Social Services + Life Enrichment = Success. How to Collaborate for Resident Social Wellness
This Executive Edition webinar features Janean Kinzie, Director of Social Wellness and Enrichment at American Senior Communities. Resident engagement is integral to overall wellbeing of our residents. But many times, engagement is seen as an Activity Director’s responsibility. Learning how to collaborate and leverage the power and resources of the IDT, and Social Services in particular, can provide better resident engagement, behavioral management, and improvement in senior living community life.
Identify practical strategies for involving IDT members in Social Wellness & Enrichment programs
Understand common goals of Social Services and Life Enrichment for overall Social Wellness of our residents
Recognize collaborative strategies between Social Services and Life Enrichment that impact both Engagement and Behavioral Wellness
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So before we start everything today, I wanted to pause a little bit. And for the audience today, share with you something that I’m personally very excited about, which is Activities Strong, as you all know was built and exists to acknowledge the amazing work of you all activity and life enrichment professionalism, and to educate you and empower you on understanding how to best elevate the resident engagement experience. And one of the people that has been foundational to the success of this platform is actually Meaghan. And I wanted to share with you the audience that Meaghan joined full time last Friday. And so we’re very excited about that at Linked Senior. I’ve known Meaghan for years. She is beyond passionate about the aging industry, bettering the life of the older adults, and is a true leader in this field.
So we’re happy to have her join us full time, and overtime taking a bigger role with activity strong and being with us on camera today. So Meaghan, thank you for the work that you do, excited for what we’re going to be doing in the future. So as I said, Activities Strong was built with the idea of acknowledging, empowering and educating professionals in the senior living industry. This is part of our resident engagement, professional edition, and two things today, as always, as you know, our chart gets very busy. So please, if you have any specific questions for our amazing speaker today, please make sure to have it in the Q and A piece of Zoom. The chat, as you know, gets very busy. And so today we’re going to be talking about social services and life enrichment. equation equals success. How to collaborate for residents’ social wellness.
And we’re joined by Janean Kinzie, who’s the Director of Social Services and Enrichment at American Senior Community. Before we get started just a quick word of introduction. As Meaghan mentioned, I’m the CEO and co-founder of Linked Senior. I’ve been lucky. I’ve always believed that old people are cool. And as importantly, our industry, senior living industry, is quote unquote “Activities Strong.” These are values at Linked Senior that we really believe in. So seven years ago we started this campaign called Old People are Cool for a number of reasons. Probably the biggest one is that we’re just not big fans of this idea of segregation based on age. And it’s also a fun thing to talk about. It’s a healthy discussion to discuss that, to share that. And then, as I mentioned, when the pandemic started, we started this initiative in partnership with Activity Connection, NAB and NCCAP. A little bit about Linked Senior, the company that I co-founded, we are a resident engagement platform for senior living.
We’re based in Washington DC. And we’re very lucky, we’ve been doing amazing work and we’ve now touched the lives of 45,000 residents across the U.S. and Canada. And so we serve independent living, assisted living, memory care and nursing homes, including the ones from American Senior Community. So Janean, thank you so much for this partnership where we’re proud of that partnership and just looking forward to being able to work with you and your team. The platform we provide just helps organizations further their work in terms of resident engagement. So there is a component on the left-hand side where we empower all of our team members to save time and engage residents. And obviously we have a lot of data. So this is what we provide in the middle here, a management tool in the form of a dashboard. And we really believe in the work that is quote unquote “evidence-based.”
So actually, our work was published in a peer reviewed journal in 2019, where we showed amazing outcomes. For example, reduction of antipsychotics or helping people through behavior expression. But obviously one big thing these days is increasing social engagement. So that being said a little bit of background, let me get into the introduction of our speaker today. And I was thinking a bit of how to best introduce Janeane’s presentation, a little bit of her work. And I thought about this quote that I really like, which is that you know, some of you might know the work of Abraham Maslow. He came up with this idea, the pyramid of needs, right? Hierarchy of needs. And here’s this quote that really applies to the field, to the senior living field, the senior care field, which is that “A musician must make music, an artist must paint.
A poet must write if he or she has to be ultimately at peace with himself or herself, what a man or woman can be, he or she must be.” And I think that when I think about this partnership of social services and activities, that is what we professionals in senior living seek to do, right? Is to help our elders or residents find purpose every day. And the more we have this team approach as Janean is going to share with us, the more we can help our elders be who they must be. And so this is why I’m extremely, extremely excited, again, to introduce you to Janean, who is the Director of Social Wellness and Enrichment at American Senior Communities. And just for a little long story, I’ve known Janean for, I think, more than five years now. So it’s been a true pleasure to work with you, Janean. I’ve personally learned from you a lot.
