We are fortunate to have smaller settings, where staff are have fewer seniors to care for each shift. Our aides know the impact of our smaller size, as many have worked in settings where they may have had 8-15 in a group for their shift. A smaller setting, allows our staff to spend more time with your loved one. Even I know the difference as the CEO. As, I once had 10-15 in my group for many shifts, and found it frustrating and difficult to spend time with residents.
Although our staff have fewer residents in a group, there are times that someone may have to wait, as everyone wants to use the bathroom after every meal and before bedtime. However, no setting has 1:1 staffing ratios, so in this specific windows of time, someone is first in line and someone waits. Because of our size, everything seems to flow well for the staff. Granted, when you are caring for those with dementia, there are times your time management skills get altered, as everyone needs something different each day. Our aides work as universal workers and care for each senior much like it may have been in years gone by in the home.
In addition to the aides, who are there in each home 24 hours a day, we have house coordinators, a LPN, and a RN Director for each campus. The RN Director does return demonstration with each new hire to assure they understand the skills they need to do in their role at Diamond Willow. Each new hire has an aggressive training with over two weeks of training investment. We have a combination of on-line computer training with test out modules, return demonstration with the RN, and shadowing with an existing employee for all new hires.
As a 24 hour operation, we are dedicated to finding great staff. Staff who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of those they serve. Staff who are responsible. Staff who show up for work. Staff who are mature and able to display compassionate to the changing needs of our seniors. Staff who care.
AS the CEO of our organization and on-site Administrator, I was once an aide myself and realize the hard work it takes to care for seniors. However, it is still the most rewarding job I have ever had. I learned so much from every senior I ever cared for. We have been blessed with amazing staff. Our statistics show this. While the industry has turnover that averages 50%, our averages are closer to 8%. This is amazing. I am grateful and humbled by each and every employee who works at Diamond Willow. Each employee knows they have a critical role to play to make a difference daily. They realize the importance of how I speak in their employee newsletters to “Let their light shine”. Every shift, and every day.
We support our staff to further their education, and if and when the time is right to spread their wings, we encourage them for their degree. We have promoted many from within. We have several nurses who over the years started as an aide, and then became a LPN, then a RN, and then a RN leadership in our organization.
We work hard and we have fun at work. Beautiful buildings are great, but it is truly great staff that make something great. Great care is what will always matter in the end. This is timeless. Call me old-fashioned, but nothing can replace the heart of a caregiver. Nothing.