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‘Start, Stop, Continue’ Lets You Listen, Learn, and Leap Forward<p>​​The coronavirus pandemic has exposed gaps and problems but also innovations and opportunities for long term/post-acute care providers. The time is now to capture and nurture the great ideas and creative efforts, while doing away with outdated or unproductive processes or activities. This doesn’t have to be a time-draining, cumbersome endeavor. It can be as easy as start, stop, continue. &#160;<br></p><p>The Start, Stop, Continue framework is a fairly easy technique where managers and their teams can assess what processes, systems, practices, ideas, and programs are working and where changes are needed.<br></p><p>By identifying which of these things the team thinks should be started, stopped, and continued, the manager can pinpoint ideas for team-based action, change, and innovation that can be implemented quickly.</p><h3>Clarify Means</h3><p>To get started, make sure that the team members understand what should go on each list&#58;</p><h4><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/April/PublishingImages/start.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />START.</h4><p>These should be items that the team thinks would have a positive impact and contribute to better outcomes, teamwork, morale, engagement, and retention that aren’t already being used.</p><p>For example, staff may want to start more flexible schedules, make better use of technology, or a develop a better system to communicate or share information.</p><p><br></p><h4><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/April/PublishingImages/stop.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />STOP. </h4><p>These include activities or tasks that aren’t helping the team achieve their goals and actually may be impeding their efforts. For instance, staff want to stop having so many Zoom meetings.</p><p><br></p><h4><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/April/PublishingImages/continue.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px;" />CONTINUE. </h4><p>These are things that have worked in the past and should continue to be part of the team’s workflow. “Continues” may include flexible scheduling, efforts to support staff during a crisis, or partnerships with local health departments and other stakeholders. </p><p>Ask everyone to submit one to two items for each category. Suggestions may be limited to each team’s work area (for example, clinical, administrative, operational) or open them up to recommendations about any aspect of the workplace.<br></p><p>Have an interdisciplinary, representative, and inclusive workgroup review the submissions, eliminate the duplicate ideas, and come up with a manageable list. The workgroup can develop specific action items in each area and send these back to the larger group to vote on the ones they think are most important and practical.<br></p><p>The workgroup then can involve the appropriate players to plan and implement each of the final stop, start, and continue actions.</p><h3>Extra Benefits</h3><p>While the pandemic and the fallout from it continue to place a burden on staff and leadership alike, this process can be done over a period of weeks, and the results can be powerful. Among the potential benefits&#58;<br>● People will find that they have much in common and share some similar ideas. This can contribute to team building, engagement, and motivation.<br>● Staff are engaged and appreciate that their opinions are sought and valued.<br>● Problems, gaps, and other troublesome issues that are flying under the radar are brought to light and can be addressed early on.<br>● Ideas, thoughts, and concerns are captured while they are fresh in everyone’s minds. <br></p><p>Giving teams an opportunity to provide teamwork on a regular basis enables them to contribute and helps create a culture of trust, inclusion, and loyalty. &#160;<br></p><p>For more information, go to <a href="http&#58;//www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2016/02/02/start-stop-continue-tutorial/?sh=6dc19e412798" target="_blank">www.forbes.com/sites/groupthink/2016/02/02/start-stop-continue-tutorial/?sh=6dc19e412798</a>. ■<br></p>2021-04-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2021/April/PublishingImages/0421-CS3.png" width="595" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Management;CaregivingJoanne KaldyNew technique helps leaders and their teams easily assess their own programs for efficiency and success.
