence. For elders who have failing vision, bigger, brighter cues are required. Signs that direct residents to entrances or lead the way to established outdoor seating add familiarity to walking paths and outdoor activity areas.
3. Include Seating Areas
Seating may not seem like a safety feature. But fatigue is a major contributor to falls. Creating shaded seating areas and placing multiple benches along walkways offers plenty of spots for a quick rest for those who need it. That helps increase resident safety outdoors. Instead of overheating or becoming short of breath, residents can regain their energy for a safer walk.
4. Keep the Grounds Clean
Fallen branches and even leaves can be a tripping hazard for those with poor vision. Keeping your landscape clean and tidy is essential for curb appeal and creating an appealing appearance for visitors.
It’s important to go one step further to create a safe outdoor space for elder adults. Conveniently placed trash cans will help eliminate litter. Frequent cleanups by your landscaper can help prevent natural debris from building up around seating areas and walkways.
In addition to keeping the grounds clean, smooth pathways are a necessity for easy navigation. Paved and gravel walkways create an attractive outdoor space. However, cracks, bumps, and uneven layers of gravel create a falling hazard. Paved walkways with cracks and dips represent a falling hazard. When gravel creates humps, the terrain can become impassable. Inspect all walkways routinely to increase resident safety outdoors.
5. Provide Emotional Security
Resident safety outdoors is about more than physical safety. Feeling safe is an important part of having the confidence to explore new options. You wouldn’t embark on a dangerous activity without a safety harness.
Reduced activity often occurs alongside the transition to a new home. Residents faced with new surroundings see danger everywhere, and rightfully so. It’s easy to lose your way in unfamiliar territory. Dimming vision means new terrain can lead to a painful fall.
Without encouragement, elders don’t get the opportunity to get used to these surroundings. So a sedentary lifestyle quickly follows. When residents are equipped with pendants that connect them directly with staff members, they have a safety line so they can explore. RCare pendants are comfortable to wear on a necklace or wristband, have advanced location protocol, and bring help with the push of a button.
6. Use Fences and Borders
Sudden changes in terrain can be dangerous. While flowerbeds and mulched areas create an attractive landscape, sudden changes in terrain can cause twisted ankles and falls. Blocks and short fences surrounding flower beds and mulched areas can eliminate hazards and also allow you to keep attractive features that residents enjoy. Increasing resident safety outdoors doesn’t need to conflict with curb appeal.
7. Enhance Accessibility
Indoor accessibility is a common concern. However, for many retirement communities, the outdoors focuses on curb appeal instead of accessibility. Narrow pathways and sloping terrain aren’t particularly inviting for residents confined to a wheelchair or dependent on a walker.
Like the ramps and specialized landings found indoors, the outdoors needs to provide comfortable accessibility for those who need it most. Wide pathways, traction strips, and rails near curbs, stairs, and uneven terrain will make outdoor spaces easier to navigate. This means residents will become more likely to use the space.
Time spent outdoors provides a wealth of health benefits. Sunlight provides vitamin D, and simply going outside more frequently leads to increased activity and a healthier lifestyle. Daily walks can increase muscle mass and improve bone health, leading to better balance and more strength. Ultimately, when you increase resident safety outdoors, you improve the health of elders in your long-term care community. Contact us today to learn more about our safety solutions.
WEBSTER, N.Y. (PRWEB) JULY 07, 2021
Knauss Brings Proven B2B Sales Track Record.
RCare, Inc. (Response Care), creator of advanced nurse call and monitoring solutions, announced it has a new owner and CEO, Jeffrey Knauss. Knauss assumed day-to-day leadership of the company after purchasing RCare from founder, Myron Kowal, when he retired earlier this year.
Knauss brings a wealth of experience to the company, including 27 years at a Fortune 500 company, where his experience spanned the entire value chain, including electrical engineering, marketing, and international sales. Motivated by a passion to “make our world better,” Knauss looks forward to putting his broad skills to work scaling up the company’s product line and establishing a measured and focused roll-out strategy.
“RCare has a uniquely talented team with a comprehensive skillset,” Knauss remarked. “The senior living industry is making big changes, particularly in response to COVID. RCare will be innovating every step of the way to offer the best support.”
