Friday, August 9, 2013

Quick - do some training!

If you caught the Frontline story on Assisted Living recently, or heard or read many of the radio interviews and news stories that followed you might be thinking something like this, "Yikes!  I'd better up my training - quick!"

You might be a little bit panicked about how best to do that.  After all, training isn't all you have to do.  In fact, it may be one of your very lowest priorities. 

Hopefully you realize that it DOES need to be a priority - even though it does need to be FAST, EASY and EFFECTIVE.

You need a training solution that works for you.

Let me share a quick secret:  we can help!  Whether you're looking for DVDs that can be used over and over again for training, or an online solution that lets you assign, track and print quick, comprehensive reports (survey visits?  Piece of cake!), the Institute for Professional Care Education (IPCed) has your solution.

Full disclosure:  IPCed is my company.  It's a company I created, along with my husband/partner and some amazing team members, the year we sold our own Memory Care Communities to the company that eventually became Emeritus.  So do I know the issues and concerns about training?  You bet I do. I actually know - personally - the attorney that cleaned Emeritus's clock.   It's exactly the reason IPCed exists today.

My one piece of advice to you?  Avoid the Frontline.  Avoid the lawyers - that goes without saying.  You'll do it much more effectively if you can answer this question easily and definitively:  So how do you train YOUR caregivers?  Produce the documentation to show you train ABOVE state mandates - and that everyone on your team has the training they need - and you won't be easy pickins' for TV or for the defendants' chair. 

Call us today - toll free - 877-843-8374.  We can hook you up with training that will get you out of the spotlight and into the place you want to be - proud of your organization; proud of the quality of care your own team provides. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is it FUN around there?

My daughter came home from her summer job the other day with a grin on her face. Actually, saying she “came home” doesn’t really give you the picture. She’s 19, and she’s working full eight-hour days this summer with kids, teaching gymnastics and dance camps. So when she comes home in the evening, it’s more a matter of doors slamming, shoes and bags dropping to the floor right inside the door, and a dramatic, sighing, slinking onto the nearest available horizontal surface where she can crash until starvation overtakes inertia. If you have a working teen this summer, you know the drill.

It’s the grin that really throws me, though. “What’s up with the big smile?” I ask her.

“I love my job,” she said. “This is the first job I’ve ever had that I really love.” This from a kid who probably holds the world record for odd high-school jobs: Subway, Baskin-Robbins, the local pizza place, not to mention babysitting for half the neighborhood.

“So what’s different about this job?” me, her nosy mom, inquires.

“Well, I’m doing something I love – dance.” (She’s been teaching dance all year while at college, though. More prying needed.)

“I LOVE the people I work with,” she replies. “Now that I think about it, I think that’s really why I love this job. The people I work with crack me up – they’re so funny. We have so much fun.”

My first response is a little warm glow. My daughter actually likes work – nice!

My second response was this weird little chill: can my employees say that about MY workplace? Is it a place where people laugh all day and just have fun being there? Do I give them the time, space and permission – tacit or explicit – to “crack each other up?”

As the leader around here, I’m sure that when I’m stressed, in a rush, or feeling pressure to get everything done I don’t set the stage for much “cracking up.” I probably DO set the stage for a lot of focused work and productivity (good), but also a lot of isolation and single-mindedness (not so good).

What I really want to achieve is a workplace where people want to show up; where they want to contribute to the “greater good” of the organization, and where they laugh often, too. I want a place where people LOVE working, because I believe that anything I love doing, I’ll do it well and often (this applies to my staff, too).

Funny hat day? Probably not. Relax just a little more often and share a laugh or two? Definitely on the agenda.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preparing for Coming Changes: Opportunity or Crisis?

You may be reading everywhere about the aging of today’s baby boomers. I’m one of them, and I can tell you the clock is only moving faster these days. It’s inevitable:  me, and millions of other born during the mid-century baby boom, are quickly becoming seniors. It’s really not us, though, that you need to be gearing up for; it’s our parents. Most of us have aging parents who need care and services, either now or in the readily foreseeable future.

