By Maria Reyes, RN and Ecumen Awakenings Manager
I had the opportunity recently to speak about Ecumen Awakenings to attendees at the 2013 NNFA/NALA (Nebraska Nursing Facility Association / Nebraska Assisted Living Association) fall convention in Omaha Nebraska. Thanks to everyone who participated. I shared insights on Ecumen Awakenings as it applies to the skilled nursing sector and to the housing sector.
One of the questions I was asked quite a bit after the presentation was: Can Awakenings-type care be done without adding extra staff?
We did add extra staff across 15 nursing homes when we began piloting this project through the performance grant we received from the State of Minnesota. However, based on that work, we learned a number of lessons that helped us with work flow. While the extra support staff were helpful in the beginning, we’re at a stage now where we can deliver the Awakenings initiative without adding people to our regular memory care staffing structure.
What we have found is extremely critical is to have leadership at the site level that keeps momentum going and keeps the team on track. I often refer to caregiving as the ultimate team sport because an initiative such as Awakenings involves such close collaboration. The right team members working closely together, not necessarily the quantity of people, is essential to success.