Spot Light: Culture Change and Break Rooms

One of the things so many people like about the Culture Change movement is the upside down chain of command structure. Residents call the shots; next the CNAs have this “power”. Nursing homes that are seeking to change their culture often do a lot of window dressing but actually change very little of the management and leadership culture. Fear is the reason for this.

When a facility is looking to really change, actions do speak very loud. Pioneer Network has been working tirelessly to assist nursing homes and assisted living facilities with culture change. Matt over at Setting The Nursing Home On Fire found this gem of an article at the Pioneer site:

Low Cost Practical Strategies to Transform Nursing Facilities

it is a pdf report.

One of the things I noted quickly was the attention to the staff break room. When the staff are respected and trusted, it shows in many ways. Having a retreat style break room is a viable and cheap idea most nursing homes could manage. With the right motivational leadership, the nurses and aides would be more than willing to assist with creating this room.

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Staff Amenities
Overall Goal:
Routinely staff members have been assigned break room space in the basement of a facility that is
furnished with cast offs, has equipment and appliances that often malfunction, and space that is expected to serve the dual purpose for staff who want to socialize as well as those who want a quiet time. Reverse this trend and provide staff with an abundance of spaces including tables in main dining room, a computer station and quiet space for reading or meditation.


Examples of Improvement Strategies:
• Enhance the staff break room. It should have good lighting, comfortable chairs, conversation arrangements, appliances that work, flat surfaces for both eating and writing and a quiet corner

• Provide computer area or computer station for private staff use

• Designate a table and regular day as “give-away or exchange” where children’s clothes, extra produce from gardens, reading material, videos, and other items can be exchanged or given away

• Provide prayer corner or small meditation room designated for staff

• Encourage staff to use lounge or dining spaces to hold baby or wedding showers or other celebratory events. Invite residents to participate along with members of the community

A big bulletin board might be the only resemblance to the “old” break room.

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Wow. Comfortable chairs and seating arrangements that mirror a living room more than a waiting room? Why not? When respected, staff deserve such spaces. Most of the furnishings for such spaces can be purchased cheaply through group purchasing associations, trade group memberships and, the old fashioned way- yard sales and thrift shops.

Another GREAT source of help is the resident families. I am quite sure most would donate a chair or small table; an area rug and some table lamps. The residents themselves could make wall quilts and other artwork. Bookcases and ottomans (YES- so the tired feet of CNA’s have a place to rest UP on);
everyone has a book or two they would be willing to give to the new staff LIBRARY located in the break room (same with DVD’s and the TV/Player to go with it).

Think outside the lead box. A transformation can happen within a week if it is truly wanted. Under the culture change movement every room has significance and front line staff have much more value and respect.

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