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    Job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are an overlooked and underappreciated talent pool. For organizations hoping to develop employment opportunities for the people they serve, one of the biggest hurdles is building partnerships with businesses.

    Stephane Leblois, program manager at The Arc@Work, did a webinar with us to educate IDD service providers about the program’s approach to supporting corporations to develop, implement and maintain neurodiversity hiring initiatives. Stephane provided useful information and actionable steps for providers interested in improving their employment programs.

    The audience had great questions, and Stephane offered insightful answers. Here’s some of that Q&A.

    Q: What are some nontraditional job development partnerships?

    A: I would recommend looking at Rotary International, the local Chamber of Commerce or other large networks of businesses. Also, look for fraternal organizations in your area whose members may be comprised of business leaders and other folks you can network with. The key is to get on the docket to speak at a meeting about what you’re doing. Use that elevator pitch we talked about developing at the beginning of the webinar. Talk about who your organization is and the value and services you provide. That is exactly the type of presentation people want to hear.

     

    Q: Can you speak on how to engage specifically with smaller, locally owned businesses? Do you do much job carving or customized employment?

    A: The first thing is to identify their need—what are they struggling with staffing-wise—and figure out, on your terms, a way to solve that problem. For example, if they’re looking for one or two full-time positions to fill immediately, but they’re having trouble filling those positions, go to them and say, “Hey look, we can do this, but some of the individuals that we support may not be able to work full-time jobs for benefits reasons or as an accommodation. I would recommend we do job carving or splitting one position across two or three people if need be.” Employers are responsive to thinking creatively about those things.

     

    Q: If you don’t have any applicable candidates for the position that this business is looking to fill, would you reach out to other agencies that are supporting job seekers with disabilities?

    A: As far as I’m concerned, yes. I think that we shouldn’t lose sight of our mission, which is ultimately to get people with disabilities into jobs. So, if you don’t have a job candidate who is a fit for a job with a certain employer, I would 1) reach out to another agency because you want to fulfill that mission, and 2) know that the employer will thank you and remember you. They will gain trust in your ability to get their needs filled no matter what, whether that’s you doing it or somebody else.

     

    Q: Are there any assessment tools you would recommend that would be used to find the type of businesses or industries that fit best as places of employment for your participant workforce?

    A: Not that I can think of. Ultimately, it’s important to reach out to all kinds of businesses in your area, especially if you live in an area with few employer options. But you want to focus your fire on employers that have the types of jobs that may fit the skill sets and preferences of the individuals you serve. The way you assess that is up to you, but I think it starts with a person-centered plan and figuring out what the individual wants to do with their career.

    One way to assess the best kinds of jobs or employers to reach out to in your area is by creating realistic job previews or walk-throughs of different employers—working with employers to create a “day in the life of” or an opportunity to shadow a current employee so that folks understand and see if they are interested in that type of work. I would use whatever free means you can for getting folks into workplaces and familiar with work processes so they can make an educated decision down the road.

     

    Q: Have you had luck with offering some type of trial work experience to the employer and then transitioning into an actual hire?

    A: One of the great programs that does this is Project SEARCH, and we’ve worked with a number of sites. Project SEARCH is a little bit different because it’s a longer internship program.

    It’s not unusual for employers to allow for a bit of a trial period with an individual where they can come in and either shadow an employee or maybe even work a shift, depending on the relationship that you’ve established with that employer. That shift and the liability are often covered by vocational rehabilitation as on-the-job training, so that’s able to be funded most of the time.

    To answer the question—yes, we’ve had success in doing job trials not only for the job discovery process but also as a means to build confidence on the employer side that the job seeker can work effectively.

     

    Q: How do you feel about disclosing the fact that your company works with people with disabilities? Some pundits think we should not disclose this key piece of information.

    A: The Arc is one of the nation’s largest and oldest non-profits serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so I think that working for and with people with disabilities is a fundamental aspect of who we are as an organization. Secondly, I would say that working with people with disabilities is a strength and asset—not something to either be ashamed of or hide away.

    At the same time, it is important for any organization that either employs people with disabilities or works with people with disabilities to not use disability as a mascot. People with disabilities are people, and true inclusion happens when disability no longer becomes a defining characteristic in the workplace or a condition for employment. Celebrating diversity and diverse abilities in your workplace is important, but not exploiting that in external communications is key.

     

    Q: Do you recommend hosting a business partner appreciation event, or is that too much time and money?

    A: Yes! In fact, one of the slides in my presentation mentions that an alternative method to traditional job development is to host events at your agency or “play a home game.” This serves to not only establish needed partnerships with local employers but also shows the community other ways that your agency achieves positive impact (e.g., daily living skills training, social events and community volunteerism). It is also important to recognize businesses in your area that are doing great things in the realm of inclusion, so I think it’s a great idea to host an appreciation event! To your point, though, don’t go overboard on expenses.

    The post Tips on Working with Local Businesses for IDD Job Development appeared first on Relias.


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    A recent webinar, “Dollars and Sense: Building a Financial Case on Expanding Professional Development” was attended by leaders from nursing, education, staff development, and more across the nation.

    The webinar focused on the importance of professional development programs and the necessity of demonstrating their success to key stakeholders in the organization. Professional development programs are essential in equipping a hospital’s and health system’s workforce with providing high-quality patient care, and are also one of the top recruiting aspects that candidates look for in an employer.

    Having them in place is one challenge, but effectively showing the impact of professional development programs on both clinical and financial outcomes can be an added (and often forgotten) challenge.

    The webinar discussed how to build a financial case to senior leaders and obtain better support in expanding existing professional development programs.

    Significant webinar insights included:

    • Key organizational challenges facing professional development leaders
    • 3 strategies for demonstrating impact of your professional development program on clinical and quality outcomes
    • How to turn these improvements into solid business case arguments for enhanced support for the department
    • Best practices for implementing a new business model for professional development

    View the webinar slides and recording

    Survey Says

    Based on live polling during the webinar, results indicate that there is a current awesome opportunity to improve ROI efforts among hospitals and health systems in demonstrating success for professional development programs. Almost 60% of attendees reported not having a current method to calculate ROI for professional development programs, and only half of attendees reported feeling confident in their ability to effectively present results, proposals, and presentations to senior leaders.

