As I sit at my PC, it
is exactly 6 months and 18 days since I began writing this column. I?ve
tallied the topics covered so far, and see that I have written
about caregivers, employers, marketing, program design, legislative
issues, mastering change, dementia, employees, partnerships and a
variety of other hot professional caregiving topics.
It is time to ask you
again to toss out some topics that you have particular interest in.
share the ?power changes? you have created that have impacted
your work the most. Look back over your year and ask yourself what
were the most effective activities you and your team undertook? Why
was it so effective? Is it an idea you would be willing to share?
I?ll start, but I am
depending on you to pick up the ball and share your stories of the
best and brightest activities, projects, or stories of success that
your work team accomplished this year!
I can truly say that
this past year has been very productive, and much of my team?s
energy and focus was in finalizing a workable, user-friendly database
program that does all of the client and referral source tracking
needed in the adult day services I operate.
The project actually
started years ago while I was with a previous employer. I was no
longer satisfied keeping my statistics on client/caregiver
demographics by hand. How many trees have I caused to be cut down
for the hundreds of legal pads I used to use to track client
demographics, marketing contacts, care plans, diagnoses and so many,
many more pieces of information about our clients that helped us be
more aware of trends, whether client specific or market specific?
the process of designing a workable database system in the late 90?s,
more and more components of service delivery proved to be as
trackable and informative as the basic client profile components I
started with. While contemplating the purchase of commercial packages
on the market, my budget constraints demanded a home grown approach
began by sorting out all of the areas of data collection my staff and
I have been doing to keep our fingers on the pulse of the customer.
What are the diagnoses, age, race, funding, income, sex, ZIP codes,
and living arrangements of our client group? What did our caregiver
profile look like? How many worked or lived with their older family
member? How many were long distance caregivers, what were their ages,
sex, race, income, family supports?
also wanted to stay on top of client function, so the scoring we do
semi-annually prior to the ?client care plan? were numbers I
wanted to track for trends. Marketing contacts -- who were they, who
made the most successful referrals? Who needed to learn which
clients could benefit from our service? You get the point.
I developed an overall listing of content areas I wanted in our
database, and then I developed the groupings of information for each
of my reports-demographics, attendance, funding, marketing, etc.
this point I was ready to begin working with a software programmer,
teaching her about the different aspects of data collection and she
developed the software.
software is now available for sale to other adult day providers,
having trial-ballooned it on my staff and four centers for more than
one year. This also meant developing training modules for my staff
and helping them transfer from one system to the next.
most important piece of this process was the momentum we gained and
kept to continue moving ahead. I have found that without the
structure to keep a project alive, we could very easily still be at
stage one with a great concept, and very little to show for it. Every
time we thought we had a complete project, another report was needed,
for this or that, and another component was built. It was a team
effort that has produced an enormous time savings on reporting,
especially when grant writing and the demographics at simply at our
finger tips to provide useful, present tense data needed for fund
raising and PR.
now have a software program that tracks all client demographics,
attendance, billing, transportation, care planning, and a variety of
reports that follow intakes, admits, discharges, referral contacts,
label for all clients, caregivers, physicians and referral sources.
effort, which was developed into a saleable product this past year,
has proved to enhance the work we do, by enhancing our knowledge of
our clients and referral sources, enabling us to see trends and to
develop interventions based on our data review.
don?t see Bill Gates knocking on our door to get his hands on this
software, but even if we sell it to a handful of other centers, we
will have spread our effort out into the larger adult day service
industry ? and have a larger success on our hands.
what this column is about too. Spreading the good information created
by our teams of dedicated staff, so our colleagues and customers
can you share? Let?s hear from you!