Setting the Right Benchmarks for Your Home
While most of us try to do our best every day, as human beings we are also subject to periodic “slippage.” For example, has anyone else out there made a commitment to lose weight and exercise more…but have let that one slip away? I don’t think I am alone on that one!
One of the best ways to successfully achieve your goals is to set realistic performance benchmarks (what you want to achieve), and then monitor your behavior as you move towards the goal (or benchmark). Another way of thinking about it is “What gets measured gets done!” That is one of the reasons some weight reduction programs work so well – you set a target weight (goal), and you attend a “weigh-in” to measure and demonstrate how you are doing.
As recreationists, setting performance goals or benchmarks for our residents, and even our programs in general, works the same way. When we set specific goals for resident engagement, and monitor our progress, it leads to greater success – and no residents get left behind (or fall through the cracks).
Resident performance benchmarks are usually based on two types of measures – the number of engagements (quantity measures) and the level of success of the engagement (quality measures).
A typical quantity measure is the number of times a resident has attended programs over a specific period of time. For example, a home might establish a benchmark of 10 contacts per month for every resident in the home, and strive to reach that goal. In some environments where RAI-MDS measures are in place, the number of contacts over a 7 day period, and based on the time of day, might be another measure of the quantity of resident participation.
Measures of the quality of resident engagement is even more helpful when it comes to demonstrating the value of our recreation programs at both the individual and home-wide levels. By observing and scoring how well the resident has done in the program, based on predetermined expected outcomes, it provides a valuable measure of success. When you establish a benchmark “success” score (a score you are trying to help every resident achieve), it encourages you and your staff to look for program modifications, or alternate programs, when a resident’s score fall belows your success benchmark.
For example, in ActivityPro, where the highest score representing success is a “3” and the lowest level is a “1,” the recommended success benchmark is an average score of 2.33 or higher. So regardless of the resident’s ability, as recreationists we try to “meet the resident where they are” modifying our programs so that they realize as much success as possible.
Another quality measure is based on residents attending programs from diverse domains. We know that as human beings, we all have needs in all the domains (which doesn’t mean we will always engage equally in all domains!). As recreationists we can establish a quality benchmark based on the number of different domains the resident is participating in. For example, where we use the 5 domains in ActivityPro (physical, intellectual, emotional, social and spiritual), setting a benchmark of 3 domains (i.e. you are striving to provide every resident with engagement in at least three of the five domains) is another measure of the quality of the resident’s experience.
The process for establishing and measuring resident engagement benchmarks in ActivityPro is through the Resident at Risk (RAR) report. You simply create the benchmark levels, select the timeframe and mark it as the Dashboard Featured report. We recommend “Use Last days (counting today)” and set the time period for 30 days. In this way, the RAR report will always be showing the quantity and quality of engagement over the last month, thereby helping the recreation staff stay on top of resident engagement, and ensuring that no one is left behind.
Benchmarking and measuring the quantity and quality of resident engagement represents a heightened level of professionalism in recreation – something we need to constantly demonstrate to validate the value of our efforts.