    Webinar Poll Results

    1. Reducing CMS Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) penalties is a priority for me/my department.
      • Strongly Agree: 18.4%
      • Agree: 40.8%
      • Disagree: 36.7%
      • Strongly Disagree: 4.1%
    1. My organization tracks VBP closely.
      • Strongly Agree: 29.4%
      • Agree: 52.9%
      • Disagree: 15.7%
      • Strongly Disagree: 2%
    1. I am comfortable making proposals/presentations to senior leaders for resources for my department.
      • Strongly Agree: 3.8%
      • Agree: 45.3%
      • Disagree: 18.9%
      • Strongly Disagree: 34%
    1. Do you currently have a method of calculating ROI for your professional development program?
      • Yes: 2%
      • No: 58.8%
      • I’m not sure: 39.2%

    Tool for Improvement

    High-performing organizations recognize the importance of professional development for new and incumbent nurses. To ensure the success of professional development programs, leaders need to be equipped with the necessary tools and resources to demonstrate the ROI and value of their programs to key stakeholders.
    chart and calculator on deskThis ROI Calculator demonstrates the value of professional development programs by helping to analyze an organization’s:

    • Cost Reductions
      • Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Penalties
      • External Training
    • Cost Avoidance
      • Course Development
      • Paid Training
      • Orientation

    The post Can You Show the Impact of Your Professional Development Program? Most Can’t. appeared first on Relias.


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    Risk management in business is defined as the “process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization’s capital and earnings.” For hospitals, regulatory compliance requirements are at or near the top of this list, as healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated of all industries due to the care provided to vulnerable populations.

    Recent items in the news highlight the critical need for hospital systems and healthcare organizations of all kinds to be vigilant, as issues such as documentation of suicide screening and assessment must meet compliance standards, or else facilities run the risk of tragic consequences for patients, as well as citations which can result in penalties such as the preliminary denial of accreditation status.

    With this past Saturday’s designation as International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day, now is a particularly good time to review the Joint Commission’s Suicide Prevention Portal, a resource for organizations seeking to be in compliance with NPSG 15.01.01 (changes effective July 1, 2019) and the Suicide Risk Recommendations from the Suicide Risk Reduction Expert Panel.

    Relias is well acquainted with the issue of suicide prevention, having partnered in 2018 with the Zero Suicide Alliance UK to create an award-winning training course. Relias also has a suite of suicide prevention tools and resources to help organizations address the issue.

    For organizations in the rapidly evolving healthcare industry, the challenges of maintaining compliance with the myriad regulations and governing bodies is a full-time job. To support a complete culture of compliance, examine and invest in workflow tools that keep you ahead of the regulatory curve with real-time updates and alerts; maintain program consistency across all your facilities, and; support your existing staff to efficiently and effectively manage the complex processes involved in maintaining regulatory compliance.

    Here are seven simple steps you can take to help your compliance efforts run smoothly:

    1) Make it easy to find the right courses

    Finding the right courses based on state and federal requirements is challenging—especially if you’re not an expert in compliance training. To avoid being overwhelmed, keep in mind the following:

    • Use training libraries specific to your regulatory needs.
    • Use a “crosswalk”—a referencing tool you can sort by profession to easily look up the accredited courses you need based on your federal and state guidelines.
    • Use pre-built, customizable training plan templates so you have a place to start without recreating the wheel.
    • Use a reliable content provider to keep training materials relevant and consistently up to date.
    • Blend online training with your own company-specific live training.

    2) Make it convenient for employees to take courses

    Convenient access to training is more important than ever. Employees traveling off-site to visit clients often don’t have time to come to the office to complete training. They may also miss live training events— for which instructors are specially paid and hired—and must find similar trainings off-site to remain compliant. This costs both the employee and employer time and money. To avoid these pitfalls, organizations can:

    • Provide online courses that are available 24/7 and accessible from anywhere.
    • Auto-enroll employees in courses so they don’t have to—a time saver for them and you.
    • Videotape or record live training events and upload them to a learning management system so you no longer have to send employees off-site if they miss it.
    • Provide a user-friendly, intuitive system that employees can easily navigate; including the option to save and go back.

    3) Automate course reminders

    Instead of spending your time reminding staff to complete their training, use automated reminders to do the job for you. This simple idea features:

    • Easy, one-time setup
    • Customizable

    4) Create smart dashboards for tracking

    Without establishing an easy tracking method for training, maintaining compliance becomes nearly impossible, potentially leading to costly penalties. Tracking allows you to know where your organization currently stands in order to address and correct it.

    To avoid noncompliance issues later, be proactive by creating customized charts to quickly and easily track compliance at-a-glance.

    5) Use audit-ready reporting

    Are you manually creating spreadsheets in Excel to report on training? Save time by using an automated reporting system.

    • Keep managers and staff on the same page with scheduled, customizable reports.
    • Avoid sifting through employee files and spreadsheets by keeping all of your training records in one place.
    • Be well-prepared for audits with one-click compliance reports, including reports that capture the demonstration of job-specific skills, which is crucial in an increasingly outcome-driven field.

    6) Keep employees engaged

    Compliance training isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. When employees are bearing heavy workloads on a daily basis, training is the last thing they want to do, no matter how crucial it may be. The key concept here is to provide employees with engaging content. Use interactive scenarios. Incorporate video and graphics.

    7) Manage policies and procedures electronically

    Are you keeping track of your policies and procedures by storing hard copies in large, dusty binders? Is it a hassle to make sure employees have reviewed and signed them to remain compliant?

    Maximize the benefits of a learning management system by including policies and procedures directly within the system.

    • Auto-enroll employees upon hire (and on a recurring basis) to ensure compliance.
    • Upload, assign, review, and report on policies and procedures directly within your learning management system.
    • Use built-in version control to easily keep track of updates or changes.

