Submitted By: Jodi Snider, Owner, Constant Companion, LLC
Constant Companion, LLC created the Longevity Action Plan to promote an open and honest work environment for direct support professionals (DSPs). Annual reviews are done with DSPs in our organization; however, we work very closely as a small organization. Our review consists of twelve qualities developed by supervisors that we feel are important to our organization such as client relations, productivity, taking, initiative – just to name a few. There is an employee and supervisor comments section as well as employee and employer suggestions for growth sections.
Communication is constant and is key as we rely heavily on our DSP feedback for the success of our organization. We provide trainings from the state in which we live on multiple facets of our provided services, including but not limited to:
- Preventing, Recognizing, and Reporting Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation
- Rights of Participants Receiving Services
- Notification of Incident Process Standards for Home and Community-Based Services
- Background Check Requirements
- Provider Qualifications, Standards, and Training
- Individualized Plan of Care
- Complaints, CAPs, and Adverse Actions
- Provider Recordkeeping, Data Collection, and Documentation Standards
- Participant Costs, Funds, and Personal Property
- Participant Transitions
- Behavior Supports and Restraint Standards
We use these trainings, which are available through Wyoming’s Department of Health website. We include our DSPs in leadership and leadership decisions as part of our participant-specific trainings which includes information vital to their plans of care. We also make sure they are involved with requested team changes, as far as suggestions on implementation. We recognize and reward our DSPs both at formal reviews and informally, just because we appreciate them. This may include a raise, a bonus, an impromptu day off, lunch, or going home early with a thank you for being part of our team.
The Impact Of The Longevity Action Plan
We have very open lines of communication and are closely involved with our DSPs – constantly speaking with them. Our open-door policy has really helped with morale between the employee and employer. If our DSPs have suggestions or issues they come to supervisors, and vice versa. Communication is key, as we rely heavily on our DSP feedback for improving the lives of people supported.
We have not had an issue with retention based on our program thus far. We strive to keep pay competitive and offer several bonuses throughout the year, as we feel appreciation needs to be shown for the longevity and happiness of our DSPs.
Steps To Implement A Similar Program
Our system is fairly simple. It’s based on the reviews of DSPs and the employer, who both come up with goals and plans to encourage growth for the benefit of people supported. We have come up with an ‘employee and employer system’ that directly compares the DSP self-evaluation with the employer’s review on performance, as well as a review from people receiving services. We feel that employee involvement is important to the success of not only our organization, but most importantly, of the people supported.
Here are steps that Constant Companion, LLC has taken in establishing and maintaining its Longevity Action Plan initiative:
- Complete DSP satisfaction interview and review findings. This is accomplished through our annual review, as well as through formal or informal staff meetings, and program trainings via the State trainings or other trainings as deemed necessary by team meetings, etc.
- Review of qualities of performance by both DSP and employer.
- Review of qualities of program and structure and efficacy of services.
- Define goals based on both the DSP and the employer’s feedback, for DSP and employer/program growth suggestions.
- Implement any changes via goal or training feedback.
- Conduct review of information at minimum of annually and implement compensation involving evaluation findings.
We always meet with our DSPs before any meetings with people receiving services, for any suggestions or concerns that need to be brought forth. After meetings, we always ask for feedback on changes necessary from team meetings, or necessary changes from trainings. Once implemented, we ask for ongoing feedback from DSPs to ensure we are providing the best services possible.
Challenges You May Encounter
One of the challenges you may face could be your organization’s size. We are a very small organization, so our system may not work for more structured organizations. Another challenge may be ‘chain of command’ – meaning some organizations or supervisors may have less involvement with DSPs in general. To prevent or confront those challenges, I believe that the system of both parties reviewing and essentially ‘grading’ their performance is important because a baseline can be established.
About Constant Companion, LLC
We are a very small organization in a small town in Wyoming started by mother and daughter with five employees including management staff. We offer Community Living Services, Adult Day Services, and Companion Services.
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