Wheat State Manor has been providing senior care in Whitewater, Kansas since 1974. This skilled nursing facility offers a full range of services, including nursing, pharmacy, physician services, nutrition, restorative therapies, and social services. Wheat State currently employs more than 90 caregivers in its facility. Before launching Relias in May of 2010, Wheat State delivered training via live in-services. Manual tracking was done with sign in sheets and spreadsheets.
The Challenge: Fighting the Status Quo
According to Wheat State’s Administrator, Mike Smith, previous training efforts had a ‘the way we’ve always done it’ approach, with in-services tied to pay days featuring speakers or other content. According to Mike, “The attitude of doing things the way you always have means you’re living in the past. When you do that, there’s no possibility for the future.” Mike and Wheat State knew they needed to make a stronger case for training to their employees and make education a condition of employment at the facility. Training also proved to cost too much time and effort in proportion to compliance. Training was tracked using sign in sheets and manual data entry into Excel. “It would cost us one person’s entire day just to get through new employee orientation,” says Mike. “We had good employee records, but it took some time.”
“We’ve gotten a ton of training done in the first few months. Within 30 days, we matched our total compliance rate from last year.” —Mike Smith, Administrator
When employees didn’t take training seriously, it cost the facility money: “The cost of having a small number of people sitting in training was about $8,000 per year for only 40 percent compliance,” Mike says.
Wheat State Manor implemented their online learning system and immediately began seeing positive results. “We’ve gotten a ton of training done in the first few months. Within 30 days, we matched our total compliance rate from last year,” he says. Mike helped employees see the value of education by assigning courses that directly related to an upcoming survey. “We were preparing for survey so I assigned courses to our nurses and CNAs that covered areas we were cited for during last year’s survey.”
Mike is pleased with the boost in compliance and the way employees have taken to the system. “Out of 90+ employees, only about four or five people are behind in their training,” he says. “Employees like the system. I had one laundry supervisor complete more than 30 hours of elective training on her own.”
Mike has also saved time in tracking and reporting on training using the features of the online learning system. “I’ve authored courses on orientation and drug policy and am working on a few others, and I like that I can pull reports to let me know who I need to talk to about policies or training,” he says. “The ability to track everything quickly is a huge plus.”
Like many facilities, Wheat State Manor found it challenging to make training a priority for employees, resulting in large amounts of money and time being spent for few results. Online learning allowed Wheat State to make training easy and accessible for students while saving money and time for the organization. “The information is now fresh in [employees’] minds when they work with residents. Think about how many face-to-face sessions it would have taken to have that impact.”