     

    Whether the issue is suicide prevention or something else, proper training is the key to ensuring compliance issues don’t lead to negative patient outcomes and financial risk.

    The post Seven Smart Compliance Tips To Address Risk Management Issues appeared first on Relias.


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    Mmmm. Breathe deep. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? No, not the pumpkin lattes or sprigs of spruce and pine. It’s more like stale coffee and the gentle clicking of keys on the computer.

    Yes! ‘Tis the season for evaluating training programs and checking everything twice to make sure you’re on CMS’ nice list.

    To get you in the spirit, we’ve put together a three-part blog series, 12 Days of Compliance, to keep your post-acute care organization on track through the rest of the year and on into 2020.

    Part 1: Engage Your Employees

    A huge part of keeping your organization compliant is making sure your staff is doing the same: completing their annual mandatories, utilizing the most current practices, following policies and procedures and so on.

    But with a shrinking pool of candidates and high turnover rates, competition is fierce to find and retain your employees.

    Fostering employee engagement can increase retention and help keep your organization in compliance. Read below to learn four ways to engage your employees and check compliance off your list.

     

    12. It’s Game Time

    12 Days of Compliance - Gamification

    How do you motivate your staff to complete their training on time—especially when you’re trying to keep up with compliance? It’s not doughnuts. It’s gaming—gaming elements, that is.

    The “gaming” in gaming elements can be misleading when used in the workplace, but don’t be fooled. It’s a valuable tool that can improve performance and compliance.

    Now, we’re not talking about going full-on Mario or Settlers of Catan. But what we are suggesting is incorporating aspects that motivate behavior responses similar to when you’re playing a game.

    Features like leaderboards and points can encourage friendly competition and empower staff to become active participants in their learning.

    For example, staff members earn points when completing courses. They earn more if courses are completed early, if they complete more than one course, or if they receive high exam scores.

    When you incentivize learning, your staff members complete their training because they want to, not because they have to. Gaming elements increase staff engagement, which results in improved knowledge retention, performance and compliance.

     

    11. M&M

    12 Days of Compliance - M&M

    While equally delightful, we’re not talking about the candy. We’re focused on two other M’s: micro-learning and mobile-optimization. Why? Because convenient access to training is more important than ever.

    Time is precious and finding a time for everyone to come into the office for a live training is difficult. Your staff still may miss the live training event—for which instructors are specially paid and hired—and will have to find similar trainings off-site to remain compliant. This costs both the employee and employer time and money.

    Providing online courses that are available 24/7 allows access anywhere at any time. Videotaping or recording live training events and uploading them to a learning management system prevents you from having to send employees off-site or schedule another training.

    While this addresses accessibility, there’s still often another challenge associated with training.

    Your staff is required to complete regular training, but how much of what they learn do they remember? Studies show that the answer to that question is concerning—we forget nearly 70 percent of what we learn in the first 24 hours.

    Bridge the gap between completing required training and applying concepts to care delivery with mobile-optimized micro-learning: quick refreshers on training for your staff to access at the point of care. Short modules and quizzes will help your staff:

    • Retain knowledge from their required trainings.
    • Focus on the skills that are most critical to care for their specific patients.
    • Access education and support when they need it.

    These quick refreshers benefit your employees, those you care for, and your bottom line.

    Your front-line staff is constantly on the go—whether from room to room within a facility or even from home to home, caring for individuals with a wide variety of needs. They’re not always right in front of a computer.

    Micro-learning and courses with mobile optimization provide them with the support they need to provide the care your clients require and keep your organization compliant.

     

    10. Get Personal

    12 Days of Compliance - Personalize LearningOur society as a whole likes for things to be customized to our personal preferences. It makes each of us feel inherently special— “this item is prepared to suit me.”

    Think about it—people customize their clothing, cars, and meal plans. So why don’t we apply this to training? In today’s world, the one-size-fits-all approach is going out of style.

    It’s time we personalize training.

    Consider your staff for a moment. You might have millennials looking to start their career, RNs with decades of experience, or a seasoned acute clinician that is new to the post-acute care space. Each of them have different educational needs.

    Why would you provide them all with the same exact training plan?

    The seasoned staff members may just need a refresher on the latest practice, whereas someone with less experience might need in-depth instruction on trach care. Tailor their education to their needs.

    Utilize knowledge assessments to identify what areas are proficient and what areas need attention.

    From there, create tailored training plans or assign specific courses to remediate any gaps in knowledge. This personalized approach makes the staff member feel valued and allows them to put all their cognitive energy into learning this specified information.

    Because they are more engaged with this tailored education, it creates a better chance for successful processing and recall later. This method also helps to establish a baseline competency by which you can measure and track progress over time.

    Not only will you be meeting current regulatory requirements, your employees will be grateful that they don’t have to sit through information they already know, and you’ll save time and money in the process.

     

    9. Did You Get the Memo?

    12 Days of Compliance - AnnouncementsPicture it: You’re happily sipping coffee, knocking out some work, when all of a sudden…WHAM! Breaking news hits. A new state regulation has just been passed and goes into effect within the week. Your calm morning has just turned hectic.

    Like lightning, you are executing a to-do list:

    • Information gathered? Check!
    • Plan created? Check!
    • Approval gained? Check!
    • Management informed? Check!
    • Policies updated? Check!

    You’ve got it all covered! Except one tiny detail…you have to inform your entire staff of the updated policies and have each person attest to seeing it.

    Your feeling of accomplishment fades and panic starts to seep in.

    How within a week’s time will you be able to inform ALL of your staff? Not all of them have a corporate email account, or even a personal email.

    The best-made plans are laid to waste if there’s not effective communication from the top down within an accessible channel.

    With so many changes to the post-acute landscape in the past couple of years, it’s critical that your teams be aware and informed of changes, both to the organization and their roles.

    This change management tactic can prevent feelings of anxiety and uncertainty that can negatively fuel the fire of resentment, turnover and burnout.

    Be sure your organization has a fool-proof system in place to inform all employees of changes and a way to easily update, distribute and confirm witness to changes in policies and procedures.

