Modern long-term care facilities require staff to collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as doctors, nurses, therapists and social workers. Collaboration is the only way to ensure high-quality care that meets both federal and state standards.
It takes effort and time to create a team culture in a long-term care facility. Facility staff must develop a shared purpose. They should also feel responsible and accountable for resident care.
What is teamwork?
Long-term care leaders who are competent know how to put people in the right positions. This allows employees to thrive and use their strengths rather than trying to do tasks that are unfamiliar to them. Understanding each member’s personality and their work methods is the first step to team building.
Identifying the right roles for team members
While some may be more comfortable in one-on-1 care with residents, others might do well organizing tasks. Others may be more creative and have the ability to contribute innovative ideas. Leaders need to evaluate each member of the team to determine their strengths and weaknesses in order to delegate the appropriate tasks.
Example #1 – Staff members may have communication skills. Leadership should assign staff members who are more skilled in communication to encourage residents to take a shower if they find it difficult to cooperate. If this works, the leader should choose the staff members who have had success encouraging troubled residents to shower over other members of the team. This will increase efficiency and allow the facility to provide high-quality care to residents.
Example 2: Some staff members might be naturally-born leaders who can bring others together in order to achieve a specific organizational goal. This individual can be asked to lead group meetings by a long-term care leader who is aware of their abilities. It will allow them to shine and give them greater job satisfaction.
Leaders must be aware of conflicting personality traits. Sometimes two employees, who may be great individually but also with their team, simply cannot work together. It is best to reschedule shifts in such situations so that team members don’t work together or are working in different departments.
Leaders can be more flexible and understand the needs of their team to avoid losing one or two of their competent employees. They also build camaraderie among the team and increase appreciation and value within the group.
How important is it to build a culture of teamwork in healthcare facilities
Long term care staff who are not committed to building a team culture will be frustrated. This can lead to frustration and poor communication between members of the team. To improve the lives of residents, decrease medical errors and increase employee satisfaction, a facility must create a strong team culture. This helps to reduce staff burnout, improve staff retention, and is especially important during times of staffing crises.
This is supported by research. Studies show that a evolution in healthcare standards has occurred alongside growing expectations from patients for better care. Modern healthcare providers are now in a position to focus on patient-centered care through effective teamwork and a shared cultural of values and principles.
A positive team culture in nursing homes has many advantages
Building a culture of teamwork reduces frustration among staff, medical errors, as well as adverse resident outcomes.
- Reduce Staff Turnover: Employees who work in a positive work environment have a greater sense of satisfaction and are less likely leave their jobs. Leaders who are positive and supportive will create a work environment where staff can be trained and supported to deliver excellent patient care. Leadership that invests in their staff’s professional growth and empowers them in the highest standards of work will help them find opportunities in other departments and teams, and become the next generation leaders.
- Empowering staff Leadership that values employee well-being is often able to create a culture where employees are acknowledged and appreciated for their diverse opinions and contributions. Staff are empowered to voice their concerns and know that they will be supported no matter what. This creates a positive work environment where staff can thrive.
- Enhancing Resilience Long-term care staff are often faced with challenging situations. These include dealing with residents who are difficult or their families, complex illnesses, and managing understaffing. Strong team cultures encourage teams to draw support from each other, allowing them to be resilient in dealing with unexpected or difficult situations. This allows them to bounce back from difficult situations and learn from their mistakes.
- Enhancing Technology Training : As more long-term care facilities adopt new long-term care software, the industry is rapidly changing. To maximize the potential of their nursing home software, facilities need to adapt and offer long-term care EMR software training. They will feel more comfortable using the nursing home EMR once they are familiar with it. This is especially true if they see how much their workflow has improved.
If you are interested in learning more about our long-term care software and how it could improve your workflow efficiency, please contact us .
For long-term care facilities, team building strategies
Leadership must not only support and empower employees but also set an example by eliminating bad apples and encouraging a sense of belonging. These sentiments can be achieved through team building activities. They can be as simple and straightforward as rewarding employees for their hard work, giving them prizes, celebrating important occasions and offering opportunities for career advancement. These are some great team building ideas that leaders can implement in their workplaces.
- The Rising Star Program
Staff members are recognized for their hard work and dedication by the Rising Star program every week.
The process: A board will be placed at the entrance of the facility or in a common area in independent living communities. The board is made available to residents’ family members, friends, and relatives. The board allows them to pin or stick notes acknowledging the work of particular nurses or staff members. The staff at the nursing home collect the messages posted to the board after the week is over.
Each note can be viewed as an opportunity to vote for the staff member you most appreciate. The rising star of the week is the staff member with the most votes. The staff member is given a reward. Rising Star rewards don’t have to be costly, but they show appreciation and can often be a gift card to their local Walmart or Target.
A $50 gift card is a great way to motivate staff and encourage them to give better care. Long-term care facilities can also share the achievements of their staff on social media.
The benefits: Rising Star encourages staff members to get to know residents better and improves the quality of care. Staff will feel more inclined to highlight little things such as taking residents for a walk or dusting. Staff encourage residents to write notes on the board about what they like and why.
This program encourages healthy competition between all staff members and builds a positive team culture. Every staff member is treated equally. They all have equal opportunities to be the week’s rising star.
How it Works:Because no leadership was involved in the process there is no doubt about its validity. A rising star is someone who has earned respect from residents and their families. They are recognized by the leadership team for their outstanding work and receive the reward.
