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Section 25
CMaking Time for Alzheimer's & Low-Functioning...
by Using Contact Folders and Contact Notebooks

Table of Contents | NCCAP/NCTRC CE Booklet

Have you ever walked away from your scheduled "all-important" meeting with your Administrator, Director of Nursing, or Dietary Supervisor, only to realize that there is at least one thing, if not two or three things, that you forgot to discuss?  Rescheduling a meeting not only wastes your time, but the other staff members' time as well.  Here are some tools to always present yourself in a professional, businesslike manner in those meetings, and come away from the meeting knowing that all of the important items have been covered.

Culture Change by its very nature requires more interfacing with other departments.  As a review you will be meeting with other staff regarding the following five basic Culture Changes adaptations found in CMS Surveyor Guidelines.
     1. Activities can occur at any time, and are not limited to formal activities being provided only by activities staff, and can include activities provided by other facility staff, volunteers, visitors, residents, and family members.    
     2. All relevant departments should collaborate to develop and implement an individualized activities program for each resident.
     3. If not contraindicated, timing the administration of medications, to the extent possible, to avoid interfering with the resident’s ability to participate in or to remain at a scheduled activity.
     4. Transporting residents who need assistance to and from activities (including indoor, outdoor, and outings).
     5. Altering a therapy or a bath/shower schedule to make it possible for a resident to attend a desired activity that occurs at the same time as the therapy session or bath.

In short, getting CNA’s involved in activities, as well as requesting schedule changes to optimize resident participation in activities, all require meetings with other departments and staff.  Here’s how to save some time.

Contact Folders
•   Create individual “Contact Folders” for the handful of people you talk to most regularly.  By "Contact Folders" I merely mean a series of folders for people with whom you have frequent contact.  For example you may have a folder with the names of each of the other department heads, staff, volunteers, etc.—into which you drop slips of paper, note cards, or post-it notes with ideas to discuss with that person. Then, at a convenient time, say to the dietitian, for example, “Mary, there are a few things I’d like to go over with you.” Then you go into the folder with her name on it where you have stored up a collection of notes. After your meeting, perhaps you have asked another Department Head to change a resident’s medication, shower, or therapy schedule, so be sure to drop a reminder note to yourself about this requested task into the folder with that person's name on it.
    Your Contact Folders, with people's names on them, should be especially accessible; either stand them up in a vertical file holder on your desk or, if privacy is an issue, put them at the front of your desk file drawer. You can use colored folders to distinguish your Contact Folders from other file folders in the drawer.  Or group them together using green suspended folder holders.

List below the names of contacts you have both in and out of the facility for whom you might make a Contact Folder with their name on it.





•   Contact Section of Your Things To-Do Notebook:  Don't like the Contact Folder idea?  An alternative system to having separate Contact Folders would be to head notebook pages with the names of those same key people.  Write down ideas to discuss under their names as they occur to you. Then schedule a meeting and go over your list.  By using a notebook, you have your list in hand.  By using Contact Folders, you have several scraps of paper, index cards, or post-its that will need to be transferred to a list for your meeting. 

List below the names of contacts you have both in and out of the facility to add to a "Contact Section" of your Things To Do Notebook. 



Each system has its advantages and disadvantages. Even though the Contact Folder system does not provide you with a list, it does provide you with a catch-all for papers.  I suggest using a combination of the two, collecting papers related to that person in a folder, and transferring them to a notebook list to take into your meeting.  Of course, obviously, you could also make an Excel or Word document.  But oftentimes, by the time I locate the document on my computer and wait for it to boot up, I have either been distracted, or have forgotten what it is I wanted to enter.  As mentioned earlier, you may find, like I, that it is much easier just to keep a spiral-bound Things To-Do notebook on your desk, which can be grabbed in seconds.

•   Never say "I forgot to bring this up" again! Using the Contact Folder and/or Notebook system(s) so you see how you have created automatic meeting agendas for staff, volunteers, etc. with whom you meet regularly. For example, you could drop slips of paper with ideas to be discussed at Monday’s Care Plan Conference into a folder headed “Care Plan Conference,” and add to it as things come up. By Monday you’ll have collected an instant agenda for the Care Plan Conference when it is your turn to contribute.

To get started right now, and perhaps to move you past a potential procrastination block in the future, write a sample agenda for a future meeting with a staff member or volunteer listed above. Brainstorm a bit and list the following that occur to you off the top of your head that you might discuss in that meeting: 
            1. Key information you need to provide to this other person
            2. Questions you need to ask the other person
            3. Topics that need to be discussed
Consider the Culture Change areas of medication, shower, and therapy schedules and CNA involvement in providing residents with activities, as well as transporting.

Meeting Agenda with:







Culture Change Implementation: Place Shape Sorting in labeled Activity Project Bag left in resident’s room for CNA, volunteer, etc. use.

If you are not feeling highly motivated to implement any of the preceding ideas, think again!.  The Implementation of Culture Change requires cooperation from other departments.  You are requesting schedule changes, transporting, and doing activities.  In order to make these requests and provide training for other staff, the more professional and organized you present yourself, the more likely the other department heads, therapists, CNAs, etc. are to treat you with respect and take your Culture Change requests seriously.  Agree?  So I suggest you strongly consider rereading the preceding section more than once.  Sift through it to find the ideas you need to implement.

Forward to Section 26
Back to Section 24
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