    Printing out memos and hanging them on every available surface is not a sustainable way to do this.

    Online platforms offer a great alternative.

    Learning management systems with built-in announcement features can reduce time and costs of printouts and ensure that employees—even ones without corporate email addresses—can receive the information.

    Similarly, digital policies and procedures are easier to update and distribute, especially within the same platform used to deliver announcements.

    Keep your corporate compliance in check with an accessible mode of communication.

     

    Stay tuned! Part 2 with numbers 8 to 5 will be coming next week!

    The post 12 Days of Compliance Countdown – Part 1: Engage Your Employees appeared first on Relias.


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    The healthcare world is constantly evolving. From breakthroughs in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to the way we assess and screen for serious mental illness, technology and medicine are making it possible for people to live longer, healthier lives. However, these new approaches in health and human services aren’t the only innovative things happening in the field.

    E-learning (or online learning) is changing the way you hire and onboard new psychiatrists, train counselors on evidence-based treatments, and ensure your overall staff understands your organization’s policies and procedures on workplace violence, fire safety, and more.

    Why Care About Innovations in Healthcare Learning?

    Think about the way kids are learning in elementary and middle schools:

    • They’re searching Google to learn about Napoleon instead of sifting through the ‘N’ hardcover encyclopedia or using an Encyclopedia Britannica CD-ROM
    • They’re using Microsoft Word or Google Docs to type up book reports instead of handwriting reports (and being judged on their legible or illegible handwriting).
    • They’re using tablets at their desks instead of having to wait to use the computer lab.
    • They’re using Google Hangouts to collaborate with students in other states, sometimes other countries, instead of only knowing the kids in their own classroom.

    Technology is influencing the way we’re teaching and learning, making it easier for us to share, access, and process information. For healthcare organizations, this is huge!

    Over the last few decades, healthcare learning has made giant strides in how nurses, doctors, counselors, and health care workers use technology to receive CEs and CMEs, maintain their certifications, and stay current on best practices in their field.

    But that’s not the only thing innovative in healthcare learning. It’s also the release of courses that bridge the learning-doing gap (scenario-based, simulation, etc.), the ability to personalize learning to a specific person’s educational needs, and methods to improve the retention of course materials.

    Learning That Bridges the Knowing-Doing Gap

    When it comes to training, the best courses should not only help your staff learn or advance their skills but also apply those very skills when needed.

    For example, you might learn how to insert an IV by reading a medical textbook, however you wouldn’t know exactly what to do without applied practice. And repeated practice at that. This applied practice is what helps your staff convert those skills to memory, allowing them to efficiently insert an IV every time they are required to do so.

    For some skills, however, applied practice is harder to come by. De-escalating a hostile patient or family member is not something your staff does every day, maybe not even every month. Applying de-escalation tactics might not be as easy for them.

    That’s where courses that help bridge the knowing-doing gap come in. Simulation and scenario-based courses provide learners with the space to learn new skills AND critically apply them in a relevant situation.

    A good example of this is the training course, In Session: Suicide Assessment and Intervention for Adults.

    In-Session Suicide Screening and Intervention for Adults Course

    The course is designed to give behavioral health clinicians the ability to apply critical thinking, knowledge, and skills in simulated clinical sessions and to real-world experiences. They’re able to apply their existing knowledge of suicide prevention to assess and intervene with an at-risk adult. Learners going through the course will see how their responses impact the level of risk and outcome.

    For behavioral health clinicians, scenario-based learning and simulation training offers a safe place to practice their skills—something they might not receive from a traditional training course. The ability to practice not only reinforces learned skills but also improves their confidence when applying the same skills to a real-life situation.

    Other benefits of simulation training and scenario-based learning include:

    • Instant feedback: Based on an action a learner takes, they’ll receive consistent, prompt feedback to inform them why or why not their chosen action was correct or not.
    • Interactive and engaging: This type of course is highly interactive. Learners are actively making decisions, not just reading and listening.

    Interested in seeing just how scenario-based courses work? Watch a preview of Workplace Emergency and Natural Disasters, a course where you learn not only the basic elements of an emergency plan but also use them during a crisis scenario.

     

    Learning That is Personalized to the User

    When you’re required to take specific training courses every year, think HIPAA and cultural competency, learning the same info repeatedly can feel redundant, exhausting, and time-consuming. This can prevent your staff from taking in the information—and more importantly, applying it—when needed.

    That’s where personalized learning comes in.

    Personalized learning customizes onboarding and training plans based on a learner’s strengths, needs, skills, and interests. This innovative learning approach makes it easy to give each staff member the exact training they need and reduce seat time since they are not spending time learning what they already know.

    Relias Personalized Learning Infographic

    Learning That Uses Neuroscience to Improve Retention

    Time is valuable and behavioral and community health professionals have limited quantities of it to spend on training. When they do, how much of it do they remember given their day to day demands? Since we forget nearly 70% of what we learn within 24 hours, it is likely that staff are unable to absorb and assimilate what they’ve learned. The information is lost (not to mention the dollars you spend on it).

    Incorporating a brain science method called “spacing and testing” into your training can have lasting, sustainable effects on job performance.  It works by delivering a series of questions to staff over a predetermined cadence, usually a period of 30 days, upon finishing a course. The questions are sent to spark memory recall and improve performance. Providing staff with these questions in the days soon after training allows them to mentally “stamp” the information as useful, and they are more likely to retain it.

    Sample Relias Brainsparks question

    Learning That Improves Health Outcomes

    Ultimately, the goal of healthcare e-learning is to improve the health outcomes of your organization. When your staff is fully equipped with the knowledge they need to handle any and all situations, the level of care you’re able to deliver (and the reputation of your organization) dramatically increases.

    And with more companies ‘measuring learning impact’ instead of seat time, the types and quality of training provided to your staff should match their learning needs and roles.

    The post The Future of Healthcare E-Learning is Here appeared first on Relias.


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    Last month, we had the opportunity to partner with the National Council for Behavioral Health on the webinar, The Substance Use Professional of the 2020s.

