Healthcare is one of the most rapidly changing industries and consistently updating training is essential to keeping up with best practices. Large healthcare organizations often have the funding to send their employees to costly seminars and trainings, but what about the small family-owned organizations? Cornerstone Village South in Louisiana was facing this exact dilemma.
Cornerstone Village South, a skilled nursing facility with an assisted living community, is privately owned and locally operated by the Linscombe family. With over 50 years in the nursing home business, their philosophy centers around a sense of family and that exudes both in the staff and with their quality of care.
Over the past several years, Cornerstone Village South transitioned from only private pay to also include skilled Medicare for their 106 beds. Debbie Candella, the Director of Nursing, notes that at the small organization, the staff members wear a number of different hats. “For us, because we’re small, we have to utilize our staff in the most effective way. We have different departments that have roles that they would not normally do in a large corporation.
On top of her responsibilities as the DON, Debbie had to take time out of her regular role and responsibilities to train employees. She described providing training as not only time consuming, but also how it made it nearly impossible to hold employees accountable. And, with CMS regulations requiring organizations to prove competencies, meeting compliance had become unmanageable.
Adapting to the increasingly rapid changes in the healthcare industry was taking a toll on the staff, some of which had been following the same procedures for over 23 years. “You’re now telling them ‘all of this stuff that you’ve done, we’ve now got to do it different,’ and it makes them feel like they’re doing a bad job.” Debbie elaborates that a lot has changed in that amount of time and shares, “it’s hard to get people to buy into change unless you can prove to them. That’s one of those things where education is the key.” Debbie had trouble motivating her employees to update their practices without proof that the new ways were better and accurate. And some of this may have had to do with the way the information was presented.
Since they didn’t have the extra budget to send their staff to costly seminars, they would create their own training, largely consisting of watching DVDs. Teaching through DVDs made it difficult to tell if employees were actually paying attention and retaining the information; on top of that, the information likely was soon to be outdated and replaced with newer practices. They would attempt to assess their employees on the information, but without a learning management system, it was tough to keep track if their employees were absorbing the information and taking the post-tests honestly. Cornerstone needed a change to create a better and more accountable environment to teach their staff best practices.
This became evident when Debbie was approached about a new CNA hire. A supervisor was looking over the CNA’s patient information and saw that she was inputting blood pressure levels that couldn’t possibly be correct. Eventually they found out that she didn’t know how to use a traditional pressure cuff. So, what did they do?
This incident made Debbie realize they had a problem. They needed a better way to provide cost-effective training for their staff, find a way to identify and fix knowledge gaps, and save the countless hours that were currently being exerted on employee training. To address this challenge, Debbie turned to Relias. With the Relias learning management system (LMS), they assigned the new CNA hire a course that taught her how to check vitals properly, which quickly got her back on track. Not only did Relias’ eLearning help the new CNA, but other staff members took notice. “10 more CNAs came up to me asking if they could take the course too and brush up on their skills and make sure they are doing it correctly.”
“We were looking for not just a band-aid quick fix, this is allowing for sustainable improvement and change.”
With the use of standardized and individual learning plans to satisfy their educational needs, they no longer needed to utilize the DVDs or put together time consuming unstandardized programs to train employees. Cornerstone needed to find a systemic change that would remedy the problem once and for all. “We were looking for not just a band-aid quick fix, this is allowing for sustainable improvement and change.”
Although it was a steep venture, Cornerstone has experienced a tremendous return on their investment with Relias. Debbie puts it best when she says, “It’s definitely a good investment—education is the key to everything.” From Debbie’s perspective, the cost of the learning software Relias offers pales in comparison to the hefty cost and time that goes into self-training and sending employees to seminars.
“For the assisted living Wellness Coordinator, this allowed her a lot more time to focus on her assisted living duties.” Now that Cornerstone Village is working with Relias, there is no longer a need to spend countless stressful hours putting together training for staff. Instead, they can focus on what really matters, creating the best and most consistent treatment for all of their patients.
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