“We are really excited about the skills and focus that Jeff brings to RCare,” said Nick Garofoli, RCare’s Director of Operations. “As we expand our business and refine our product line, we are in good hands with Jeff’s leadership.”
Knauss has lived in the Rochester area his entire life, and was thrilled to find this opportunity in his hometown. “I’ve lived and traveled all over the world, but Rochester is home to me,” he said. “I am inspired by the passion that Myron has instilled in RCare. RCare’s mission, to improve the lives of seniors and those who care for them, remains strong and true to who we are.”
Finding the right balance for your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule is critical. Having too small of an overnight team can lead to slow call responses and delays between an alert and checking on a resident. Overstaffing, on the other hand, can be costly — and you may end up underutilizing your workers. Your facility has unique staffing needs based on your current facility size, available technology, and best practices. Utilize these tips help you more effectively assess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule.
1. Pay Attention to Staffing Regulations
Long-term care facilities must provide adequate staff to meet the needs of your residents. Your specific staff requirements can depend on the number of residents you have and their specific levels of care. Tracking that information through a staffing app can make it easier to keep up with the specific regulations in your area. You can also gain new insights into how they apply to your residents and facility.
2. Track Staff Utilization
One of the most effective ways to reassess your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule needs is taking a look at your current staff utilization. Do your employees frequently feel overworked or stressed, especially during overnight shifts? Do you have employees standing around with little to do on a regular basis?
Track employee utilization and how they’re spending their time during their shifts. You can use a staffing app or ask employees and their supervisors to report:
- The tasks they take care of during their shifts
- How many employees were on that shift
- How they think those factors impact patient care
Pay particular attention to what tasks staff members take care of during their shifts. Are staff members constantly on the go, with nonessential tasks getting put off until later? Or are staff members able to easily take care of the tasks they need to get done over the course of their shifts? Equally importantly, are staff members looking for work to do during their shifts? Too little to do can lead to low employee engagement and make it just as difficult to keep good, solid employees on your shifts as having too much work to do. You do not want your employees to feel as though they aren’t accomplishing their goals or are unable to provide adequate patient care.
3. Note Response Times
You never want a resident in your long-term care facility waiting too long to receive care from your staff, whether that resident has a medical issue or needs assistance getting out of bed, going to the toilet, and getting dressed. Typically, nurses and other staff members will have rounds that they perform in the morning and evening, helping residents get ready for the day or get ready for bed.
It’s normal for there to be some delays during these busy times. But your residents should never have to wait too long for the attention they need. Track response times on a regular basis and set attainable goals. How long does it take between a resident indicating a need and a staff member responding? If you note your response times increasing, it could be time to increase the number of staff you have on hand.
4. Utilize a Staffing Agency When Needed
Sometimes, you may temporarily need more employees in your long-term care facility. A staffing agency can provide you with those short-term employees. They can come in on a limited basis and take care of whatever tasks need to be done. Working with a staffing agency on a regular basis can help you create a better relationship with the agency. This will also provide that agency with more information about exactly what type of employees you need.
5. Use Effective Caregiving Tools
Using the right caregiver tools can make a huge difference in your ability to track and report the care you’re providing to your patients. You can also use RCare Mobile to track ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, including the time spent actually taking care of specific patients and their needs.
Over time, this can provide you with much better insight into how many staff members you need on a shift at any given time. RCare’s nurse call reporting, for example, allows administrators to track response times and clearly identify scheduling gaps. You can even get more insight into times when your facility is overstaffed.
RCare can offer the insights you need to help achieve better balance with your long-term care facility’s staffing schedule. You can leverage RCare reporting to identify where additional employees might be needed, and get a better look at how you are able to respond to and care for the residents in your facility.
Senior living communities serve the incredibly important purpose of helping elder residents stay as independent as possible while getting the assistance they need for daily tasks. It can be a delicate balancing act. In the U.S., over 1.3 million people over the age of 65 live in a long-term care community of some sort. Staff members strive to provide the best possible quality of life for each resident in these communities they call home. As in any industry, it’s important to collect feedback to ensure that we are not missing the mark. It sounds easy enough. In fact you may have residents who are very comfortable regularly providing input and advice. However, some residents may be resistant to providing opinions, or responses may be filtered and incomplete. Without this feedback it can be difficult to get a complete picture of overall satisfaction from residents.
