Staff & Life Enrichment – 4 Ideas to bear in mind

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Staff & Life Enrichment – 4 Ideas to bear in mind

Posted on March 22, 2010

Retirement communities that receive federal funds must comply with federal legislation that calls for a high quality of care. Though all states must comply, at a minimum, with the federal regulations, some states have adopted tougher laws.

Congress enacted legislation in 1987 to require retirement communities participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs to comply with certain requirements for quality of care. This law is included in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA 1987). It specifies that a community must provide services and activities to attain or maintain the highest practicable physical, mental, and psychosocial well-being of each resident in accordance with a written plan of care…

Under the regulations, the community must:

  • Promote each resident’s quality of life. (42 CFR §483.15)
  • Maintain dignity and respect of each resident. (42 CFR §483.15)
  • Ensure that the resident has the right to choose activities, schedules, and health care. (42 CFR §483.40)

New federal laws are asking all staff members to be involved in activities.
The new CMS interpretive guidelines require that all facility staff take responsibility for delivering person-appropriate activities to the residents – not just members of the activity department.
This means that other staff members will have the obligation to provide residents with more than clerical, medical and/or health attention.

Administrators of communities will have to ask assistance from someone to manage this change and comply with this new regulation
That person will be the activity director.

To ensure a smooth transition, activity directors will want to select programs that help to deal with high staff turnover and require little time to jump start and monitor. In selecting these, here are important ideas to bear in mind:

  • Easy programs

At first, programs need to be easy to manage for people that have no or little experience in activities. Examples are: trivia, puzzles or “who am I?”. These work great as materials to support them are easily accessible and the delivery of the activity is quite simple

  • Low training cost

Programs in which other staff will be involved will have to be as inexpensive as possible due to the low budgets and high staff turnover. Luckily enough, there are great resources out there such as Activity Connection. These resources are made to be shared across the community by the staff and are very easy to figure out

  • Quick learning curve

In addition to being inexpensive, activities executed by other staff members will have to be quick to learn as most activity directors already have heavy agendas.

  • Opportunity for personalized and meaningful activities

In addition to the previous requirements, programs will need to embrace the current needs of culture change: residents’ life story, passions and tastes serve as the basis for meaningful and personalized experience to enrich their lives.