OnShift Survey Shows Dramatic Rise in Long Term Care Staff Wanting Vaccine<p>Post-acute care software company OnShift on Friday said senior care employee willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine has risen sharply over the winter, with its new March survey showing a 94 percent increase in acceptance of the vaccine from its December measurement.</p><p>The company also said there was a 41 percent decrease in staff members planning to decline a COVID-19 vaccine over the same time frame.</p><p>In response to the survey and vaccination efforts in the nursing care profession, Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), said, “Our caregivers are eager to protect themselves, their family members, and their residents, and these vaccines are a beacon of hope.”</p><p>He added that “now, we need public health officials to ensure long term care is prioritized for a steady, ongoing allocation of vaccines for new hires and admissions, as well as current residents and staff who have since decided to get the vaccine.”</p><p>In addition to vaccination plans, OnShift said the March survey examined the reasons behind vaccination decisions and explored employee perceptions of the value of vaccine education. Additional key findings include&#58;</p><p>•&#160;The respondents’ primary reasons for vaccination are to help prevent family and friends from infection (30 percent), to avoid getting COVID-19 themselves (13 percent), and to put an end to community lockdowns, gathering restrictions, and/or virtual schooling (12 percent).</p><p>•&#160;The respondents’ primary reasons for declining vaccination include concerns that the vaccine is too new (26 percent) and potential safety and side effects (23 percent). Another 10 percent believe getting the vaccine is unnecessary because they have already had the virus.</p><p>•&#160;Respondents cited the need for additional education on the safety and side effects of the vaccine (28 percent), how the vaccine works in protecting against COVID-19 (15 percent), and what to expect in the workplace if they decline the vaccine (14 percent).</p><p>•&#160;A total of 62 percent of respondents expressed their willingness to take the vaccine, up from 32 percent in December.</p><p>Mark Woodka, CEO of OnShift, said the company was encouraged to see “this seismic shift across the industry in the acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccine in just a few short months.”</p><p>He added that “this insight into the mindset of senior care employees is critical information for providers and the industry as they continue staff outreach, education, and support. OnShift is dedicated to senior care organizations and their employees, and we will continue working together to help ensure a transparent and safe environment for everyone.”</p><p>Woodka said survey results depicting a growing acceptance for the vaccines among long term care staff are extremely encouraging and echo what OnShift has heard from providers across the country who witnessed higher uptake with each round of on-site vaccination clinics.</p><p>He pointed to the AHCA/NCAL <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/">#GetVaccinated </a>campaign as an effort OnShift supports to educate staff about the safety of the vaccines and thoughtfully listening to any of their concerns, so they can make an informed decision. The nursing home industry set a <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Press-Releases/Pages/Nursing-Homes-Set-Goal-To-Get-75-Percent-Of-Staff-Vaccinated-By-June-30.aspx">nationwide goal </a>to have 75 percent of staff vaccinated by the end of June, and knowing these new data, Woodka said he is optimistic “we’ll meet that goal.” </p><p>David Schless, president, American Seniors Housing Association, called the survey an important source of useful information about vaccination uptake in senior living and long term care settings. “While we see evidence of progress, the results reaffirm the importance of continued, targeted education among those who work with older adults in these communities,” he said.</p><p>And, James Balda, president and CEO, Argentum, said, “We are extremely pleased to see this substantial increase in intent by senior living employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s been such a challenging year for them, and their dedication to caring for and protecting those they serve continues to shine through. We applaud them for their ongoing commitment.”</p><p>A summary of findings can be accessed <a href="https&#58;//www3.onshift.com/covid-19-vaccine-employee-survey-results">here.</a></p>2021-03-19T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0220_News1.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19;CaregivingPatrick ConnoleSector sees a 94 percent increase in vaccine acceptance from its December measure.