So you, the audience, I love to consider Janean successes and I’m sure she’s going to be discussing it further. But you know, in the time of this pandemic, as our national average of antipsychotics has plateaued and we haven’t made progress much as an industry. Believe it or not, Janean’s company, under her leadership, has been able to reduce the use of antipsychotics by more than 2%. And I think it’s worth highlighting just as an introduction, because this is what leaders do, right? Even in our time of crisis, we innovate our way out of challenges. And so Jenny, thank you so much for being with us today. I’ll let you take it over from here, but thank you for the work that you do and being patient for this presentation.
Thank you so much, Charles. And I will say about you that you have inspired me and I have learned a lot from you over the past five years. I tell everyone that I am absolutely a social worker by training, by degree. And so learning about life enrichment and social enrichment has been a real evolution for me. And I learned a lot from you. So thank you for your partnership too. So it’s great to be with everybody. It’s great to see so many ASC folks on the webinars. So big shout out to you guys for joining us. So we’ll go ahead and get started. And I want to talk to you about this collaboration, because really when we talk about it, it really is derived from my position here at ASC, where I help to oversee both social services and activities in memory care.
And as this evolved, I started thinking, why are all of these separate? Why do they all have separate goals? Why do they all have separate processes? It really has much more in common than different. And so trying to reimagine this as a true social wellness. So what we’ll talk about today is how to collaborate, especially with social services. But we’re going to talk a lot about how to collaborate with your team as well. So I feel like you cannot start any type of education or talk without thinking each and every one of you for not only what you do every single day, but what you’ve done in these past 18 months. The ASC folks know that I get emotional every time I talk about it, but I’m going to try to keep it together today. It has just been an absolute joy to watch the creativity and the dedication and the passion that you all have brought to our residents in just such a desperate time.
And like Charles said, learning from this and having some innovation that’s come out of this pandemic is just inspiring. So thank you to each and every one of you, you just cannot say it enough. So I wanted to start with my story. So one thing that I am very passionate about is learning people’s stories. So you’ll hear me talk at ASC about one of our programs called the Care Companion Culture. And it really talks about the power that everyone’s stories have on their entire way of life, but especially on social wellness. So a little bit about me. I worked in long-term care for a long time since 1999, that doesn’t seem quite right. And I have served at American Senior Communities for the past 11 years. So as I said in the intro, I oversee the social services, life enrichment and memory care programs.
So hence my name, which we’ve made into kind of our new calling is social wellness and enrichment. So I do have two teenage daughters, so I welcome any and all prayers for me. There are 15 and they’re 13 and they look real sweet there, but that’s not always the way. And I do have a little dog named Violet and she is always sweet. I love Disney and I love wine and I love going on any and all vacations. And I am passionate about learning people’s stories and valuing those stories. So of course overview. So what we’re going to talk about today. So first I want to talk about the historical models of social services and activities versus the goals where we’ll talk about social wellness. So we’re going to kind of look back, look forward and next, we’re going to talk about the benefits of that kind of collaboration.
And really I could have named a hundred benefits of this type of collaboration, but for the purpose of today, I want to talk about three, which are improvement in resident engagement, improvement in behavior management, and improved community life. And then lastly, I want to talk about how you can do all these things. So you may think as we’re going through like this all sounds great, but I don’t think I’m there yet. We’re going to end with how you can do this in your own community. So here’s the old way. So you may relate to this kind of picture over here on the left of silos. So the historical model or these models, these departments were all siloed. They all function pretty independently. Each department had different goals that many times were conflicting. And I don’t know if any of you feel that, but I remember feeling that when I was in the building that. Nursing was over here with their goal of fall prevention or wound prevention or these kinds of things.
And I was over here with wanting to have people be engaged, have people be up. And so many times it felt like everyone was siloed with different goals and different functions. I don’t know if you felt this, but I definitely remember feeling that activities were viewed as entertainers, have to keep the residents entertained. And that was the function in that historical way. And then social services managed behaviors in a bubble. So when I was in the building, if there was a behavior, everybody kind of looked down the table at me and I went back to my office and I figured it out the best I could. So we really lost all of those things that we know now are so important about assessment and root cause. And certainly I was not looking at activities as a primary intervention when it came to behavior management.
So looking at what the vision is, go back one more for me, Charles. So what’s that vision and it really is social wellness. So combining these two departments into one that the goal is the prioritization of resident wellness. So everyone looks at how they contribute to that goal. So certainly our nursing partners and collaborators look at someone’s physical wellness, their medical wellness, we’re looking at emotional wellness and social wellness, but we look at this in a holistic and team-based way. And then that social services and activities department merging into one as social wellness, with strong collaboration goals and approaches that we will talk more about.
So I just have a quick question about this, because I know that at the end of your presentation, you’re going to talk about how somebody like your audience can get started. But based on your experience, is this something that most of the time is initiated by social services or by activities or leadership? Like what’s the first step for an organization to embrace that? Because it’s a big change, right? Like to embrace that change.