    Aaron Williams, Senior Director of Training and Technical Assistance for Substance Abuse, shared insights on:

    • The current state of substance use in the U.S.
    • The current landscape of substance use treatment
    • The critical areas of knowledge development for substance use counselors

    In short, the webinar gives those currently working in substance use and addiction treatment an idea of what is happening now and what to expect in the coming decade, including the core competencies needed for effective practice in 2020 and beyond.

    The Current State of Substance Use in the U.S.

    Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders in America

    The latest data from SAMHSA and NSDUH indicate that in 2018, 57.8 million Americans aged 18 and older had a mental and/or substance use disorder.

    Among those with a substance use disorder:

    • Three in eight struggled with illicit drugs
    • Three in four struggled with alcohol use
    • One in eight struggled with illicit drugs and alcohol

    Among those with a mental illness:

    • One in four had a serious mental illness

    In the webinar, Aaron shared more statistics regarding opioid misuse, heavy alcohol use, methamphetamine use, and co-occurring substance use disorder with suicide thoughts. This data shows the demand and need for behavioral health services, including substance use treatment.

    The Current Landscape of Substance Use Treatment

    Substance Use Treatment Gaps Chart

    Even with all the data, there are still issues with treatment and treatment demand.

    “The vast majority of people with a substance use disorder, actually receive no treatment,” Aaron says. The same is true for those with a mental illness, serious mental illness, and a co-occurrence of mental illness and substance use disorder.

    Some of this can be attributed to the challenges behavioral health and substance use treatment facilities face, like workforce shortages and the ability to provide accessible treatment to clients in rural communities.

    And with workforce shortages only projected to get worse—HRSA suggests that demand for addiction counselors may increase anywhere between 21% and 38% while the supply of addiction counselors will increase 6%, resulting in a deficit)—it’s imperative that facilities use modern treatment models to improve quality of care and long-term sobriety outcomes.

    Critical Areas of Knowledge Development

    To support quality of care and long-term sobriety, Aaron highlights how the field is changing (moving from addiction as a moral failing to a chronic brain disorder), what the substance use disorder treatment continuum of care looks like, and how medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and peer support specialists are improving clinical outcomes.

    Aaron also reviews areas where counselors should continue to hone their skills, for things like motivational interviewing, cultural competency, and suicide screening and assessments.

    other areas of continued focus

    If you missed the webinar, you can watch a replay here.

    Questions We Didn’t Have Time to Answer

    We received many great questions during the webinar, so many that we couldn’t answer them all live. Aaron graciously answered all the questions offline and we’re sharing them below:

    How do we identify gaps in our staff’s competency, so we can improve the quality of care we deliver?

    I would encourage you to think holistically about this issue and look at organizational capacity as well as individual staff competencies. One of the first things I would do is assess whether my organization is offering the evidence-based interventions that provide clients with the greatest likelihood of success and long-term recovery. If not, then I would begin to implement those practices. I would also look at my supervision protocols to make sure that the appropriate supervision processes are in place to support staff.

    How do we support our peer providers/specialists in their own recovery while having them provide support to clients?

    In most cases, the support and care that peer specialists need is similar to what any service provider may need working in the behavioral health field. So, you want to make sure that you have programs and activities that support health and wellness and make sure that all staff have access to those programs.

    Do you have any information on how culture affects recovery in SUD and usage as far as the way we address helping an individual become whole?

    Culture certainly plays a huge role in the treatment and recovery process. Treatment providers should strive to be “culturally intelligent” in the implementation of all their services. SAMHSA has a number of resources that can be useful as you think through how to address issues related to culture.

    Are there efforts being made to address pay inequity of substance use providers? It seems like this would address the workforce issue. Addressing provider burnout and improving work conditions would be important, too.

    Salary is certainly a critical workforce issue that needs to be addressed. There are some policy initiatives that are trying to address related issues, such as student loan repayment. I agree more needs to be done in this area.

    There seems to be a mixed message about recovery and 12-step programs—most treatment appears to be TSF. This seems to be in direct opposition of MAT and promotes ‘powerlessness.’ How do we in the field move away from this mindset?

    My view is that, as a field, we need to focus on the use of evidence-based practices and more person-centered approaches to care. These practices will ultimately give providers and clients the best chance at a successful recovery. As a field, we have to keep our focus on those treatment options that we know are effective and double our efforts to disseminate those practices to the field.

    Help Your Counselors Provide Better SUD Treatment in 2020 and Beyond

    Whether you’re in charge of training, hiring, or ensuring compliance at your facility, there are things you can do to help your counselors provide better SUD treatment. Check out the resources below:

    The post The Substance Use Counselor of the 2020s [Webinar Recap] appeared first on Relias.


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    Sometimes, people think the best time to take care of yourself is during the holidays because things slow down a bit. As a healthcare professional, you know that is not always the case. Even if you do have time off during the holidays, you are generally too busy preparing for everything (or trying to hang on to what little patience you have left to deal with family members—please tell me you relate).

    Focusing on a “12 Days” theme around the holidays is cute and all, but let’s face it—who has time for self-care crammed into 12 consecutive days, much less the 12 days before Christmas? Instead, I want to share useful information that is doable and lasts 11 months and 19 days longer.

    Who Takes Care of You?

    I’ve always wondered where people who provide care to others go when they need the same care themselves. Have you?

    For example, where do licensed clinical social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists go when they need mental health care? I can’t imagine that they wouldn’t need a little help dealing with the things they see and experience on a regular basis. It must take a toll after a while. Or, what about my primary care physician? When she needs to see a doctor, where does she go? When my dentist needs a root canal, he can’t do it himself. Who does he trust to do it for him? (And why am I not going to that person?!)

    While we’re at it, as a licensed massage therapist, I wonder if my clients wonder where I go to get a massage. The truth is, I rarely have the time to fit it in. When I do, I usually settle for whoever is available at the time.

    As a health care professional, is it the same for you? Do you put self-care off because your patients and clients come first? Because you don’t have time to fit it in? Because you’re just too exhausted or experiencing burnout?