While everyone is focused on this aging boomer market, though, there’s another market that is sneaking its way into that position of opportunity or crisis. It’s the group of individuals with autism, a group who were recently children, and who are now aging out of the public school system, often with no adult-care system in place. You may already be hearing from individuals who need help with care for these special folks, and who are beginning to check out the options, both for home care and for facility-based care.

Comparatively, it seems like a small group. After all, we know of millions of individuals with Alzheimer’s needing care. But many options have been developed for the aged and for those with dementia over the past decade or two; few options exist for individuals with autism.

According to a recent article in the Sunday Parade magazine titled “Who will care for Dana?", as many as 500,000 children with autism are entering adulthood in the near future, many with no community options available. Many families are looking for assisted living type options, with staff especially trained to meet the needs of the client with autism.

Opportunity? If your staff is trained and ready to provide care, you can easily begin to accommodate needs. If you have an underutilized building, this could be a tremendous opportunity for you to meet these special needs. Families of children and adults with autism are some of the most technologically connected folks, giving an ideal platform for information and referrals. Facebook’s Autism Speaks group, for example has nearly 800,000 “likes” – compare that to the group who “like” the Alzheimer’s Association or related organizations, none of which have even 10% of this following.

Crisis? Trying to admit a person with special needs that your staff is not trained to handle is the fast track to crisis. Watching your competition pass you by with specially certified staff is another way to crisis, even if it’s just the pit-of-the-stomach sort of crisis.

Here at aQuire Training, we’ve identified this group of caregivers as a tremendous opportunity. We’ve been listening to them and hearing what they say: their challenges are immense and the resources available to them very limited. We’re planning to develop a series of training courses, both for family caregivers and for the professional caregiving team. Let us know if you’re interested – we’ll put you on a list to get development updates.

And keep your ears to the ground. There are lots more changes coming. It’s up to us to make them opportunities, not challenges!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Save the Day (and the Resident)!

Here’s a tool I found a while back, but just noticed again in a recent article in Provider magazine (January, 2011) about avoiding re-hospitalizations in residents. It’s a free resource (awesome!), but I think it could be very, very useful to your caregiving team.

You can find the resources at  Interact stands for “Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers.” My favorite tools are the cards for caregivers to carry in their pockets. They’re called “Stop and Watch” cards. A caregiver could identify a change, circle it and turn it in to their supervisor, even if they are uncomfortable with the actual reporting process. You’ll notice that key indicators of change in condition are noted, with instructions for the caregiver.

If you want to prevent costly hospitalizations and head off the risk of losing the resident to higher care (or worse), you may want to print a supply of these for all your caregivers to carry with them – every day!

To check out the rest of the tools available on this great website go to

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Looking back – looking forward

We are rapidly approaching the end of yet another year. Some of us hung on by our fingernails; some of us have managed growing teams and busy, bustling companies.

Whichever your experience this past year, I hope you have taken the time to keep an ear to the ground. I hope you’ve noticed things like the growth in Facebook and other phenomena that tell us a lot about ourselves – and our team.

These changes tell us that we are striving, as an overwhelmed and over-worked population, to find a way to connect with people in our lives that works for us today.

We’re looking for a little relaxation and fun (Farmville, anyone?), while still connecting with friends.

We’re interested in learning and growing, too – at least where WE want to grow.

If we’re listening, we have heard messages that should give us pause and a moment, as we near year’s end, to reflect.

Are our training approaches building bonds, while putting the amazing wealth of resources of the web in the hands of our team?

Are we making learning fun and interesting – and social, at the same time?

Are we – personally – using email, chat and Facebook to build stronger connections, a stronger team, and a stronger company?

If you’re like me, this time of year is both wonderful and exhausting. My work calendar is already flipped to January, making the balance of the month seem much more insignificant than it really is, both in terms of time and of meaning.

And so, I invite you to join me in stopping for just a minute in the remaining days of this year – whenever you can grab it – and reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re going and, what you’ve learned. Because, ready or not, we’re heading into a brand new year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Understanding the Family Member’s Experience

Last week I was privileged to attend a conference for family caregivers. The speaker of one particular session was incredible. She told stories about her experience with her own parents, both of whom suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, and how she coped – and laughed – at nearly every turn of events.