I think the first and the most attainable step is that social services and activities partnership. You guys are very close already. Most have a great relationship. The goals are so similar that if you can team up in the beginning, engaging that team becomes much more attainable. So the other goal, when we talk about our vision is not just this collaboration, but really an evolution of person-centered care. So looking at that old model of activities as entertainment and evolving it to life enrichment and social enrichment. At ASC, all of our life enrichment programs are based in domains of wellness so that we’re not just entertaining people, but giving them an opportunity to meet those needs. And it really speaks to that holistic resident wellness. So everyone on ASC knows our most frequent program is physical wellness. It’s a really important part of a person’s holistic wellness.
So really evolving how we look at that from entertainment to that person centered wellness approach. It also is looking at how each individual prefers to be engaged. So when you look at things in that old way of, it’s entertainment that everybody knows works for me. I like those big groups and the big parties. But it does not work for everybody, especially a younger residents that we are admitting many times don’t enjoy that group aspects. So if we look at that historical model of how many parties can I throw? Or how big of a bingo can I put together? We really are missing that person centered basis for social enrichment. And then as I said, one of the things that I’m the most passionate about is this care companion culture, where we recognize that priority of making relationships and connections with people kind of above all else.
That is the priority. And when we do that, we help to kind of balance those scales between emotional wellness and medical wellness. So if I asked, all of you guys, “is emotional wellness and mental wellness, as important as you know, medical and physical wellness?” I think everybody would say yes, of course it is everything we read. All the research says that that is as important a component of our whole wellness as just focusing on physical and medical. But how do we show that? Like, if you think about the time and the resources that we spend in our care settings, it is very unbalanced. It is very much tending towards a more medical model focusing on the physical portion instead of that emotional and social wellness. So this type of approach, that person-centered care, companion type culture balances, those scales to make sure that we’re saying that those aren’t equally as important, if not more so important.
I think one lesson that we’ve learned from these past 18 months is the really tragic side effects of ignoring emotional and social wellness. So, I realized that people made the best decisions that they thought they had to in the time, but we really saw such devastation to our residents when we took away the sum of those emotional and social supports that they have. So this really is a great time to kind of reinvigorate especially when we talk about collaboration with your teams and with social services, particularly as your partners. So how does collaboration help? And yet, we could up probably five slides with how much collaboration would help us as professionals and our residents. So we’ll just pick three and we’re going to talk about resident engagement. We’re going to talk about behavior management, which is another one of my favorites.
So I will try not to go too heavy down the behavior management path, but it is a passion of mine. And then improvement and overall community life. So let’s start with resident engagement. So I want to frame this conversation through the last 18 months in the pandemic. And this first one, that’s more, buy-in equals more hands, equals more resident engagement. And you guys all had to do some sort of innovation to keep your engagement going with all of our restrictions. And I’m going to tell you what we did. So our care companion culture involves department heads who are assigned to a group of residents. And I remember when the first lockdowns happened, me and my team looked at each other and we said, “there is no way that our social enrichment professionals will be able to handle this. There’s, it’s impossible as far as numbers.”
So we very quickly pivoted and said, “who can do this?” And we said, “it’s our care companions.” So we very quickly trained them how to engage with other people. All you folks at ASC, you had to give them the Activity Plan of Care to know what people liked. We very quickly trained them about psychosocial distress, what they were looking for and the results were extremely good. I know Charles mentioned our antipsychotic reduction, which we’re super proud of. I give all of the credit to this program where we very quickly said, “these residents are going to need something and it is beyond an activity professional to give them, we have to increase the buy-in from our team.” And this was the way that we did that. So how can we harness that buy-in. How can we harness that enthusiasm and continue it beyond a pan pandemic? Beyond an emergency so that we can continue to have those results because they were astounding?
So we also with resident engagement, when we shift our focus from the IDT, through siloed every department looking at their own thing, to more holistic and person centered engagement, we changed the perception of what activities are. So that’s one of the biggest struggles that we are going to have with collaboration is changing that mindset from, “when’s your next party,” to looking at this as an important part of person centered care, looking at it as a really important part about the person’s overall well-being. So you can do that with individual reviews of engagement. It will redefine what life enrichment is for our teams when we shift that focus. We also want to make sure that we’re identifying social wellness as critical to quality of life. And we all know that. We think that it’s as or more important. I was reading in the chat when someone said emotional wellness begets physical wellness, it’s 100% true. But when we think about collaborating, we have to sometimes lead folks to that path to remind them that social wellness is critical to someone’s quality of life. So the more I find that we talk about it, and I’m getting ahead to some of our how-tos that we do, but the more you can talk about it, the more you can share resident engagement becomes a higher priority for everyone.
We have a couple of questions that I do want to kind of surface them. Does emotional wellness also encompass spiritual wellness? And have you had success bringing chaplains or other spiritual leaders in the loop for this kind of effort?
