Why Staff Training is a Must
Memory care providers take note – misleading memory care advertising is becoming a focus for a number of advocates and state executives who are now pursuing (and suing) facilities who promise well trained staff and specialized memory care programs, yet are not delivering as promised.
Most, if not all who provide memory care programs market and sell their programs on well trained staff, specialized programs and activities, and individualized and person-centered care. But how many facilities are true to the spirit of such advertising? Are they actually providing staff training, and delivering such unique environments, activities, programs, expertise and the specialized care that they proclaim?
Recent news stories focus on nursing facilities, however advocates and state executives are acutely aware of consumer concerns in the assisted living memory care industry. Despite less regulation and oversight in assisted living, advocates and state executives are cognizant of the need to protect consumers in this predominately private pay environment as well.
Staff training is essential for providing specialized memory care. Yet training is often infrequent, inadequate and ineffective. Unless required by the state, some facilities do not provide any dementia training despite caring for a large percentage of residents with a dementia diagnosis. Often for those who do provide training, education on dementia is exclusively online and they rely on staff to access training on their own. Many organizations do not even require a specific online curriculum be completed before they begin providing care for a resident with dementia, and seem to believe that staff will access the online training when needed. While online and computer training is beneficial, online training alone does not give staff all that they need when caring for a person with dementia – an opportunity to ask questions, share strategies and brainstorm on potential techniques and solutions with leadership and one another.
Leadership teams who provide initial and ongoing training “in person” better equip staff to manage residents with dementia, but also demonstrate that staff are valued and worth the time and effort. This in turn enhances staff satisfaction and retention, so critical to memory care programs. And the “learning” for staff should never end; new residents, new situations and new strategies are worth exploring with staff, face to face.
Staff training, ongoing education, communication and support enhance the staff’s ability to provide the type of care, enjoyable programs and experiences we would want for someone we love. Ask yourself if you are prepared or able to develop programs internally or if you would be better served to seek external experts. If the answer is no, find a consultant who does know and can help.
Don’t promise what you cannot and do not deliver. It is not only detrimental to the resident, family and staff but will cost a great deal in the end; reputation, financially and now potentially in a lawsuit and damaging press.