Outcomes of SERVICE on Memory Care

This final installment of a four-part blog describes the accomplishments, in just a month, of many of the participants from a two-day workshop I conducted for the Georgia Healthcare Association and the Alzheimer’s Association on developing a dementia program in their facilities.
Participants implemented aspects of SERVICE, a framework for an exemplary dementia program, by creating an action plan for at least one strategy to begin or enhance their dementia programs.

On Day 1, attendees gathered in small groups and identified an area that was of most concern for their facilities. Each then established an action plan to implement over the next month, with the expectation to report back their experience and progress in their respective facilities to the attendees at Day 2 of the seminar. Reports were to include successes, as well as barriers they encountered.

On Day 2, participants shared their reports on individual projects over the past month, and outcomes. Areas of focus included staff selection, orientation, preparation and turnover, as well as dementia education.

Some groups believed that in order to begin any new process, or initiatives related to staff, it was necessary to first create a respectful environment, including respect for all stakeholders. Two such groups worked on implementing a more respectful environment. Other groups determined that having an organizational vision was most important prior to initiating any new, additional programs.

Below are some results for the participants, by chosen topic group.
• Vision:
o Gathered 50+ staff members to discuss who/what they wanted to be. Generated a great deal of information, including building relationships and ownership in the organization. Work in progress.

• Communication:
o Questionnaire for all staff, turned in with no names. On suggestions of staff, implemented communication tree and town hall meetings.
o Encouraged conversations in Monday morning meetings. “I feel strongly about” and assigned point person to follow-up on requests/concerns.

• Staffing:
o Met with all staff to gather information. Learned that all believe they are not listened to, they had no voice in the organization.
o Involve more staff in interview process. Gathering ideas for how to improve, manage staff concerns and complaints.

• Turnover:
o Created a skills list to ensure that staff are prepared.
o Encouraging staff to stay and grow. Expressing that organization is committed to helping.

• Education:
o Determined need for more education for new hires.
o Determined need for 2 inservices on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia per year.

• Respect:
o Survey all staff on respect. Found that respect was lacking in manager to manager, and direct care staff to direct care staff relationships. Found respect was an issue on all levels, in all departments, and on all shifts.
 Working with staff to create a “respect” program
o To enhance respect and relationships, facility entered a parade and built a float.
o All staff worked together to build the float, huge improvement in moral and relationships among all staff.
o Plan to do more staff projects and work on ways to come together and enhance staff relations.

I was in awe of how much, in only 1 month, many of the participants were able to accomplish. In addition, they learned a great deal from their projects along the way and shared that learning with the large group.

The group had an overall realization that a good program is all-inclusive and requires the input and cooperation of all stakeholders. Once the foundation is built, a culture is developed and an exemplary dementia program can be achieved.

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