Obtaining elder resident feedback is a valuable tool for:
- Improving their quality of care
- Eliminating preventable medical emergencies
- Improving satisfaction within the facility
Formal surveys may be ineffective with this audience. Instead, try these tips to help routinely request feedback from elder residents.
Use Conversations as a Tool to Collect Elder Resident Feedback
When collecting feedback, your first instinct might be to create a survey. But all too often, this can lead to canned responses that provide limited insight. Instead, consider the usefulness of simple conversation. When a familiar staff member inquires about the quality of special foods, enjoyable activities during the day, and how a resident is feeling, valuable feedback can be gathered to determine if there is any room for improvement.
Many residents enjoy having amicable relationships with staff members and will open up when provided the opportunity. Instead of using questionnaires periodically, encouraging staff members to ask questions during their visits can provide valuable feedback about gaps in care or other areas of dissatisfaction. Adding a checklist to a daily or weekly paperwork can remind staff members to initiate these important conversations. When residents are given regular opportunities to share their feelings about their daily life, staff members are more likely to learn where minor changes could create major improvements.
Ask Targeted Questions
If someone asks you if you like living at your home, you’d probably say yes. But as much as you love your home, there would likely be some things you would want to change. Instead of simply asking residents if they enjoy living in the community, create a list of specific topics to bring up naturally in conversation. Factors that impact their quality of life can range from call response time to enjoying a favorite meal. Use these examples to initiate simple conversations that will provide insight into your residents and community:
- Daily Life: Have you interacted with your friends here today? What activities do you enjoy here? When was the last time you got to go outside?
- Health Care: How are you feeling today? Do you have any issues you’re concerned about? Do our nurses and other staff members respond quickly when you call?
- Diet: What did you have to eat today? Did you like it? What’s the best thing we serve here? What’s the worst thing we serve here? What do you wish we could add to the menu?
- General Satisfaction: What’s your favorite thing about our community? What do you like the least about staying here? Do you like your apartment? How could we improve it?
Create a Resident Council
There always residents who are more comfortable sharing their opinions than other. These advocates have deep relationships with others throughout the community and can be a great resource for more detailed feedback. Resident councils are becoming more and more frequent in eldercare communities. They are a great way to solicit feedback from influential members of the community and they help to get elders more directly involved in their care. These groups can be helpful for planning events, as well as providing general feedback and advice. They can also be a useful means to share information throughout the community. If you are looking for a more direct and structured way to gather information directly from the residents, a resident council could be the answer.
Involve Family Members
Family members and other visitors are a great resource for deeper insight into any thoughts or concerns regarding overall care. The purpose of surveying residents isn’t to receive 5-star reviews. The goal is to use feedback to improve the quality of life in the community. With this goal in mind, family members can become natural advocates to help lead to positive changes. Whether residents enjoy face-to-face visits or telephone conversations with their loved ones, their families and friends have insights your staff might not. Talking to them can be a valuable opportunity to gather information about residents’ needs and opinions.
Start Incorporating Elder Resident Feedback Into Your Business Processes
Feedback is an essential part of growth and improvement in any business. However, it’s particularly important in senior care facilities where residents may feel their opinions go unheard. When feedback is honest and complete, it can provide valuable sources of information that allow you to keep a consistent measure of the quality of care within your establishment. Browse our blog to learn more about the ways RCare can help you improve the quality of care for both residents and staff members in your long-term care facility.
In the long-term care industry, forward-thinking CEOs have also become Health Care Heroes for their efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. From wireless nurse call systems to innovative Smart Badges, technological advances have helped to combat the virus. With the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccinations now underway, long-term care residents and employees can finally envision the day when isolation and loneliness in nursing homes will be a distant memory.
But as the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines continues across America, many workers still have unanswered questions about the vaccination process. One of the biggest questions among working Americans is, “Can workplaces require a COVID-19 vaccine?” This question is particularly relevant among healthcare employees and essential workers whose jobs require direct contact with other people. Below is a detailed response to this question. We also discuss some steps businesses can take to foster a safe work environment for employees.
Are There Times When Workplaces Can Require a COVID-19 Vaccine?
It’s possible, but only under very specific circumstances. Some workplaces may be justified in requiring vaccinations if employees who have not been vaccinated present a threat to their colleagues. The most compelling cases for a vaccine mandate are those that involve a high likelihood that non-vaccinated employees would put colleagues, customers, and visitors at risk:
“Employers may require vaccines before employees return to the worksite if the failure to be vaccinated constitutes a direct threat to other employees in the workplace because the virus is rampant and easily transmitted in the workplace,” – Robin Samuel, Attorney, Baker McKenzie
A few long-term care providers have already taken the stance of requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, however some state governments are looking to ban employee vaccination requirements altogether. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that workers check with their employers to learn about specific state or local laws that may require them to be vaccinated. You can start by talking to your manager or Human Resource Director. Many employers distribute or post details in highly visible locations such as break room bulletin boards.
What Do Professional Healthcare Organizations Say About the Vaccine?
The American Hospital Association (AHA), American Medical Association (AMA), and American Nurses Association (ANA) recently penned a letter to healthcare workers. In their letter, they do not directly answer the question, “Can workplaces require a COVID-19 vaccine?” However, they urge healthcare workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine and discuss their experience with other people:
“As frontline caregivers, our essential role in protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities goes beyond the care we provide. As a valued and trusted voice, our example is perhaps the strongest health resource we have. Our hope is simple; we urge you to get the COVID-19 vaccine and share your experience with others.” – American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and American Nurses Association
Notably, the letter uses the word “hope” multiple times with regard to vaccination. They acknowledge that the vaccination “does not signal an immediate end to our nation’s suffering.” But the vaccine is viewed as necessary in order to overcome the virus and potentially bring an end to loneliness in nursing homes and other COVID-19-related challenges.
Could the COVID-19 Vaccine Become Mandatory in the Future?
“Once we know more about the vaccine, it’s possible that it will become mandatory. We need to know much more about how long the vaccine protects people and what may happen over time.” – Penn Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
As more people are successfully vaccinated, questions about the future may arise. For instance, it’s natural to wonder, “Can workplaces require a COVID-19 vaccine in the future?” or, “Can workplaces require a COVID-19 vaccine for frontline workers who are pregnant?“
The federal government does not currently require that individuals receive the vaccine. But this stance could change in the future as more information becomes available about the vaccine and its long-term effects. The best thing to do is follow state, local, and federal news regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. By remaining informed, you can prepare yourself and your employees for the future.
What Can Businesses Do to Emphasize Safety as the Vaccine Is Rolled Out?
The process includes giving clear responses to concerns like, “Can workplaces require a COVID-19 vaccine?” while highlighting the many positive aspects of the vaccines. Here are some simple steps businesses can take to create a safer work environment while vaccinations are underway:
- Step One: Educate workers. Make sure all employees know when they are eligible to receive the vaccine and provide information on how they can sign up. Distribute details in writing and verbally.
- Step Two: Encourage vaccination. Share the letter distributed by the AHA, AMA, and ANA to motivate employees to do their part.
- Step Three: Remain positive. Address loneliness in nursing homes by focusing on a healthier future as more people are vaccinated.
By following these simple steps, you can make sure your employees stay educated and informed about the COVID-19 vaccine. You can also outline its impact on the workplace. Most importantly, you can put your business on the path to a safer, brighter future.
Today is International Women’s Day, which is a day set aside each year to commemorate the achievements of women. First observed in 1909 in New York City, it’s now a global holiday for celebrating the many contributions of women to society, culture, politics and business.
How are you going to celebrate? For those in the Senior Living industry, we recommend registering for the McKnight’s Women of Distinction celebration.
McKnight’s Women of Distinction
This 2-day virtual celebration is organized by McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living. It recognizes and honors an amazing slate of women who inspire others and have a powerful effect on the lives of the individuals they serve in the senior living industry.
This year’s event, held virtually on May 18 and 19, celebrates women in three categories.
- The Hall of Honor is for senior-level professionals in the C-suite or at a level equivalent to vice president or higher and have made a significant impact on their organization or the long-term care industry. This year, 19 women are being inducted into the Hall of Honor.