    At some point or another, the care and services you provide to others you will also need for yourself. It is important to actively participate in your own care and wellbeing the same way you do for your clients and patients. After all, you can only give as much as you have.

    “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

    —Eleanor Roosevelt

    The idea of 12 months of self-care isn’t meant to be a long, drawn out process. It’s about trying to include one small self-care activity each month. If you’re not doing anything currently, any one thing will be an improvement, right? It is a more realistic and manageable approach.

    Measure Twice, Cut Once

    Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan,” and what better time of year than January to get started on both. It’s easier than you might imagine, and the small amount of time you take in the beginning is well worth the value you will receive in the end. Here are the three steps to help you plan your 12 months of self-care:

     

    Step One: Make a List

    Jot down the health concerns and goals you would give more attention to “if you only had the time.” I struggled with this activity at first but then didn’t want to stop. I made a list of 12 items, but you don’t have to. Do what works for you based on your needs and priorities—just focus on the big picture and don’t sell yourself short.

    Also, I may be preaching to the choir here, but for good measure: Your mental health matters just as much as your physical health and the two often go hand in hand, so be sure to include that aspect of self-care in your plan, too.

     

    Step Two: Prioritize

    list of health concerns and goalsNumber the items in your list by priority. For reference, take a look at my (sloppy, lefthanded, two-colors-because-my-ink-ran-out) napkin example. Try to incorporate various aspects of wellness (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) into your list, and include interests you have outside of your professional work.

    When you are determining how to prioritize your list, be mindful of “shoulds.” My gut reaction was that I “should” prioritize my physical wellness items before my other items because I need my annual check-up, but I just want a massage. If you find yourself doing the same thing, shift your perspective and remember that every single item is something you need.

     

    Step Three: Schedule

    Add each of the items to your calendar, whether that is your planner, a digital calendar or even a wall calendar. Use what is easy or what you currently use. I like using the calendar in my smartphone because it syncs with my other calendars and it’s always nearby.

    It might help to mark your calendar entries as urgent, color-code them or use a unique title that will motivate you to stick to your appointments. For example, because I try to never miss appointments with my clients, I am going to label my entries “Client Appointment,” to ensure I open it, read it and complete it. If there are items that require you to miss work (for example, a medical appointment), request the time off all at once, so you don’t have to worry about it later. An example of my self-care appointment is shown in the screenshots below. You’ll see in the calendar view, on January 10, the entry shows as “Client Appointment” at 1:00 p.m. but in the event details, it shows that I have an annual check-up.

    scheduling client appointments screenshot

     

    Conclusion

    Even if you don’t know exactly what your self-care goals are, it is OK. Try to schedule blocks of time on your calendar anyway. They can be however long and at whatever time of day you prefer. Even if all you do is breathe deeply for a few minutes or take a bubble bath every month, do something. But schedule it in advance—and fiercely protect your time.

    In 12 months from now, you will have two options. You can reflect on the wishes you had, or you can reflect on the actions you took to make them a reality. Which will you choose?

    Personally, I’m not waiting for January. By the time you read this article, my massage therapy appointment will be set in stone … hot stone, even.

    The post 12 Months of Self-Care in Three Ridiculously Simple Steps appeared first on Relias.


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    Mmmm. Breathe deep. Can you smell it? Can you feel it? No, not the pumpkin lattes or sprigs of spruce and pine. It’s more like stale coffee and the gentle clicking of keys on the computer.

    Yes! ‘Tis the season for evaluating training programs and checking everything twice to make sure you’re on CMS’ nice list.

    To get you in the spirit, we’ve put together a three-part blog series, 12 Days of Compliance, to keep your post-acute care organization on track through the rest of the year and on into 2020.

    Part 2: Measure Your Results

    Compliance is about more than just yearly mandatory training. You stay compliant because you want to provide quality care, reduce risk and eliminate variations in care. To meet any of those goals, you need to be tracking the performance of your team. We don’t mean just monitoring what courses they’ve taken; you’ll do better to measure how much they actually retain and in what areas they need to improve. Read below to learn four ways to measure the effectiveness of your training, as we count down days 8 to 5.

     

    8. Create Baselines

    12 Days of Compliance - AssessmentsThink about your favorite part of school. The thing you miss the most.

    You’re probably thinking of your Ticonderoga #2 pencil scratching away while taking an exam, right?

    OK, probably not.

    But unlike certain standardized tests required of high school students, you should find assessments that will actually measure how much your staff knows about a wide range of job-related topics.

    Here’s how it works.

    You assign your staff member an assessment that will test their knowledge of job-specific skills.

    You’ll get the results, which will show you what the staff member is good at and what they need additional training in. This will be your baseline.

    Once you have a baseline in place, you’ll be able to identify gaps in their knowledge and assign courses to fill those gaps.

    Maximize your staff’s time by giving them courses that fill gaps in their knowledge instead of wasting hours or days trying to teach them something they already know.

    Work smarter, not harder. Your staff will appreciate not having to take the same course about the same topic they’ve already mastered, and you’ll be creating a stronger team.

    Without a baseline in place, you will end up measuring the number of courses your staff members have taken. That tells only half the story.

    Instead of being reactionary and holding trainings after a mistake happens, you can use assessments as a tool to identify potential issues before they negatively impact a patient.

    Be proactive in measuring your staff’s knowledge using assessments.

     

    7. Track Competency

    12 Days of Compliance - Competency TrackerTracking competency is easier said than done.

    Numbers and spreadsheets can’t determine whether your team member is regularly employing person-centered care.

    There isn’t a test you can put in front of them to know whether they’re employing best practices. That’s not an easy thing to measure because it requires observation.

    So what is the best way to track competency development?

    Create customized proficiency standards and scales to help measure the things that aren’t easily quantifiable.

    customized proficiency standards and scaleAs you observe your staff working in their day-to-day jobs, you can keep track of how they are performing certain activities.

    Assess them on your customized scale and identify strengths and weaknesses.

    Creating proficiency standards will give you consistency in evaluation.

    Every evaluator will know what it means to “meet expectations,” so you’ll be able truly determine the quality that each member of your staff is providing.

