AZCAL Needs a Few Guinea Pigs

Hand completing a multiple choice exam.

Many of you know our aspirations for making it easier for facilities to get residents. It’s one of the biggest issues facilities have in the Assisted Living industry. Right now, we are working on a way to allow our members to update their bed availability for the public.

What we need are a few willing providers to be our guinea pigs. We have outlined a few different methods on how we can make this work, but we need test subjects.

For the rest of this week, we will be looking for five (5) providers who have at least one facility to be our test subjects. Here’s how it works:

-In order to be considered for this opportunity, you must be an active member of AZCAL. We are considering current members as well as new sign ups. You can join via the membership page.

-You must submit your facility’s name, address, phone number, and website (if applicable), as well as the best person to contact for information, via the contact us page.

-In your request to be a part of the test group, please explain what your biggest issue is when trying to get new residents and filling your beds. What problems do you encounter? What has been your most successful method?

We will be accepting requests through December 6, 2015. Next week, we will contact those facilities/individuals who have been selected to participate. We will be selecting the participants at random. Once you become a part of this, you will work directly with a member of the AZCAL technical team to create a facility profile.

In return for being a test subject, when the placements/referral/provider part of the AZCAL site goes live, you will receive one year free placement in the database. We have not fully completed our market research to determine what the cost will be, but you won’t have to pay it for the first year.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us and good luck!

Photo Courtesy of Alberto G.‘s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

AZCAL Extends a Special Thank You!!

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This weekend, a family was in a very dire situation and a group of caring people volunteered their time and abilities to help them through the situation.

Without sharing too much detail into the specifics, the husband of a couple that lived alone had an episode and disappeared from the home. His wife had been stranded on the floor for an extended period of time. After a concerned neighbor contacted police, the situation was immediately addressed. The couple is now safe and taken care of.

Now is a good time for us to extend a virtual high five and big thank you to all of the people out there volunteering their time and energy to help others in need. Without the loving support of people that care, a lot of people in harm’s way would never find their way into a safe situation. Many times, these volunteers get nothing in return other than a smile and the feeling that somebody is better off today than they were yesterday. Most times, this is enough for these kindhearted people.

AZCAL members were brought into the situation because they had their ears and hearts open. Fortunately, the people brought in to help had the networking necessary to take care of the situation quickly and efficiently. While thanking all those who helped this weekend and those who help on a daily basis, we just want to extend our sympathies for those who are dealing with great pain on a daily basis. It can get better, and we will continue striving to make it so.

AZCAL could not have been successful in addressing the issue without the help of Kopp’s Construction & Renovation for rehabilitating the home and Integrity Hospice for the care they provided. Thank you for all the hard work and for lighting the way a little each and every day!

What Does an Assisted Living Manager in Arizona Struggle With the Most?

Office Worker with Mountain of Paperwork

In the last week, with our formal relaunch, we have had some technical difficulties (site was down due to traffic one morning) and some practical ones (too many emails and contact requests). For the most part things went well, but it got us thinking: What are the things an Assisted Living manager will struggle with the most in Arizona?

AZCAL was developed by a couple of people who are Assisted Living managers, as well as owners of their own Assisted Living facilities. On top of that, much of AZCAL’s membership over the years has been composed of managers and owners. We think we have a solid grasp on what issues managers face. Below are the five we think are most common, in no particular order. If you think of some that you’d like for us to highlight, share and comment on Facebook, respond via Twitter, or you can even submit a comment to us via the contact form on the AZCAL website if you want to be kept anonymous.

Problem #1: Finding great caregivers to do the work at the pay rate you can afford to pay (and the pay rate for managers).

Many times, an Assisted Living manager can’t do all of the work themselves. Maybe they have to attend meetings outside of the facility. Maybe they manage more than one facility. Maybe they need to get some rest. In most instances, managers and caregivers work more hours and more days than your average 8-5 office job. Many don’t even get a day off if the facility is also their personal home.

Problem #2: Lack of (or poor) communication with other service providers for residents.

How many times have you, as an Assisted Living manager, had to deal with a lack of information or documentation from a Home Health or Hospice agency? From a regulatory standpoint, you need certain kinds of documentation if Home Health or Hospice come to your facility, but you may not always get it. That can be a problem for you and your resident(s). It’s rarely malicious; people are busy. However, trying to track the information down can sometimes be a hassle.