Long Term Care Providers Push to Remain a Priority for COVID-19 Vaccines<p>The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) sent letters this week to White House Senior Advisor <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/Joint-Letter-WhiteHouse-Vaccines.pdf">Andy Slavitt,</a> White House Senior Policy Advisor for COVID-19 Equity <a href="https&#58;//leadingage.org/sites/default/files/Cameron%20Webb%20Letter_3921.pdf">Cameron Webb, MD,</a> and the <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/News-and-Communications/Fact-Sheets/Letters/NGA-Letter-Vaccines-3.11.21.pdf">National Governors Association </a>requesting that long term care facilities remain a priority for the COVID-19 vaccines as the next phase of distribution begins. </p><p>As of March 11, more than 85 percent of nursing homes and nearly one-third of assisted living and other senior living communities have completed their third and final clinic through the Pharmacy Partnership Program for Long-Term Care. </p><p>Moving forward, these facilities need ongoing and rapid access to the vaccines to ensure that new and existing residents and staff have an opportunity to get vaccinated, AHCA/NCAL said. </p><p>The association, along with LeadingAge, Argentum, and American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA), has requested that the Biden administration allocate between 50,000 and 75,000 doses per week to the long term care (LTC) pharmacies participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. </p><p>They also requested that priority allocations be designated for all older people who use long-term services and supports, and that provisions be made for providers that serve older people to host on-site clinics and serve homebound people, regardless of where they live, starting in April when more supply is available. </p><p>At the state level, AHCA/NCAL urged governors to&#58; </p><p>•&#160;Allocate vaccines to the LTC pharmacies for administration to LTC facilities;</p><p>•&#160;Prioritize enrollment of LTC pharmacies as COVID-19 vaccine providers; </p><p>•&#160;Ensure priority access to state-run vaccination clinics for LTC staff;</p><p>•&#160;Allow COVID-19 vaccine single-shot syringes under state pharmacy requirements;</p><p>•&#160;Direct hospitals to immunize patients with the Janssen vaccine before discharge to a LTC facility; and </p><p>•&#160;Work with provider associations to ensure ongoing access to COVID-19 vaccine. </p><p>AHCA/NCAL continues to focus on increasing vaccine uptake, particularly among long term care staff. With support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AHCA/NCAL expanded its <a href="https&#58;//getvaccinated.us/">#GetVaccinated </a>campaign to educate and encourage staff to receive the vaccine. </p><p>The campaign will help AHCA/NCAL reach its nationwide goal of getting 75 percent of all nursing home staff vaccinated by June 30, the association said.<br></p>2021-03-12T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/1020_News2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19;CaregivingPatrick ConnoleFacilities need ongoing access to ensure new and existing residents and staff have an opportunity to get vaccinated.
Skilled Nursing Facility Occupancy Rates Hit New Low Before Vaccines Took Hold <p>December 2020 occupancy rates for nursing homes fell to 71.7 percent, the lowest level since data have been collected, according to the latest NIC MAP® Data Service (NIC MAP) report, provided by the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing &amp; Care (NIC). </p><p>Occupancy declined 13.3 percentage points since February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.</p><p>NIC experts acknowledge that skilled nursing occupancy has been hit hard by COVID-19. However, the latest numbers do not account for recent efforts to vaccinate skilled nursing patients and frontline health care workers, who are at greater risk than the general population of contracting the virus.</p><p>“New COVID-19 cases and mortalities are dropping steadily due to the vaccine’s reach and effectiveness in skilled nursing settings,” said Beth Burnham Mace, NIC’s chief economist. “As vaccination rates rise, occupancy rates are likely to increase in the coming months.”</p><p>According to NIC’s <a href="https&#58;//www.nic.org/snf-covid-tracker">Skilled Nursing COVID-19 Tracker, </a>from Dec. 20, 2020, to Feb. 14, 2021, <a href="https&#58;//blog.nic.org/per-resident-rate-of-covid-19-infections-reaches-pandemic-record-low-point-as-case-counts-continue-to-dip">new weekly confirmed cases of COVID-19 </a>in skilled nursing facilities fell 89 percent, while new cases nationwide declined 59 percent over the same period.</p><p>These numbers are nearly identical to the latest data on COVID cases announced by the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), which show that nursing homes have seen an 82 percent decline in new cases among residents since the peak during the week of Dec. 20, 2020, when there were more than 30,000 new resident cases.</p><p>In the same period, community cases in the general population dropped by 46 percent, showcasing that vaccines are having an impact in protecting the elderly population in nursing homes, AHCA/NCAL said.</p><p>Even with vaccinations beginning to bring the crisis in skilled nursing facilities to an end, NIC said it is uncertain if all facilities will be able to sustain their financial well-being without help.</p><p>“Federal government support was essential last year for many skilled nursing facilities to continue to serve patients,” said Bill Kauffman, senior principal at NIC. “Whether all skilled nursing facilities can remain financially sustainable going forward will depend in part on additional governmental support as part of COVID relief and how quickly the bounce back in occupancy will occur.”</p><p>Click <a href="https&#58;//info.nic.org/nic-map-skilled-nursing-data-monthly-report">here </a>to access the latest skilled nursing data.<br></p>2021-03-05T05:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0620_News3.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />COVID-19;CaregivingPatrick Connole​In the new year, numbers of new COVID cases have dropped steadily in both nursing homes and the general population.