    The first step in solving a problem is recognizing that you have one. Without measuring and tracking the competencies of your staff, how do you know if each staff member has sufficient skills for your case mix? How do you know if your training program is working?

    By not employing this practice, you’re deciding not to measure important skills.

     

    6. Demonstrate Skills

    12 Days of Compliance - Skills ChecklistOnline training is a fantastic tool for anyone in charge of managing compliance in your organization.

    But it’s just one tool; it’s not the whole toolbox.

    Don’t tell this to your friends who are teachers, but not everything can be measured with a multiple-choice test.

    Sometimes you need your staff to be able to demonstrate their skills in person for certain tasks.

    How will you know that your staff is properly washing their hands before working with those they care for?

    You need to observe your staff member washing their hands before you can say for certain that they know the procedure.

    The best way to measure and track these types of skills is by using checklists that are thorough and walk you through each step of the procedure.

    Observe your staff members as they attempt to complete the task or series of tasks given, and measure their performance against the checklist.

    These kinds of checklists can be found online, or you can try to build them yourself.

    After you observe, create records of a staff member’s ability to demonstrate specific job-related tasks to an approved observer.

    Not only will you have confirmation that your staff members are following best practices, but you’ll have an electronic record of their competency.

    You will be able to easily identify what tasks they are not properly trained on, and you will know down to the step where they are making mistakes.

    In some cases, you don’t know what you can’t see. So it will pay off to find checklists that are designed for you to learn more about how your staff members work.

     

    5. Customize and Automate Reporting

    12 Days of Compliance - ReportingToo many organizations are relying on manually updating spreadsheets or stuffing their filing cabinets to track compliance.

    What happens when your computer crashes or you misplace some of your papers?

    Not creating an internet-based system to report on compliance puts your organization at risk. If you misplace the wrong piece of paper at the wrong time or forget to update the spreadsheet, that could be an issue.

    An auditor or surveyor could come at any moment, so you need to be prepared to hand over all compliance-related information whenever someone asks for it.

    With Relias’ reporting features, your information is just a few clicks away. Build customized reports that pull the information you need automatically.

    No more ruffling through papers or creating complex formulas in your spreadsheets.

    Without a solid reporting framework in place, you will be spending a lot of time manually tracking what has been completed by your staff.

    Instead of taking up all your time tracking, spend your time on reporting and analyzing. Free yourself up to dig into the competency of your staff rather than waste your time manually collecting data.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the time to analyze where the strengths and weaknesses of your staff are?

    Utilize automated reporting and put your resources toward building new plans rather than building spreadsheets.

     

    If you missed Part 1, catch up here.

    Stay tuned! Part 3 with numbers 4-1 coming next week!

    The post 12 Days of Compliance Countdown – Part 2: Measure Your Results appeared first on Relias.


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    What’s referred to by most as “the most wonderful time of the year” can be anything but that for many.

    While the holiday season can be a meaningful opportunity to spend time with family and recharge our batteries, healthcare is one of the few industries exempt from downtime or a more relaxed pace during the winter months. In fact, as many caretakers attest, the holiday months are often especially busy.

    By nature, caregivers serve patients because of an internal desire to help the sick and vulnerable members of society. It can be extra taxing during the holiday season, as most patients would much rather be home with loved ones. Nurses especially can spend hours or days with the same patient(s) and naturally become even more empathetic to their pain and suffering during the holiday season.

    As caregivers are already expected to “give,” the “season of giving” can leave healthcare workers emotionally and physically exhausted, making their holiday season less enjoyable. These five tips can help caregivers manage stress during the holidays.

    5 Tips for Handling Holiday Caregiver Stress

    1. Stay Realistic and Honest

    While we’re pressured to be extra cheerful during the holiday season, keeping a realistic approach to the season can help manage expectations for the winter months. Depression, “winter blues,” and suicide rates often increase during the holiday season, as does alcohol and drug use. Having an honest expectation of red flags to watch out for and precautions to take for ourselves, as well as others, is especially important during this time of year for caregivers.

    2. Remember the Big Picture

    It’s important to keep in mind that the holiday season (as stressful as it can be) is only a matter of weeks in the span of your entire year. When feeling overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, remember to take a deep breath and know that the chaos will pass. It’s also important to keep in mind that not all friends, coworkers, or family members celebrate the same holidays as you might, and they should never feel pressured to participate in activities or traditions that make them feel left out or uncomfortable. During my career in a hospital setting, we learned to include staff with different backgrounds and traditions by promoting a “December potluck” or lunch rather than labeling it as a specific holiday celebration.

    3. Plan for What You Can

    Although planning ahead is always a good idea, it’s perhaps never more helpful than during the holiday season. Taking simple steps to make to-do lists or getting things done ahead of time will help keep caregivers (or anyone in general) more organized and present during the holidays. Planning also allows you to keep a clear outline of the various activities and obligations you’ve committed to. Instead of overburdening yourself with too many gatherings or commitments, keep a calendar to help you decide which ones you will truly enjoy.

    4. Give Wisely

    The extra shifts and holiday pay can become enticing for healthcare workers, especially those looking to give expensive gifts to friends and family. Caregivers often become overly ambitious and sign up for multiple overtime or holiday shifts, only to become overfatigued and left scrambling to find a replacement at the last minute—inevitably creating more stress for themselves and even their colleagues trying to fill the shifts. It’s important to remember that while you might have the best of intentions with earning extra pay by picking up overtime or holiday shifts, the gift of your time and your presence (as opposed to presents) is what your friends and family cherish most.

    5. Listen to Your Body

    The holiday season brings more stress, more travel, and generally less rest. Combined with the peak of cold and flu season, it’s incredibly important for caregivers to take extra measures to stay healthy. Staying active, hydrated, and well rested are key, but remember to take the time to stay centered and focused within yourself, whether it be through meditation or even just a quick 10-15 of deep breaths and relaxation. Your mind and body know best so stay mindful of what you need.