Problem #3: Training.

Assisted Living facilities can do a wide range of physical health services. We all know that. What we also know is that basic caregiver training, and manager training does not (and cannot) include every possible health services that an Assisted Living facility can provide. This is when additional training specific to your own residents comes into play. How often have you or your caregivers been taught “informally” by a Home Health or Hospice nurse? How about “formally” trained? The problem with learning new skills in the field is that we rarely have time to steal away from our primary duties to attend outside training.

Problem #4: Administration.

Raise your hand if you are an Assisted Living manager now, but came from a human resources or personnel administration background. I bet a lot of you did not raise your hand. Now, think of all the training you had leading up to your job as a manager in an Assisted Living facility. How much of it was geared toward the minutia of paperwork, documentation, and filing? Not much, right? Well, according to your licensing body, you have to keep quite a bit of documentation. You also have to keep even more that licensing doesn’t care about just to run a small business. Unless you have experience or formal training in the administration aspect, you may be playing catch up forever.

Problem #5: Referrals.

Without having all your beds filled, it’s hard to keep the revenue coming in. Without steady, maximized revenue, all businesses suffer. As we all know, finding residents is difficult. One of the things that has been shared with us this week is how much it costs to either use a referral company or to market your facility to the outside world. We’ve also heard stories of how little time owners and managers have to actually make referral contacts. A few people have actually asked us if we have an resources to share that could make filling beds easier. In the coming few weeks, we will be sharing our plan for making that easier in Arizona over the coming 12-18 months. It will be a big undertaking, but as our membership grows, we will have the funds and support necessary to accomplish it. Stay tuned for information on the referral front.

Conclusion:

Assisted Living managers have a big job ahead of them. Many work in situations where they act as caregiver, human resources, chief executive officer, and even advertising. This is indicative of most small business, not just in Arizona, but throughout Arizona and the world. One of AZCAL’s biggest goals is to share the information people in the industry need to make the job less complicated and difficult.

So, we may have just relaunched and we may be just formalizing our membership; but as we grow and strengthen, we will be able to help more and more facilities become the best possible facilities. That’s the goal anyway.

If you have more, or just want to share some stories, Facebook, Twitter, and the contact form are there for you. As always, please share us with your friends!

Image courtesy of Kathleen Zarubin‘s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

Join the AZCAL Relaunch on Monday, November 9, 2015

For those of you who know who AZCAL is, this is something you’ve probably known about for a while. For those who don’t let me introduce you to the Arizona Coalition for Assisted Living (AZCAL).

AZCAL has been around for quite a few years. Mostly, it has been a volunteer operation meant to keep the largest group of assisted living providers in the know about things that are happening in the industry. In those first years, there have been many calls to make AZCAL a stronger presence. Assisted Living Homes (facilities that provide services to 10 or fewer individuals) make up the large majority of assisted living facilities in Arizona with a rough count of 1700 statewide. For comparison, there are a little more than 250 assisted living centers in the state (centers treat 11 or more residents).

Although many of the centers treat upward of 100 residents or more and many times offer individual or shared resident apartments, not everyone can afford this level of facility. Many people need services and are more likely to live in an assisted living home, which is commonly found in residential neighborhoods.

AZCAL does not discriminate against any assisted living facility; however, AZCAL does understand that assisted living homes have fewer resources and much less capital than the centers. This is why AZCAL exists. AZCAL is here to allow the owners of these assisted living homes to organize and make their voices heard. We keep a list of networked service providers that can help each other succeed. On top of that, AZCAL members are able to reach out to each other for help when otherwise, help would seem impossible to get.

Fortunately, AZCAL has leveraged its position within the industry to impact how assisted living homes are viewed and treated. This is why we are relaunching Monday, November 9, 2015. We have brought on more volunteer manpower for the purpose of strengthening AZCAL. AZCAL will beginning offering memberships to owners, residents, families, and anyone else interested in joining the cause to aid assisted living homes in becoming the best providers they can be.

So, come to our website at AZCAL.org and see what we are about. When you see our basics and become a member of the association, you will have access to much more, including the ability to communicate directly with assisted living providers statewide.

Just in case, feel free to get in contact with us: