Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center
Consistent Staffing Comes to the CLC
At VA’s Community Living Centers (CLCs), Veterans receive nursing home levels of care, including help with activities such as bathing and getting dressed, and skilled nursing and medical care. The mission of the CLC program is to restore each Veteran to his or her highest level of well-being.
Wilkes-Barre’s 105-bed CLC offers area Veterans short and long-term care services and specialty services including hospice, palliative care, dementia care, rehabilitation services and transitional care. In 2016, the CLC implemented a new way to improve the health care outcomes of Veterans in the center, and to retain the center’s dedicated staff.
Called Consistent Staffing, the program involves consistently assigning the same caregivers to the same shifts and neighborhoods every day, fostering trust-based relationships. Trust-based relationships improve communication between residents and staff, and allows care givers to quickly recognize any developing care issues with the Veteran.
Studies have shown consistent staffing programs also reduce caregiver absence and help generate a team environment.
To implement the program at Wilkes-Barre, each floor of the CLC was divided into neighborhoods, and staff members helped develop a schedule allowing for consistent assignments within each neighborhood, and within each shift. While all CLC residents benefit from the new program, those living on the dementia unit are especially helped, according to the CLC’s resident council.
Having the same staff work with dementia patents on a daily basis results in stronger communications, more consistent interactions between staff and residents, and a better understanding of the individual personalities of each resident. This allows for more effective interventions that reduce behavioral incidents, and improves patient outcomes.
Consistent staffing not only improves the Veteran experience on the CLC, it also improves staff morale. As a best practice, it’s a win-win!