Grants prove valuable: using culture change to improve finances

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Jill Gilbert
Jill Gilbert
This month we continue our discussion with Jill Allin, director of sales and marketing for Village Shalom in Overland Park, KS. Its nursing home component has won several awards for promoting culture change and providing resident-centered care.

New twists with financing

Creative financing of programs and projects has helped focus the care on residents. One annual grant that the facility has received for the past three years has helped establish a now-flourishing volunteer program, funding a part-time volunteer recruitment position. At any given time, there are up to 15 volunteers throughout the building. Volunteers come both from the community at large and from within the continuing care retirement community. In fact, one longtime library volunteer recently became a resident along with her husband.

Another example of creative financing involves the expansion of the therapy department. It already contains a gym and by Allin's account “is great, but we've outgrown it.” With a donor pledging to meet the facility 50-50 on costs, Village Shalom hopes to double the space later this year.

Staff incentives pay off

Thanks to another fund established in 2000 by a major benefactor, management provides “a meaningful monetary reward” to the employee of the year, who receives a $5,000 cash award. The rookie of the year receives $1,000. A second award program, established by the children of a former resident, is given twice a year to “outstanding front line staff members” who are nominated by their peers; recipients receive $750.

But not all recognition requires a big payout. Take, for example, the facility's “Wow card” program: All managers have a reserve of gift certificates to hand out to employees when they witness commendable action. Acknowledging staff members' daily actions goes a long way toward establishing a community where caregivers are valued. And that translates into quality care.

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Jill Gilbert is president and CEO of GilbertGuide.com, a national directory of long-term care facilities and services.
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