A conversation with Kathy Weatherl, Bost’s Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Assurance
Bost, Inc. is a private non-profit organization that provides services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout Arkansas. The company operates four integrated preschool and developmental programs, three intermediate care facilities, an adult developmental center, and a work developmental program. In addition, Bost offers Medicaid-waiver community supports, personal care services and behavioral health services.
Bost serves more than 900 individuals and has more than 900 employees all over Arkansas, which made training a challenge in the past. “We did all of our training in person,” explained Kathy Weatherl, Bost’s Director of Corporate Compliance and Quality Assurance. “We had five trainers, and they were stationed regionally. All staff, both new hires who required 40 hours of training and long-term staff who required annual trainings, had to drive in to our offices to get their training. For some of our staff, that may have meant driving two hours one way.”
This created staffing challenges, especially for Medicaid-waiver services provided in the community. “We require 40 hours of training before a person goes to work,” Kathy told us. “However, if the person was going to school or had another job, they had difficulty coming to training during the scheduled times. So, while we had applicants who wanted to work, they couldn’t come in for that required 40-hour training.
“We need our training to be available 24/7 so we could get individuals hired, trained and providing needed services to the individuals we support.”
The challenges of training staff statewide prompted Bost to begin looking for an online training provider. After months of research, Bost decided to partner with Relias. Kathy said Relias’ long history of providing online training and the strong content on developmental disabilities and behavioral health were big factors in the decision.
“What we really love about the courses Relias does is that they’re interactive trainings. You’re listening to or watching the scenario, and then you’re answering questions. You have to be paying attention. You have to be active and involved.”
Kathy continued, “We know the training works, and the staff tell us they like the training and they like being able to do it whenever it’s convenient for them.”
Using Custom Content
In addition to the courses, Bost uses Relias’ learning management system to make available agency-specific training, such as a module on the history of the organization. “Relias gave us that ability to have training already in place if we wanted to use it, but it also gave us the ability to upload our own trainings,” Kathy said.
Bost is also in the process of uploading person-specific training. For example, if Bost is working with a person who has a feeding tube, the staff will create a video of that individual showing how to care for the feeding tube. “When that course is assigned to new staff for that person, they see that person and their feeding tube,” Kathy said. “This person-specific training will be especially valuable when the usual staff can’t make it for a shift and a substitute has to be assigned. We can go online and assign those training modules to that staff who’s going to sub. They can get that training before they actually get to the person.”
Bost, Inc. is a member of the Developmental Disabilities Provider Association, which includes more than 60 IDD service providers in Arkansas. She tells other association members that Relias learning management system is easy to use and provides excellent courses.
“I absolutely recommend Relias,” Kathy said. “I tell other providers that we feel our staff has better training and more quality, person-specific training because of Relias.”