The audience howled as she talked about traveling across the globe on a “last trip” her parents requested of her. She shared how her mother would go into the airplane’s miniature toilet, only to be unable to let herself back out – time after time. By the end of the flight, the entire section of the plane cheered along with the speaker each time her mother successfully released the lock and got out of the bathroom.

Then she shared how her mother, long after losing her ability to speak, had a lucid moment right before she died. She clearly said, “I love you too,” in response to the speaker’s proclamation of affection.

As she shared this story, the woman sitting next to me burst into racking sobs. As I passed on the tissues another woman dug out for her, I couldn’t help but wonder what her brought on this woman’s tears.

I wondered if she, too, had been trying “all the wrong approaches” to dealing with a loved one with memory loss.

Perhaps she had been saying, “I love you” to someone in her life – and was still waiting for the responsive, “I love you too.”

It made me realize, though, that what seems like common knowledge to us when we care for our clients may be completely different for family members.

We know, for example, that our memory impaired clients are trying as hard as they can. We don’t urge them to “try harder” or say, “Don’t you remember me telling you this?”

Families struggling with a mom, dad or spouse who was once a source of strength, and perhaps now no longer recognizes them, experience daily life in an entirely different way.

Wouldn’t it be enlightening for us to invite our clients’ family members in to share their stories? Wouldn’t it help our caregivers gain more empathy and understanding, in the process?

As trainers, we need to train for care of the entire client unit, including family members.

We’ll be better prepared to provide genuine person-centered care – for families as well as for clients.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gossip and Marketing Opportunities

If you’re one of the thousands who actually ready my e-newsletters, you may be one of the handful who have wondered where they’d gone in the past several weeks.

Well, let me tell you – we’ve been busy! Here’s just a little of our internal gossip – followed by an exciting and one-of-a-kind marketing opportunity for you.
  • We moved! We had outgrown our old office some time ago, but continued to work two to an office. Not very comfortably, mind you, but sometimes you just do what you have to do. When we found an opportunity to move to a big, new space for just a little more rent (to the other end of the block, across the street), we jumped on it! Since we moved last month, we’ve added three more team members, increasing courses and our client services programs significantly. It’s a testament to the importance of what we’re doing together in training new caregivers that we’re growing, even during an economy that’s got so many businesses in basic survival mode. If you’re ever in the historic downtown Oregon City (the oldest city in the state of Oregon), please stop in!
  • We got federal training grants! aQuire was selected to partner with community colleges in Oregon for a 3 year federal demonstration grant, developing a e-learning plus clinical training model for direct-care worker training that will set a “gold standard” for the nation. We’re very excited to be a part of this program, and look forward to sharing our results along the way.
  • We’ve just launched a major new outreach campaign. In the process, we’re adding new online courses and programs, including several Leadership and Family courses that we believe will significantly help our clients achieve their goals. We also created a User Advisory Group and heard awesome feedback, including, “Subscribing to aQuire is a no-brainer - the outcomes are so great!” My favorite bit of feedback came from a large corporate home care client whose offices have the option to train with aQuire or train in house. She told me, “100% of our most successful offices are using aQuire to help them build strong teams and strong referral networks.” Now that’s success!
  • We’ve just signed on to help create and launch an exciting national family caregiver support website. I have been consulting on this project, based out of NYC, for the past year, watching it grow and become something that will be truly original, innovative and exciting. We’re now in the final stages of development and plan to have an early 2011 launch – watch for it!
This presents a unique marketing opportunity for you – a chance to reach 10 million family caregivers. Perhaps you’d like to become an “expert” on the site, answering caregiver’s questions or offering ideas or suggestions to make their life easier.

Perhaps your company could offer a discount or special price to introduce your services to caregivers.

The more creative you are, the better your message will get heard.

If you want to have some fun, let me know – I’ll help you get set up! Shoot me an email  ( and get involved!