Absolutely. So our life enrichment program is a domain of wellness space. So we include spiritual wellness and then there’s social, emotional, physical, mental are all based in some of our programs. But the chaplain services in particular were something that we discovered as an innovation during the pandemic. So we had workforce chaplains that came in and worked with our residents, but also worked with our staff. And so that is something that we’ve kept and plan to keep after the pandemic. But absolutely that was something that is critical is that spiritual wellness component. So behavior management. So I promise, I will try to keep this from going down the rabbit hole that I love. But we all know when we talk about behavior management, what is the most effective way to prevent and manage behaviors? It’s meaningful engagement. And I think part of the reason I’m so passionate about this, as I have seen it over the course of many years, be the absolute solution to what this, what behaviors are.
So knowing that information, how many times are you all involved in discussions about behaviors? And many times the answer is very peripherally involved, and yet we all know that the most effective way to deal with the situation is meaningful engagement. It just doesn’t make sense. So how can we evolve that to include you as a collaboration? Collaboration with life enrichment helps with better analysis of behaviors. I’m going to talk about how you guys in just your normal, everyday life are amazing data collectors, and you may not think of yourselves as that, but you absolutely are. And the use of non-pharmacological interventions. Again it’s your whole job. So you’re an absolutely indispensable resource when it comes to this really important topic in healthcare. And yet, how do we use that to make sure that it’s a functioning type system?
So Janean, thinking when I was preparing for this presentation today, you got me thinking about this partnership that you’re promoting between this partnership that you’re promoting between activities, life enrichment and social services. I mean, ultimately the idea of that partnership is to also go and partner with nursing, right? Like our clinical team, any comments you want to mention that on how to make that more successful, where you’ve seen on your end to be easier to grasp?
I think part of it is having a system in place that you can easily do that. Like anytime I have to be like, “oh, I’ve got to go find somebody to talk to them about a behavior.” It just became much more difficult. So I think the first thing to do is have a system that you can easily give and receive information from the direct care staff. So at ASC, we’ve got something called gimba. It’s basically just kind of walking rounds where we’re going and talking to people. So I think the first thing is insert yourself in situations that you’ve got that exchange of information. And then a big thing that we’re going to talk about in the, how to, how do I make this all happen, is being a solution and presenting yourself as a solution. So we talk about all these things that we know we’re equipped to do.
Do other people know that we can do those things and see that as a solution? So internal triggers for behavioral expressions, I have to talk on this because it is so important. And again, when we talk, like Charles said, when we talk about buy-in, when we talk about how to get people to collaborate with us, I think these are things that we should talk about so that we can easily connect things. The first one on here is pain, and I think we all know that how that can absolutely contribute to a behavioral expression, but I want you to kind of skip down here and look at boredom. It’s a significant cause. And I would say many times a secondary type cause for behavior. So even in situations where, how many of you have seen this? Somebody walks by, they intrusively wander in their space, they react and there’s a physical altercation.
So it’s really easy for the person who reacted to say, “oh, well, they got in their physical space,” but I love looking at the secondary types of behaviors because if Charles gets in my space. I’m probably not going to hit on, unless I’ve got some other things that are happening that are contributing to my irritability. And that’s where things like pain come in and things like boredom, sadness and loneliness comes in. It primes the person to respond to a trigger and that’s really where we come in. So whenever anybody has a behavioral expression we should always be looking, doing a deep dive into pain and a deep dive into their level of meaningful engagement. So even if seemingly it doesn’t have anything to do with that, it’s a cue for us to really evaluate that person’s level of engagement and their plan of care and say, could this be a secondary reaction to someone not feeling fulfilled and feeling bored or feeling sad?
So supervision. So what I had just kind of talked about a moment ago was being a solution. And we’re going to talk more about this. This is a big solution that you guys provide, and you may not even take credit for the fact that you’re providing it. So when it comes to behavior management there is no substitute for supervision. So I get calls all the time with some sort of behavioral issue. Intrusive wandering as a very frequent one. What am I going to do? What am I going to do about it? And I can give you some ideas and we can certainly look at root causes, but there is no substitute for supervision for knowing where your resident is and redirecting them, and think of what a huge asset you provide in your programs providing that not only meaningful engagement, but that level of supervision just by being in a group space. Things that will get your nursing staff’s attention is when you say, “fall prevention.”
So if you’re having falls, one of my big roles at ASC is that our VP of clinical services will say, “we’ve got this community that has all these falls.” And the first thing that I do is I go to that social enrichment director and say, let’s talk about your activity program and what we can do to help collaborate here. It’s the absolute first thing. Like I had talked about it a minute ago with the supervision aspect. This is an excellent time for you to be data collectors. So you are looking, you are evaluating how many of you, somebody seems disengaged or fidgety or looks like they’re getting agitated. You give them some type of engagement. It doesn’t work. And what do you do? You give them something different. So it’s that constant evolution of looking and evaluating and assessing people that you guys excel at and can be such a benefit when it comes to behavior management.