- Veteran VIPs are women who have worked in senior living or skilled nursing for more than 15 years, and whose hard work and unrelenting dedication has helped make life better for countless residents. This year, the first for this category, 15 women are being recognized as Veteran VIPs.
- Rising Stars are women under age 40 or with fewer than 15 years of experience in the senior living or skilled nursing fields. These 17 women have demonstrated an exceptional commitment at the community or corporate level.
In addition to celebrating and being inspired by this year’s honorees, attendees can learn from, engage with, and listen to the industry’s A-list leaders, network with peers, and get insights into issues important to women leaders working in long-term care today.
Learn more about McKnight’s Women of Distinction 2021.
Caregiver of the Year Award
RCare has its own slate of amazing women to recognize. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing with you the inspiring stories of the three amazing women who were selected for this year’s RCare Caregiver of the Year award. We’re excited to tell you more about these three women making a difference in senior care.
Myron Kowal, CEO and Founder of RCare Inc., has announced his retirement. Webster native Jeffrey Knauss will acquire the business and serve as CEO of the company upon Kowal’s retirement. Myron Kowal and Richard Moore, the original architects of the RCube, will be continuing with RCare in an advisory capacity.
“Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an
idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.” – Theresa Tsalaky
Self-advocacy. The ability to speak up for yourself. The power to ask for the care you need. What started as just a word transformed into a passionate idea, a dream of what eldercare should be. It’s this dream for the future of eldercare that grew into the thriving business of today, RCare. For RCare founder Myron Kowal, it all started when a bed-ridden family member couldn’t successfully advocate for help when he needed it. Kowal knew he had to step in. Acquiring basic parts from RadioShack, he got to work on building his very first nurse call system.
Answering the Call
That defining experience and the persisting idea of self-advocacy ignited a glowing passion in Kowal. He poured himself into improving and advancing nurse call systems for the eldercare community and the caregivers within it. In an industry that spends countless dollars trying to figure out what residents need, Kowal has always believed the solution is simple: residents need to be able to advocate for themselves and to know that when they call for help, it is going to arrive. Kowal believes nurse call to be an extension of the elder, their voice when they’re in need. He and his team have worked tirelessly to create call systems that improve the lives of elders while supporting care partners in providing better care.
Since its founding in 2006, RCare has been installed in nearly 1,400 facilities, has expanded available features, and has developed award-winning mobile capabilities. RCare has been honored by the Rochester Business Journal as a “Rochester Top 100” company and Kowal was personally recognized as a COVID-19 Hero for RCare’s work during the pandemic. Their systems help ensure more than 100,000 calls per day are answered. It’s safe to say that Myron Kowal and RCare have contributed to helping countless elders find their voice and advocate for themselves.
Passing on the Torch
Reflecting on what he has built, Kowal said he is proud and humbled. “Passing the RCare torch is bittersweet. It was absolutely critical to find a successor who would continue to grow RCare, and who would never relent in the mission to be the voice of the elder. I’m grateful that Jeffrey Knauss answered the call. I know he’ll continue to provide the innovation and the vision that will allow caregivers to provide better care.”
Knauss, a Rochester Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, spent 27 years refining his skills in all aspects of the value chain from marketing to engineering to R&D. An expert in business strategy development, product development, and sales channel management, he has the experience and skills necessary to continue to scale a flourishing RCare business.
Different Leader, Same Mission
When considering his next move, Knauss said, “Two things about RCare stood out: the location in the community where I grew up, and the impassioned focus on improving the lives of not just elders, but also those who care for them.” An avid volunteer, Knauss served eight years as Vice Chairman of the Board at the Mary M. Gooley Hemophilia Center in Rochester, NY. “It was this experience that sparked a deep admiration and gratitude for the support that nurses provide not just medically, but emotionally for their patients. It was the nurses that made their mission possible,” Knauss said. The symmetry between this experience and the RCare mission was undeniable.
Knauss said that he looks forward to continuing to drive the RCare mission, creating products that help caregivers seamlessly do what they do best. He is also excited to build a legacy of his own at RCare. “I look forward to generating continued growth in this local community, which is my hometown.” The original architects of the RCube, Myron Kowal and Richard Moore, will be remaining with RCare in an advisory capacity.
