Every community has some way of monitoring where their operations stand compared to what their expectations are. Many communities will conduct mock surveys, or use Quality Assurance Performance and Improvement (QAPI) activities to identify areas that need to be improved within their facility. Both practices require the facility to approach their community with fresh eyes and look for items that do not comply with current regulations, or identify ineffective processes that cause excess problems. As senior living communities focus on patient-centered care, it is imperative that each community maximizes the amount of time and personal attention given to each resident.
So where should senior living communities focus their efforts in order to improve the care given to each resident?
11 Benefits of Performing an Operational Assessment
An operational assessment can help your organization save valuable time and resources by providing strategic assessment, revision, and monitoring of your current systems. In order for communities to effectively focus on their residents and adapt a patient-centered care model, it's important to gain a clear understanding of what's working when it comes to operations. The following is a list of benefits that may be achieved from performing an operational assessment:
1. Gain a fresh perspective on regulatory compliance.
Often, communities become so used to performing a task in a particular way that they no longer can process doing it any other way. During an operational assessment, consultants will review observed processes as they compare to the industry standard, often finding improvements in efficiency and cost while making sure that each process meets regulatory compliance.
2. Make sure you're adhering to program best practices.
During an operational assessment, consultants will review the programs that the facility has established and will make sure they are followed, both through procedure and documentation.
3. Implement cost-saving strategies.
Many times, communities can save money and time, in the long run, by updating equipment or implementing other cost-saving strategies.
4. Establish training programs that are effective and ongoing.
Consultants will review training programs implemented for staff and ensure that the training is effective and executed appropriately. One of the biggest problem areas for communities is implementing consistent training programs.
5. Gain the expertise of an unbiased opinion.
An unbiased consultant, professional in the field who is not familiar with the community, will approach the operational assessment in a different manner than an employee that is conducting a mock survey. Consultants are not familiar with "why" behind the reason you established certain programs within your community, but they will bring their own experiences to the community, and most often a better more effective way of conducting your programs.
6. Develop staffing strategies that work.
Consultants are trained to look at staffing patterns and help the community make decisions on changes that may be needed. There are times when a senior living community may be understaffed or overstaffed, based on position and job duty expectations. No community is exactly like another; use an operational assessment to evaluate your employees work loads.
7. Gain a unique perspective in all specialized areas of operations.
Consultants are specialized in different fields and are able to conduct a thorough assessment of all processes within your community.
8. See how you stack up against the local competition.
Use an operational assessment to see how your community compares to the local competition, as well as how your community stacks up in comparison to the industry standard. Every community is in competition to fill their beds. What advantage have you established over your competition?
9. Elect to focus only on areas of operations that are high priority for you.
Operational assessments can be adjusted to meet your needs. You can request a full operational assessment to evaluate the entire community, or you can request an assessment that focuses on your specific areas of concern.
10. Elect to focus only on under performing areas of operations.
While we all want to think of ourselves as knowledgeable in all aspects of our business, there are certain areas where we have more knowledge than others. Use an operational assessment to identify areas that are not operating as well as you think.
11. Implement employee training or staff development activities.
Instead of letting go of a long-tenured manager, use an operational assessment to identify areas of weakness so that a plan can be drafted to improve or help your manager overcome his or her weaknesses. LW Consulting, Inc. offers training programs for nursing staff, as well as mentoring programs for management working in housekeeping and laundry, or dining services.
Consequences of Forgoing and Operational Assessment
Now that we've discussed the benefits, let's talk about the consequences of not conducting an operational assessment. Ideally, every senior living community should be following the regulations and is never out of compliance; however, it is likely that some communities may be operating outside of compliance without being aware of it. Some of the negative impacts of not completing an operational assessment include:
- Operating outside of regulatory compliance which could cause harm, deficiencies, and fines.
- Using programs that have become outdated and are not as efficient as more modern established programs.
- Adhering to training systems that may not be as developed as they could be.
- Completing inspections that are no longer needed, wasting valuable time that could go towards resident care.
- Using outdated equipment that unnecessarily wastes time and consumes a large percentage of your budget.
Ready to reap the benefits of an operational assessment? Contact LW Consulting, Inc. today to see how we can tailor an operational assessment to your specific needs.