And then I will also say about supervision, only because it is so critical. And I do want you guys to go back with a solution, but this only works if we are actively engaging in our space. So one of the communities I went to that was having a fall problem and it was on our dementia unit. I went and they said, “oh, we’re doing all of our programs. We’re doing them great.” But the person was like sitting down at the table, kind of working with the residents and it caused a total disruption in the supervision aspect of the program. So just by her, we got our little high stool, a countertops stool, and it really changed the whole dynamic of the supervision. So it’s something to be aware of as you guys explore being a solution in these situations to remember that aspect that you do have to be actively watching and engaging in the space.
We had a number of questions in the Q and A. Like somebody was asking more details about the care companion. I understand it’s something that you developed for ASC, American Senior Communities, your company, but do you mind giving a little bit more details about how it works, who leads it and so on and so forth?
Absolutely. Each company in each community has kind of their own brand on this. It’s a customer service based program. So like our old system was, I think, like a customer care type program. And it basically is where you’re assigned as a department head, a group of residents that are your residents and you go and check on them. You make sure that their concerns are resolved. And what we did with the care companion is our old program. And you may feel this way too, about your program that you have in your community. It was very task oriented. Like if I was Charles’ companion, I’d go in and I’d make sure his trash can was empty and his bed was made. And somehow that was supposed to ensure he had a great day. And we just felt like there was a real disconnect between that task type base that might work at like Target, you know, if you go and make sure the store is right, but it didn’t work for us in our space.
So the way that we changed it really was we kept the model, which was, you know, it was a department head, you had this brew but we changed it to focus on connections, relationships, finding out about you making sure that my interactions with you focused on who you were. So if you were my care companion, you would talk to me about my daughters and my dog, and when the last time I went to Disney was. So that’s what a care companion is. So each company has something similar that you can kind of tweak with those person-centered additions.
And I guess I have a question about that. So in each community, who’s the owner of that care companion model? So say, you know, we have residents that move in and move out? Like that up date and that process, is that social services? Who leads that?
Oh, the administrator. That was a big change that we made because it used to not be that way. It used to be that it was a social worker. We used to have a customer care coordinator who might do that. We might assign it to someone else. And we felt that if this was as important of a program, as we said it was that it had to be the administrator. So the big change for us, but that’s who owns this program.
It’s great to have their buy-in and the leadership on that.
So as we talk about how meaningful engagement can help, I wanted to draw your attention to kind of three things. Cause again, when you go back and propose solutions, these are three things that you can really look at when it comes to behavior management. And the first one is time of activities. So your IDT and especially social services should always have an awareness of what the trends are when it comes to the times that behaviors are happening and we can use those trends to Plan activities. So sometimes we do the opposite of this. So we look at behaviors that happen in the evening time. You often see an increase in anxiety from our residents when that happens. There’s a lot of care being provided that sometimes can cause distress. And yet how many of our programs extend into those times?
So sometimes it’s more feasible than others to add those, those activity programs during those times, but it’s definitely something to be aware of and be constantly evaluating in this new partnership that you’re going to have that should be part of the dialogue that you have. And then next is location of activities. Now this is something that I think everybody had to be very good at during COVID. So we couldn’t have everything in the big dining rooms anymore in the big activity rooms. We really had to look at where we could engage our residents. So that is something definitely that I would say we should keep as we evolve out of this pandemic. So one of my favorites was the hallway activities. We did that absolutely out of necessity. There was no place else to engage, but I don’t know if you found what we found, which was all of a sudden more residents started participating because they didn’t have to get dressed and come down and be with a bunch of people they’ve just had to go to their doorway.
So that was a really interesting phenomenon. If you had something similar, think about how you can keep that, even when you don’t have to. I think about some of the classic that I hope we’re doing away with some now, these big nurses stations where we pile the residents around there, and then we’re really shocked when residents started hitting each other. And so that’s a really good time to look at the location that either we’ve got to clear those residents away from that nurse’s station and get them involved in activity, or maybe you should do an activity at the nurses station. So really rethinking those traditional places that we hold activities. And then my last plug here is about mealtimes. So mealtimes, anytime you trend behavioral issues, there’s always this plague around mealtimes and people getting agitated, people yelling out and worst case scenarios, they start hitting each other.
And if you really think about that trigger sheet that we put up before, we’re taking a lot of those boxes. People are hungry. They’re irritable. It’s sometimes loud, there’s nothing going on, so they might be bored, and then throw into it that mealtime is a big task for a lot of our residents, especially with dementia. We’re asking a lot of them to sit still, to eat, to focus on something for a long period of time. So that’s a great time to look at a pre-meal activity. It absolutely changes the dynamic. It kind of goes back to this whole initial what prevents and manages behaviors, meaningful engagement. If you do an activity at pre-meal you’ll be shocked at kind of how it changes the dynamic. It’s a good experiment. If it’s not something you’ve done before. And if you struggle with behaviors in that dining room.