    Leadership Lookout

    The holiday season can be especially hard on healthcare leaders. Aside from managing the many additional activities and hectic schedules, making sure associates are healthy and safe during the busiest time of the year is also a main priority. Promoting employee engagement can help caregivers feel a greater sense of purpose and belonging – benefiting not only them, but the organization as well.

    For more information on employee engagement, download the white paper, “Shining a Light on Employee Engagement.”

    The post 5 Ways Healthcare Workers Can Manage Holiday Stress appeared first on Relias.


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    Research on job hunting habits indicates that women apply for fewer jobs than men. In a recent LinkedIn study, researchers found that women and men viewed a similar number of jobs and conducted research on the roles, but women applied for 20% fewer jobs than men.

    Why is that? Is it a difference in self-confidence, comfort level with taking risks, or fear of failure?

    A Harvard Business Review survey found that 46% of women and 41% of men said they chose not to apply for jobs if they felt they wouldn’t get the interview because they didn’t meet all the criteria. They didn’t want to waste their time.

    However, 22% of women reported not applying if they thought they didn’t meet all the criteria and would therefore fail. Only 13% of men gave avoidance of failure as the reason.

    Even in healthcare roles where females tend to occupy the majority, women have to be willing to push beyond the comfort zone and risk failure if they are going to move into leadership positions.

    Cultivate and Elevate Your Team Members

    This is where coaching can pay off. With turnover continuing to be a problem in healthcare, encouraging  women to stretch professionally can make the difference between keeping a high performer on your team and letting her move on to a different organization.

    Even as Relias encourages clients to provide professional education for competency and discuss staff career paths, we practice what we preach with our own employees. Because Relias sees the value in cultivating female leadership, we have an internal employee group called the Relias Women’s Leadership Initiative (RWLI), which hosts events attended by females and males.

    At a recent RWLI professional development session, a panel of professional athletic coaches shared their insights into fostering leadership skills in women.

    Stretch and Strive for Successful Failure

    Many of the coaches noted that fear of failure can hold females back from reaching toward their potential. Pushing your limits requires a willingness to fail more than once and to keep failing until you succeed, the coaches noted.

    If women view the outcome of trying something new as pass or fail, panelist Christmas Abbott observed, they will limit themselves. Stretching to new professional and athletic heights requires a shift in perspective. Abbott’s philosophy is: “Every time I try, it’s a pass.”

    Abbott is a cross-fit and weightlifting competitor and coach who is the author of The Badass Body Diet. She encourages what she calls “successful failure” when coaching someone. The key is to actually try—to push beyond your limits and then learn from the failure and try again. “Failure isn’t really failure unless you quit,” she asserted.

    She and other panelists emphasized that every time you push yourself beyond your current limit, you are setting yourself up for success.

    As a supervisor and coach, finding ways to motivate team members requires actively observing them, as RWLI panelist Erin Fines Crawford noted. With a master’s degree in health, exercise, and sports science, Crawford is a rugby player and the Fitness Director at the Carol Woods Retirement Community in Chapel Hill, NC. With her clients, Crawford has found that “where they get excited is where their motivation is.”

    That excitement can also translate to a willingness to put in extra effort. Leaders who know how to tap into that excitement and motivate their staff, act as influential role models, consider the individual’s goals, and provide intellectual stimulation are transformational leaders. They create a climate that inspires greater commitment to the organization.

    Goals Should Bubble Up Instead of Rolling Down

    Commitment to the mission is vital for personal and professional growth. Panelist Taylor Adcock has been an international soccer player and currently coaches youth soccer. She notes that goals must come from the individual, not the coach. Then you will see buy-in and follow-through.

    Working together as a care team requires shared commitment. Another panelist and Client Success Manager at Relias, Emily Hendricks, shared her insights from coaching young women on a national volleyball team.

    She advocates setting goals as a team. She seeks ideas from everyone, and then the team narrows them down, agrees on the final goals, and signs them. If the team starts having difficulties, she reminds them of the goals they agreed to together.

    Panelist and rock climbing coach Bradley Hilbert agrees that team decision making works better than a disciplinarian approach if you want to build a cooperative and committed culture. He learned that the hard way.

    When some team members broke the rules and were not showing commitment to practice, he made a unilateral decision to kick them off the team. His team then boycotted practice, and he had to backtrack.

    First, he apologized. Then he explained his reasoning. The team members decided to give him another chance. Hilbert’s team members said that when he apologized, it made all the difference in the world. They were ready to come together and work with him.

    If you want team respect, you have to respect them. “You always have to tell them the reason for the decision,” Hilbert said.

    For the team to work well, each member needs to know her or his role and what is expected in that role. “No matter what your role is, you need to do it well,” Adcock emphasized. That will make the group as a whole better.

    Show Your Strengths and Go for the Gold

    In teams, women face some of the same challenges on and off the field. “They may be viewed negatively for doing the same things a man would do,” panelist Teddy Calhoun observed. Based on his experience as a rugby and soccer coach and a business consultant, he has found that women respond when encouraged to go for what they want.

    As the Relias course “Choosing to Lead as a Woman” notes, women often are encouraged to be modest. If you aren’t willing to demonstrate that you are good at something, it might keep you out of the action and prevent you from doing more of what stokes your spark.

    Women in the workforce tend to be underestimated, Abbott observed, but they bring a valuable quality to their roles—finesse. Good supervisors and coaches can help women combine that finesse with assertiveness as they embrace new challenges.

    When facing professional roadblocks, the sports analogy holds true. If you feel someone is trying to knock you down, you may have to go around them. “If they don’t knock you down, pivot,” Calhoun said. “You can still get to where you want to go.”

    The panelists also emphasized the importance of support when a team member is ready to push individual limits and go for the gold. Because change isn’t easy, at some point, the individual will experience failure. To encourage growth, Crawford said, a good coach establishes trust and provides support throughout the situation.

    Willingness to make a change at times can help you progress, Crawford acknowledged, but it is important to stay true to the core qualities that make you special. She pointed to a phrase she’s been hearing that resonates for women leaders in healthcare:

    “Be the change, and bring someone with you.”

    The post Coaching the Next Generation of Women Leaders appeared first on Relias.