I have experienced moments of confusion, like being on a business trip and waking up in an unfamiliar place and needing a moment to orient myself. One time (or possibly more than once), I forgot where I parked my car at a large shopping mall. With so many entrances to choose from, I could not remember which one I walked through to enter the mall. Just a few weeks ago, I went through half of a day believing it was Thursday, and it was Wednesday- an entire HALF DAY!
This blog title is credited to a member of the Board of Directors for the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA). I was enlightened after attending a symposium entitled, "The New CNA Workforce: Frontline Lessons from the Pandemic" given by NAHCA.
Career CNA board members and thought leaders shared their passionate pleas for significant change. It really was quite moving, and frankly, sad. Sad in the sense that they felt compelled to give everyone a piece of their mind about how, for decades, they have been treated by their superiors and organizational leadership.
A stern warning was delivered, "We will not tolerate these conditions much longer", and seriously, who can blame them.
Lori Porter, Co-founder and CEO of NAHCA shared this startling reality- there are 425,000 fewer nursing home workers today than before the pandemic, and if serious change doesn't ensue immediately, this number will grow exponentially.
Why must change be driven through threats? The answer is because nothing else seems to have worked.
Don't think that it is only about the pay. Yes, nursing assistants need, and deserve to make much more than they do, but what they also need is to be a valued and respected member of the team.
I reeled hearing one CNA board member describe how in the middle of rendering care to one resident, a nurse knocked on the door to say that there are two more call lights going off and could she please hurry up. Seriously? This unacceptable and disrespectful to the nursing assistant, and the care receiver.
Wake up to Change
Change in this realm will include everything from a long-term national strategy to reform the long term care system to immediate, organization-specific actions. But, one CNA board member laid it out, "We need to get back to the basics, and re-set." My ears perked up, because this exact phrase has been our mantra at AGE-u-cate for months.
We simply must take care of the caregivers, so that they can give their best to their care receivers. The basics include respect, dignity, and appreciation for all. When we get back to the basics, we can begin to rebuild a healthy organizational culture.
It will be up to leaders to work in tandem with all employees create the path to a healthy culture. Listen to what your staff have to say- you may be surprised how much thought they are giving to the issues at hand, because they deeply care. So many ideas were shared, but one that stood out to me is the desire for more education and training that grows skills and leads to advancement. The lack of a career ladder for CNAs is a detriment to the future of this workforce.
I heard so many great ideas from these passionate CNA thought-leaders and I crave more conversation. We have to give them what they need, so I am grateful that NAHCA Board Chair Sherry Perry has agreed to meet with me next week to continue the conversation. Sherry's profile on the NAHCA website includes this statement:
"Being a member of NAHCA has inspired me to be the best CNA I can be. It’s helped me to realize that my voice can make a difference not only for other CNAs but most importantly the elders we care for.”
Thank you Sherry and to your colleagues for speaking your voice- I hope you know that you were heard by many, and I am honored to have been included.
AGE-u-cate thrives on relationships, whether that be with aging services providers or industry partners.
I attended the most extraordinary virtual symposium with my AGE-u-cate colleague, Laura Ellen Christian. Hosted by Penny Cook and her team at The Pioneer Network, the day was entitled "Envisioning the Future: Finding Meaning & Purpose." Both of our heads were spinning all day as we furiously chatted via Teams our take-a-ways and ideas.
The importance of computer access for people living in long term care facilities is on the rise. As the number of seniors using technology increases, so will use of personal computers, smart phones, tablets and social media no matter where they live. One study found that among people 65 and older:
We are honored to be a part of the National Pioneer Network Conference kicking off today in beautiful Denver, Colorado. Ushering in a New Culture of Change promises to be an enlightening and invigorating educational and networking event for participants and those serving the elder care industry. AGE-u-cate® Training Institute will be offering it's internationally acclaimed Dementia Live® Experience and Compassionate Touch® Program to innovators
Topics: AGE-u-cate Training Institute, Senior Care Professionals, aging services, Elders, culture change, Aging in the Workplace, dementia, compassionate touch, Dementia Live, Hospital Professionals, Pioneer Network, elder care, long term care, Work
When visiting someone with dementia, be ready for anything. Things can change day- to- day, even moment- to- moment in dementia care. A little preparation can go a long way to help create a positive experience in dementia care. Have a “magic bag” ready that you can pull things out of that may reach through the dementia to the person inside.
I had the privilege to lead a session on our Dementia Live™and Compassionate Touch® person-centered care programs at the recent American Health Care Association National Convention in Nashville last week. As part of the Dementia Education Track faculty, it was such an honor to speak to so many passionate leaders who are stepping out of the box and doing amazing things to transform their communities. I love to listen to the success stories and challenges as it helps us grow as an organization in helping those we serve.