There’s so many questions. I just don’t know how to prioritize. I just wanted to hear, you know, one question that came up several times is. I know that you work in, you support memory care and long term care. What are the big, the biggest differences that you’ve seen in these different levels of care?
You know, there’s way more similarities than there are differences. So I will say that going into it. I would say the biggest difference is that person’s center diversity when it comes to what someone’s looking for for meaningful engagement. I think when you look in traditional long-term care, you tend to see a lot of people who very much prefer independently based activities that don’t benefit or want to participate in groups. And so it does have a very different set of challenges for a social enrichment director that potentially a memory care leader might not have whose primary focus is groups, and it’s very structured and things like that. So that is one of the biggest differences, but there are a lot of similarities. We rolled out our new social enrichment program during the pandemic, which when I look back at that sounds crazy, but we did it because we thought it was really important, but we modeled our program off of memory care because we wanted to acknowledge that those domains of wellness are the things for humans.
And that many things don’t change. Many things change when folks get dementia and have to live with that disease. But many things stay the same. So we modeled a lot of it to be similar, but that’s probably, for me the biggest differences, there’s much more diversity in how to meaningfully engage that population. So I think you guys have seen what valuable resource you bring when it comes to behavior management. So now how can you use your knowledge of each resident to contribute to managing and preventing behavioral expressions? So you can absolutely answer these questions. What does each resident find meaningful? You know that information. How can you participate in the conversation? So I think that’s the biggest part. You have the answers, how can you participate in the conversation without it being overwhelming?
So we’ll talk about that when we get to the how tos. But think process wise, too. Like I said earlier, if you have to go out of your way or make a special trip, things will get lost. So we’ll talk about that, how you can make kind of touch points and then what kind of education can you give to the staff? When we had our behavior meetings, when I was in the building, we have the big wall with all the doctors and the pharmacists and all that kind of stuff, but we had one right before and there were only three people in it. And it was me and the activity director and the unit manager. And it was an excellent behavior meeting. A big part of that was the activity director. She could answer all these questions. What can you do to engage the resident?
What do they like, what are their triggers? And then what kind of education can you give the staff? Then they could go right away and start talking about all of these as behavior management strategies. Just a powerful, powerful resource that you guys have. And then the last one is improvement in community life. And I add this one because there’s no better time to talk about it. And I also think it’s a powerful strategy that will get people interested in collaborating with you. So that first one staffing recruitment and retention. A national plague that we have currently that seemingly no one is immune from. And I want you to think about the impact that resident engagement has on employee morale. I will say that mission-driven employees need to see, not just want to see, need to see and purchase fate in social wellness.
So look at the picture and I will tell you that all the pictures from this deck are from ASC. So I’m going to talk a little bit about that at the end where I collected these, but look at that group of employees they’re happy. They’re excited to be at work. So in this situation that we have, when you could work at 20 different places, probably within a five mile radius of your home, that probably all pay pretty similar. Would you rather work at a place where residents are engaged, where fun things are happening, where they get to participate in activities? Or in a place where there’s nothing going on, or one person has a group of residents that you guys sit and talk to all day? I think it’s such a powerful tool right now that if you go back to your leaders and say, “I think I have a good way to participate in staffing recruitment and retention,” they’ll probably be very excited to talk with you.
But it absolutely is true. So it’s a great thing to think about when it’s community life and how you improve that. And then resident and family satisfaction is next. Resident and family goals, as you all know, revolve around quality of life as their primary motivator. Definitely, they want people to be well. They definitely want their health conditions to not deteriorate if possible. What, when you talk about what motivates a family member, they want the person to have a good quality of life. So I’ll give you a good example that was just a few months ago. I had a family friend contact me and they had someone they went to church with that went to our communities that were not happy at all. They did not think we were doing a very good job.
They complained about everything. And of course, then when you complain about everything, the community gets annoyed and they weren’t doing their best either. And really all we changed, they were having staffing issues just like everybody else. So all we changed was we gave him a care companion and we had that care companion relate to the family member, all of the activities that they had done that day. And I asked them to take a couple pictures of some of the artwork that they’d created or the walks that they took outside. And it absolutely changed the entire conversation with that family. Instead of this back and forth arguing, all we said was, we just want to make sure your dad has a really great day and that’s what we want to share with you. And that’s really all they wanted to hear. It really did change that whole dynamic. So you can use that with families. Residents with chronic dissatisfaction, often is a result of a mood problem. And that’s where social services and life enrichment. You guys come together to say, “how can we make this person’s mood better?” Social services, you guys can evaluate depression indicators, do your PHQ 9s, and then life enrichment you can say, “how meaningful is the person being engaged?” So that collaboration can really affect someone’s satisfaction as well.