- Open-Door Policy
Managers often refer to an open-door policy as a system where staff can visit their offices at any time to discuss any concerns. This approach must be modified for long-term care. Leaders who spend too much time in their office don’t have meaningful relationships with staff. Instead, these leaders are seen as distant and unreachable.
The process: Leaders in long-term care need to be more accessible and willing to help with non-clinical tasks. This will make it easier for nurses and CNAs to handle more work. While administrative tasks are primary responsibility of leaders; however, residents can be motivated by creating a team culture in which everyone contributes when they can.
The benefits: Being visible on the floor makes leaders more approachable and more involved in the culture of the floor. It also makes it easier to give feedback and suggest ways to improve the culture.
Staff feel appreciated when they are able to openly work with them and listen to their ideas. This fosters a stronger relationship between the leader and the staff. Administrators can also address any situation in which a staff member isn’t following facility protocol immediately.
Being approachable doesn’t mean being friendly. Before making any changes, a leader must consider the well-being and safety of the residents before they accept feedback.
How it Works:When leaders work alongside staff members on the floor, it shows they are part of the team and care for residents. It is easier to recruit staff members when leaders are able to explain the responsibilities to them better, because they have the experience to do it.
A leader can quickly spot an incompetent worker and help to reduce the impact on staff morale. The leader can then talk to the employee, establish expectations and ensure that they perform at the same level as the rest.
Leaders should fire employees who are stubborn or resistant to change if they feel the need. This will help to strengthen the team culture and reinforce the value of teamwork.
- Updating Floor Staff After Meetings
Nursing home leaders should not only embrace an open-door policy but also keep their floor staff informed. This allows for better efficiency and direction, while also giving the floor staff a greater sense of belonging.
The process: Administrators should include the nurse supervisor when they meet with department heads to have a stand-up. She will relay any important information about floor staff during shift changes to the other members of the team.
The benefit:The team is kept up to date on any new concerns, changes in conditions, or sudden plans by communicating the pertinent elements of stand-up meetings during shift change meetings. Clear and transparent communication between the leadership and floor staff helps to facilitate coordination, allowing caregivers to work together towards a common goal. This also helps to reduce frustration as floor staff are given the chance to share their grievances or offer input.
How it Works: This arrangement allows leaders to plan independently and CNAs to be involved at a second stage. As all roles are clearly defined, this fosters equality and ensures that no one is left behind. This is crucial to providing exceptional care in such a busy and elaborately-coordinated industry like long term care.
Mentors are experienced staff members who are a natural leader. Mentors are often charismatic, charming, and assertive and take less experienced staff members under their wing to teach them the ropes of the facility.
It is crucial to find a mentor who shares the same work ethic as the facility when appointing them. One person may be liked by others but not be able to complete tasks. Before recommending employees as mentors, leaders should carefully evaluate their performance.
The process: Leaders should look for people with natural leadership skills and provide opportunities for them to mentor other staff members. Senior nurses should be encouraged to counsel nurses who are seeking certifications in order to progress in their careers.
The benefits:Mentorship can be beneficial for facilities that have recently hired CNAs and need to teach them the ropes. Mentorship is a great way for nurses to learn from others who have been there and can help them make their own decisions.
How it Works:Role Models are effective because they inspire and make the dream seem possible. CNAs and nurses can feel overwhelmed at work, particularly if there are no opportunities for advancement. Mentors can help them break the cycle of negativity, and redirect their focus to a more positive outlook.
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- Casual Friday
Setting aside a day where workers can wear casual clothes to work is one way to improve the workplace’s pace. This makes Fridays more enjoyable and lighter and helps to improve the overall mood.
The Process: Administrators can declare that employees can wear whatever clothes they want on Fridays.
The benefits: Allowing staff at nursing homes to dress casually increases morale and gives them a feeling of freedom.
How it Works:As staff prepares for the weekend and the week winds down on Friday, a casual day can be a great way to make work feel less like work. A casual Friday can be a great way to encourage enthusiasm and motivation in your team.
If an administrator has a casual Friday policy in place, employees should still wear their badges and keep their scrubs close at hand in case of emergency.
- Holiday Events
Together, nursing home teams share joys and challenges. They are, in a sense, a family. It is normal to share the most important moments of the year with them, just like a family.
The process: Activities follow the theme or aesthetics associated with a holiday. A simple contest for decorating pumpkins can be held during Halloween. The winners receive a bag of chocolates.
The benefits: Holidays are a wonderful way to connect people and foster relationships. Nursing homes have many opportunities to involve their residents in in-house events, such as Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter, and other holidays. This helps foster closer relationships between members of the nursing home team. Leaders of nursing homes who are able to take advantage holidays will have happier, motivated, and harder-working staff.
How it Works: Everyone enjoys a little break from work every once in awhile. Staff members can also share something valuable with staff by having emotional attachments to important holidays. These events can help shift perceptions about the workplace and the people who work there. They can also be viewed as close friends or relatives.
Handing out prizes and making employees feel valued are two of the best ways to build a team.
Administrators may offer incentives to increase motivation. Examples of prizes include chocolates, candies, and cupcakes. These will still be appealing to the majority. Raffles that include prizes such as televisions or holiday bonuses can be a great way to generate excitement in your workplace.
The Process: Both raffles and prizes can be handed out at holiday events in order to increase the effectiveness of the prior strategy. To avoid hurt feelings, leaders should ensure that each member of the team receives something for important holidays such as Christmas.
The benefits: No matter how small the prize, raffle prizes can make the team feel valued. You can make your day more enjoyable by creating a sense of excitement or light competition.
Why it works: Team members love to receive something for free and feel like winners, as long as the prizes are appropriate.