Long-term care communities rely on their employees to keep things running, set the tone of the community, and show compassionate care to their residents. Those employees are the bedrock of the community. They’re the reason why residents get the care they need and have a positive experience while living within the community. Employee Appreciation Day is an opportunity to give back to those employees and show them just how valuable they are.
The Benefits of Showing Employee Appreciation in Long-Term Care Communities
Employee recognition and appreciation matter in any workplace. Showing employee appreciation in long-term care communities may be even more valuable. Consider these four benefits:
1. Employee appreciation increases morale.
After a hard year, many employees are struggling to keep up morale in general. Showing appreciation for employees in long-term care communities can help improve their moods and morale, giving them the tools they need to keep working hard in the future.
2. Employee appreciation is directly tied to company culture.
Employees who receive the appreciation they deserve are more likely to give their best and show a positive attitude. These elements are critical when it comes to caring for individuals in a long-term care community. Employees who know they are appreciated are more likely to go above and beyond, show residents a high standard of care, and interact well with other staff members. These are all key elements of company culture.
3. Appreciated employees are engaged employees.
Around 85% of employees across industries report not being engaged at work. For long-term care facility employees, that can mean disengagement with residents or lack of attention to the details of care, which can substantially decrease the treatment those individuals receive in the facility. Appreciation in the workplace, however, can raise employee engagement and get your employees back to providing the standard of care your residents deserve.
4. Employee appreciation in long-term care communities can decrease turnover.
Employees in long-term care facilities have a median turnover rate of around 44%. But showing your employees a high degree of appreciation can increase the likelihood that they will stay with your organization, which can help improve the standard of patient care.
5 Ways to Show Employee Appreciation in Long-Term Care Communities
This past year saw many long-term care facilities struggling with budget challenges. That can make it more difficult than usual to shower your employees with the appreciation they deserve. However, there are several strategies you can use to improve your employee appreciation efforts that may not cost as much as you think. Take a look at some of these suggestions and how you can make them work for your facility.
1. Invite residents to join you in saying thank you.
Your residents and their families are highly appreciative of your facility’s employees, especially in a year where family visits have been restricted. Your employees have, in many cases, had a lot more contact with those residents than their family members have had. Invite your residents to join you in saying thank you. Some ideas are:
- Have residents make cards for specific employees. You can assign employees to residents at random or encourage residents to create cards for their favorite employees — or both! Encourage your residents to include specific reasons why they appreciate the employees who work with them every day.
- Ask residents to help put together a banner (or several banners, depending on the size of your facility) that expresses their appreciation for employees in the organization. Encourage them to sign their names and write positive affirmations and thanks to the workers.
- Have residents participate in an event that expresses why they appreciate all the employees in the facility. Encourage them to share the things they appreciate most about your employees, including the actions they take. Give them the chance to give speeches or to otherwise share their appreciation verbally.
2. Don’t forget the support staff that makes your daily routine possible.
When you’re showing appreciation for employees throughout your long-term care facility, make sure you take notice of the employees that often remain behind the scenes. This list includes the cooks, janitorial staff, maintenance personnel, and more. All of your employees deserve appreciation, especially after this year! So highlight the contributions of those employees with signs, banners, and emails that detail the efforts they put forth every day to make your community a happier one for your residents.
3. Give the gift of time to show employee appreciation in long-term care communities.
If you’re on a tight budget, then you may be able to offer your employees a gift that costs little: the gift of time. Without understaffing your facility to accommodate this idea, consider:
- Offering your employees additional vacation time.
- Providing them with longer breaks throughout the course of those employee appreciation days.
- Offering them some work hours when they can relax.
That gift of time can help employees relax in ways that they may not usually have the chance to over the course of a normal workday.
4. Provide specific, written recognition to employees.
Let employees know that they are seen — not just by the residents in your long-term care facility but also by the management team. Send out emails or offer a written note that specifically thanks them for what they do. Try to take note of what sets specific employees apart.