Janean, I just kind of bounce it for you thing, which is one of the things that I like to always mention is how sometimes activities and life enrichment, we’re just not very good at getting credit for the work that we do. And I know you said it before, but I think that the more we do that and tie that to work, our administrators and EDs are trying to do it every day. And right now it’s all about staffing and occupancy. The more successful we’ll be at it as an organization. So thanks for saying that. And again, retracing this idea of getting credit for the amazing work that we’re doing anyway.
100%. So how do you collaborate with your team? We’ve talked about how important it is, what all can happen when you collaborate. And now let’s talk about some strategies that you can take back with you to help with some next steps for this collaboration. So the first one, like I had said, the absolutely best place to start is with that social services director. So these are actually two of my faves here at Maple Park Village. This is a social worker and an activity director, and they’re collaborating on, I think this was a birthday dinner that they were giving to one of our residents, but they’re the best person to start with as far as a partnership. So you want to start by scheduling touch points for collaborations that help support your goals. So I don’t want the take away that you guys have to go like, invest hours of your time sitting in a clinical or morning meeting that you wouldn’t normally be in.
And so is it, after that meeting, you guys have a touchpoint? Is there anything that you guys discussed that you need help with today? Or things like that behavior meetings I talked about, you should absolutely be involved in those behavior meetings. You are an invaluable resource when it comes to that process. So that’s a definite that you should start with I would say immediately. And then do you need scheduled times during the week where you and social services sit down and collaborate? Talk about the week, talk about residents that you’re worried with, talk about concerns that each of you have. So if you schedule those you will start to see that kind of collaboration come together. So it does feel very forced at first, especially if this is not something that you’re used to, but that’s why I say, make sure you schedule it, put times on your calendar, very systematic times that you’ve touched base with that other individual. And then I love setting goals for success because sometimes it can feel like you’re investing all this time. And do you see pay off? So set some goals between the two of you. Is it you want to start tracking the number of behavioral expressions that you have to see where you can make an impact? I like to use Linked Senior Utilization. You can look at that as a community, as a whole, you can look at it by resident. I love looking at that utilization because for me it mirrors how much we’re prioritizing engagement. So you can look at something like that. That’s a metric that you can set a goal for. It could be improvement in your program. So you could start looking at the number of residents that are participating in your program and start setting a goal for that.
And then mood indicators. You guys could set goals, but I think it’s important for you guys to get on the same page and set some goals that are important for both of you and see what you can achieve. So here’s your IDT. And we talked a lot about this, is be a solution. So you can go back to your IDTs and identify ways that you can be a solution for resident wellness and then ask them to assist you with that execution. So we talked about fall prevention, weight loss has been a huge one for us at ASC. It’s probably the area that we struggled with most during the pandemic is we saw rampant numbers of weight loss. So that collaboration to encourage, you know, nutritious snacks. Who are residents that were worried about that? We can encourage to go to these activities where we can encourage that type of intake.
That can be super powerful. Staffing, we talked about recruitment and retention. How can social wellness help ease the burden of staffing? You know, we’ve seen that at ASC is that when someone goes into critical staffing, we start to over hire for activity assistants because we know that residents who are engaged don’t feel those burdens of a staffing crisis as much as if they were not engaged. So think about how that can help ease that burden and then insert social wellness into the grievance process when it comes to concerns from residents and staff, as we had talked about. And then direct care staff collaboration. So I love this picture too. It’s great to communicate and collaborate with your IDT. It is the ideal situation when your direct care staff collaborates with you. So the first thing is to communicate in service regularly, and by regularly every day is ideal.
So again, every day, even a quick round to say, Hey, here’s what we have going on the calendar. What can I do for you? Is there anything that you’re worried about? Is an excellent first start. You can also start scheduling things monthly and really just talk to them about the basics of your program. Here’s where the calendar is put up. Here’s the types of things that we do. Here’s how I can help you. And then the secondary part to that is collaborating on individual issues. So when you ask a direct care staff, “is there anybody that you’re worried about, any behaviors that you’re worried about?” That collaboration will really help them with the direct care staff? Cause they’ll start to see you as an answer and a resource and a solution. And then the next one is, as you can see from the picture is to make it fun. Especially now, like staff need fun and encouragement at work.
I know I do. I know that you do. So include our staff in those larger celebrations when we do have parties. It’s a great way. And then think of creative ways to kind of bridge that collaboration. So I loved giving out like little tickets when people brought residents to an activity and then you do a drawing for something fun. Highlight individual staff members’ talents. So you can see this lady singing. So maybe you can highlight her in one of your programs. And then here’s what Charles was talking about bragging, promoting yourself, sharing what you do. So this is one of my favorite parts of our new program. It’s called Wellness Spotlights. That’s where I got all of these pictures. Where you share the great things that you’re doing. And it does a lot of things, but one of them is it does inspire others.
I know that there are people at ASC that will wait until Friday afternoon to get my email where I share all the amazing things that you guys have done all week, because it’s an inspiration to them after a really long week. So the more that you can share your successes, it helps people prioritize engagement. It helps them remember that social wellness is really important. So this is a practice that I really would encourage you. It’s quick, it’s easy. But it’s a really inspirational way that helps people remember that this is important and a priority. Charles, I think I’m right at time so I don’t know if we have any questions.
Well, let me just say that we have tons of questions. So we did address some of them as you spoke. I think that some of them, actually, I did have a question that actually came up a few times. One of the unfortunate consequences of the pandemic is that some of our residents aren’t as excited or don’t want to come out as much as before, like out of their rooms. And I was wondering if you had any kind of, you’ve seem to be more successful than others. Any advice there?
I would say we have to find out why. So we’ve had some times where they have not wanted to come out and it’s because they were scared. So in that situation, we really looked at what our infection control processes were. We made sure that the labels were on the floor that we fully enforced, that everyone was in the right PPE, that we were socially distanced. So I think you’ve got to find out why we had another community that wasn’t the case. It was that they didn’t want to come out. It wasn’t interesting to them. They had discovered all this cool stuff to do in their room, and that was not interesting. So then that became changing the types of programs that we offered. So I think that is a common phenomenon that has happened, but I think there are varying reasons why that’s occurred. So the first is to find out why people feel that way.
Thanks. I think the best thing I could do is probably share your contact here on this slide for everyone to ask that question, because there’s been many questions about the dynamics of your care program. Some of them had to do with, and I think we addressed them, but people were asking if you had a location that we’re still getting through the pandemic, like COVID? You do, right? You still have COVID. You know, for me, the amount of questions is always a good sign of how interesting and how timely your presentation is kudos to you, Janean. I want to repeat and congratulate you again on the amount of successes you’ve had, including, but not limited to, the reduction of antipsychotics that you mentioned.
And I think that your topic and your work has been, the importance has been highlighted through this pandemic, right? We can’t be siloed. We can’t work on our little department and so on, so on, and we can only, we can’t address the preferences and build person centered care without this interdisciplinary approach. So thank you for saying that. I don’t know if you were reading some of the comments Janine, but you have a fan base here and not all of them are ASD people. No, but seriously there were a bunch of people that were saying, “I want to work with you. I want to work with you.” So I think it’s a nice sign. It’s a good sign of the relevancy, is that an English word, relevancy? The fact that your work is so relevant.
Thank you, guys.
I do have one last question for you, which is if you had like a magic wand, I know that you love Disney, right? The magic wand is definitely in your wheelhouse, but for you, as you’re able to see so many communities, as you have the privilege of supporting so many team members that can impact so many lives, what’s the one thing in 2022 that you’d like kind of done? Or achieved?
Hm. If I could pick one thing and it’s super hard, I would say everyone knows the resident stories and promotes that in any way that they can. I think that that would fix a lot of our issues. When we talk about holistic resident wellness, I think that if everyone could learn who the residents are, what their stories are ,and share that as prolifically as we share that someone’s a fall risk. I think that things would be dramatically different for us.
I’ll try to look around if I have a magic wand for you somewhere. But thank you so much for saying that. Thank you so much for the work that you put into this presentation for presenting it, and thank you for all the important work that you do with your teams. And thank you as a quick announcement, I want to as we did last time, emphasize one of the current efforts that we have going on at Linked Senior with activities from right now is, and for that, some of you remember last year we did the Resident Engagement Index Score, and we upgraded that tool where we found amazing outcomes, some of them, and I’m showing here on this screen. And we were reading the efforts and we would love you to take this tool. It’s free. It takes less than 10 minutes.
And it’s probably one of the best ways out there to assess how you’re doing these days in terms of engagement with the idea to then improve. So please take the time to do this, do this as a team with your leadership, your department heads and so on and so forth. And then the second thing I just wanted to share is obviously our upcoming announcements, our upcoming webinars, and I want to place a special focus on the one that we have coming up, which is a “Chief Engagement Officer is a Verb and Not a Noun,” with Tina Sandri. She’s an amazing leader. She’s worked in different level of care. And she truly talks about from her vantage point as she is the CEO of the organization, how she operationalized engagement every single day. And then on the right-hand side, we have our big events coming up, December 7th, our winter gathering with an amazing lineup that we’re going to be sharing, that actually Meaghan just shared here on the chat.
We’re very excited to be partnering with Validation Training Institute to do the first annual Congress in February. And obviously our summit in June, on June 21st. I also want to mention that Janean’s work was recently advertised or promoted or just, I think you were interviewed in McKnight’s, where there’s a podcast and then a written interview. And I think that Meaghan said it in the chat, so please feel free to consult this. It’s a great resources and gives much more background, even more background in terms of Janean’s work. Everyone, thank you for joining. Meaghan, thanks again for the work that you do every day with us, and Janine you know, kudos and I’ll start looking for my magic wand right now. All right. Perfect. Thanks everyone bye. Bye.