Training for Direct Care Staff is Not a Joke…

Think for just a moment about the number of things a direct care worker in a group home manages daily.  These include:

  1. Relationships Between Residents
  2. Food Management
  3. Sanitation Management
  4. Resident Behavior
  5. Medication Administration

Just think of the typical daily routine – as noted above – from the perspective of how important it is for them to be prepared.  This has special significance in homes that serve residents with mental health and developmental limitations resulting in a focus on behavioral modification.

When the population includes the elderly with physical limitations or even the younger disabled, training takes on another dimension.  At that point you add subjects such as:

  1. Rendering Personal Care Safely and With Dignity
  2. Transfer and Ambulation
  3. Avoiding the Appearance of Sexual Impropriety When Rendering Care

You cannot accomplish a consistent, pristene effort if:

  1. Community Mental Health Agencies cannot maintain quality training personnel.
  2. Trainers are not trained to respond the varying ways people learn.  Some of us are more auditory, some more visual.
  3. Classroom experiences are limited to group reading with no real-life scenarios discussed nor case studies reviewed and without the engagement of exciting illustrations and videos
  4. Prices for training make the investment cost prohibitive for most group home operators.

Of course, most training is tied to state published subject requirements.  Michigan is a good example with Rule 330.1806 which specifies:

R 330.1806 Staffing levels and qualifications. Rule 1806. (1) Staffing levels shall be sufficient to implement the individual plans of service and plans of service shall be implemented for individuals residing in the facility. (2) All staff who work independently and staff who function as lead workers with clients shall have successfully completed a course of training which imparts basic concepts required in providing specialized dependent care and which measures staff comprehension and competencies to deliver each client’s individual plan of service as written. Basic training shall address all the following areas: (a) An introduction to community residential services and the role of direct care staff. (b) An introduction to the special needs of clients who have developmental disabilities or have been diagnosed as having a mental illness. Training shall be specific to the needs of clients to be served by the home. (c) Basic interventions for maintaining and caring for a client’s health, for example, personal hygiene, infection control, food preparation, nutrition and special diets, and recognizing signs of illness. (d) Basic first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation. (e) Proper precautions and procedures for administering prescriptive and nonprescription medications. (f) Preventing, preparing for, and responding to, environmental emergencies, for example, power failures, fires, and tornadoes. (g) Protecting and respecting the rights of clients, including providing client orientation with respect to the written policies and procedures of the licensed facility. (h) Non-aversive techniques for the prevention and treatment of challenging behavior of clients.

How do we approach it?

First we use the online school with the courses derived directly from the state publication:  “Providing Residential Services in Community Settings” along with updates to the curriculum the state has approved.  The training is laced with illustrations and videos that bring key points to the fore, grab the student’s attention and reinforce key ideas.

An example follows:

Next is the usage of videos that build anticipation for what is to be learned or that reinforce items taught.  Example follows:

Add to that how we use the school to teach live sessions on a scheduled basis using public educators, social workers with hands-on experience and three, (3) nurses who have classroom and on-line teaching experience and you have a winner.

Better yet, because it is available on a subscription basis (averaging under $500.00 per year for up to 20 employees) the value shines even more.

Direct care staff benefit, the home benefits and the residents benefit.  Log-on here to explore a bit….


Its all about process.  And we seek to refine those we use on a regular basis.


A Blog Post by Direct Care Training & Resource Center, Inc.

For more on our commitment to the success of long-term care in group living environments, join the LinkedIn Group:  Small-Scale Assisted Living Success Strategies.

Photos used are for affect only and do not imply an endorsement by or affiliation with any individual nor entity.  Prices quoted subject to change at any time.


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