For example, is there an employee who always seems to be positive and upbeat, even in the midst of trying times or difficult shifts? What about an employee who always seems to see what’s needed most and takes care of it without anyone noticing? Show that you have seen these attributes in your employees and offer them specific appreciation and recognition for them.
5. Offer small rewards.
Bring in doughnuts, give out a small candy treat, or offer employees gourmet coffee treats for a day. While these things do have a monetary cost, they may not substantially impact your budget. But they can certainly go a long way toward letting your employees know that you appreciate their efforts. Make sure you combine these efforts with direct thanks or recognition for employees.
Employee Appreciation Day is an excellent opportunity to show your long-term care facility employees how much you have appreciated them and their efforts, not just this year but in all the weeks and months before it. Help them see how valuable they are by providing them with recognition and thanks on this important day.
If you’re in skilled nursing, you’re probably in the process of figuring that out right now. Because, as you know, QAPI is the new CMS law of the land.
According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), “QAPI is a data-driven, proactive approach to improving the quality of life, care, and services in nursing homes.” It starts with quality assurance (QA), the steps facilities take to meet quality standards and regulations. Then it adds performance improvement (PI). QAPI (QA and PI together) is meant to help facilities meet minimum regulatory quality standards, and then to make the quality of services even better.
Does Your Nurse Call System Matter for QAPI?
Central to QAPI is the satisfaction of residents and their families, and call response time is a great place to start. Do your residents trust that when they request help it will come quickly and will address their needs? Or do they wait, frustrated or afraid, wondering how long before help will arrive?
Built into every RCare system is the RMetrix reporting and analytics package that lets you track call response times, so that you can assess your current status, and set target goals.
- What is an acceptable amount of time for a client to wait for help and what isn’t?
- How well are you doing at staying inside that acceptable range?
- Are your staffing levels right for each place and time?
With RCare, you can track call response time for the organization, or filter it by:
- Group – facility, wing, hallway, or whatever grouping makes sense for your community.
- Time – to see how things are going by shift.
- Enterprise – For large organizations, Enterprise RMetrix lets you evaluate response times across your entire organization at as broad or fine-grained a level of detail as you need.
Frequent caller reports let you see:
- Who is calling?
- Are the calls primarily from just a few residents?
- Are call numbers higher on one shift or in one part of your facility?
RPhone and The Resident’s Experience
- RCare’s integrated HIPAA-compliant mobile handset, the RPhone, has the unique “I got it” feature that helps both residents and staff. It lets a staff member claim a call that comes through, preventing unclaimed calls, and preventing duplication of effort, which helps make the best use of your staff’s time.
- It provides personalized information about the resident, so that staff can offer greater personalization and comfort, even if the caregiver or the resident is new. It allows staff members to phone the resident directly to let them know help is on the way, and allows them to find out more information about what is needed.
- With the RPhone, care staff check in when they arrive at the room, and check out when they leave. They can record the services performed during the call. This is powerful information for your quality teams, as they try to understand more deeply the processes they’re working to improve.
- The powerful RMetrix reporting helps you identify specific calls that fall outside the norms, to help you investigate potential problems and get to their root cause.
Your Organization’s Other Services:
Your QAPI program must address all services provided by your facility and thus extends to all departments.That’s another reason RCare’s call system is so powerful. Staff across the facility benefit from the system, and residents never need to pull a cord.
- Passive sensors integrated directly into the system can monitor temperatures of every room and send alerts if temps stray out of the normal range.
- Integrated water sensors report flooding or overflows.
- Universal contact sensors report doors that are open when they should be closed, or closed when they should be open.
- Refrigerator temperature sensors continuously check and record temps, and send alerts for temperatures out of the safe range.
- Smoke detectors, integrated right into the nurse call system, so everyone is alerted if there’s a problem in a room.
By now, you should have your written QAPI plan in place, and implementation should have begun. As you plan your performance improvement projects, it’s critical to have objective performance measurements of where you started, where you want to go, as well as the ability to monitor the effects of your changes. You need data to evaluate where you have opportunities for improvement, and where you’re exceeding expectations. You need to measure progress, and to provide insight to investigations of where problems persist. Root Cause Analysis provides the most insight when it’s evidence-based and drawn from reliable data.
RCare is more than a nurse call system. Add RCare to your QAPI! Contact us today.