In small group living programs the primary care is rendered by the direct care staff. These soldiers of the operation maintain the home in a sanitary condition, manage some of the most unpleasant personal care responsibilities for residents and document day-to-day activity. To be effective they need to be trained in regulatory compliance and in key operational procedures. Add to this the special etiquette involved in greeting visitors and in interacting with regulators, families of residents and those referring business.
What about when they perform well by responding to the training, direction, coaching and encouragement we have provided and as a result of their actions we look good? We should celebrate them in key and meaningful ways. First there is sincere commendation and then knowing how they have helped us to solve problems how about adding a payment for their personal cell phones, a gasoline allowance and maybe added responsibility.
When properly supervised small-scale assisted living programs are real winners but the stability of the program rests with the competence of the direct care staff and how well they are treated.
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