In a recent case study published by the LeadingAge Center for Aging Services Technologies (CAST), the Blake Management Group talks about how they use the Vigil View Reports software to reduce response times, increase resident, staff and family member satisfaction, improve outcomes and reduce costs.
About Blake Management Group
Blake Management Group, LLC (BMG) is a privately held senior living operator formed in 2007 with the goal of providing outstanding senior living services that are meaningful, compassionate and innovative. We define senior housing excellence by developing upscale communities while simultaneously staffing and operating with the best-trained teams in the country. In every market we serve, it is our distinct objective to be the very best at both team and assets, setting a new tradition in care.
The project was the implementation of the Vigil View Dashboard Reports for our call and resident monitoring systems. The Vigil View Dashboard Reports allow users to view call system data from multiple communities on one cloud-based reporting system. This enables the organization to monitor trends and benchmark across communities. The initial and main goal was to drive high quality care and improve response times.
The Vigil Integrated Care Management System™ is currently installed in 12 Blake Management Group communities. We are using the Vigil Vitality Call System in our assisted living areas which consists of bedside call stations, bathroom pull stations and wireless pendants for residents. In our memory care areas, we utilize the Vigil Memory Care System which uses non-invasive sensors and sophisticated software to alert staff when a resident’s behavior is outside his or her normal or safe pattern. For residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease who are unable to use a traditional call system, this means staff know when they need assistance even if they can’t call for help themselves. The system can alert staff when a resident gets out of bed or spends too long in the bathroom. It can tell us when a resident has left his room and gone into another resident’s room. We are also able to set the system up to alert if a resident is restless, or track incontinence through the use of moisture sensors.
These systems are all connected to the Vigil View Dashboard Reporting software through the cloud. Snapshot reports with key call data are automatically emailed daily to the VP of Wellness and Regional Directors of Operations (RDO’s) for the sites they are responsible for. This group also utilizes the View Reports daily to drill down into the data further as required. Summary corporate snapshot reports are automatically emailed weekly to company leadership.
Every morning each community reviews its 24-hour response time report. These reports are then posted at the time clock and communications boards. Any calls with a response time longer than 6 minutes require an internal quality assurance report be completed. These reports are reviewed at the quality assurance meetings the communities hold. Communities are also aware that summary response times are automatically sent to corporate leadership. Leaders can and will reach out if they have any questions as well as to give accolades for great response times.
The key metric we wanted to monitor was response times. We have a company-wide target of 3 minutes for average response times (Industry average ranges 6-8 minutes). Assessments can be somewhat subjective so we were looking for an objective measurement that would provide tangible data. As a company we have created an open dialog regarding response times and a transparency to ensure that everyone is aware that they are being regularly evaluated. We are also very open with families regarding call response times and like to be able to provide them with accurate tangible data from the Vigil View Reports. We hold quarterly meeting with families that include response time data, and support discussions around what levels of care are appropriate. This has resulted in high levels of resident and family satisfaction and we have even found families can help with coaching individuals that may be calling more frequently.
In addition to response times, we also began looking at call volumes, in conjunction with other data, to determine the acuity of a building and uncover any trends that could be acted upon. The information allows us to highlight communities with lower response times and lower call volumes and then share their best practices and success with other sites. We start by looking at the data and then look to see what that site is doing to achieve these results. The next step is trying to replicate this across other communities so that we are all following the same best practices. Call volumes at the highest performing BMG sites are 1.57 calls per resident per day while other sites average 3.07 calls per resident per day.
Call volume information also helps with staffing level assessments and budget planning, allowing us to keep costs in line with actual need. A Call Frequency report also shows us which times of day have the greatest call volume which allows for better scheduling during busier time periods.
In addition to lower response times and reduced costs, we also promote our use of the technology and the positive data to prospective clients. The Marketing Director has the Vigil software and marketing materials on an iPad and can demonstrate to prospective clients how we use the technology to provide the highest level of care and offer peace of mind to family members. We have seen solid fill up and believe that demonstrating our commitment to using advanced technology and our openness to share our results have contributed to this.
Challenges and Pitfalls to Avoid
One of the challenges we ran into was in comparing data from different system types (call system vs resident monitoring system) and different levels of care. For example, we have buildings with both memory care areas and assisted living areas with different system types which are effectively different businesses, even though they are under the same roof. We would recommend treating them as separate and not trying to make direct comparisons when evaluating different levels of care or drastically different operational models.
Lessons Learned/Advice to Share with Others
One of the biggest lessons we learned was that call system data is one of the most objective measurements in a community. Having access to this easy to understand, readily available data is critical in utilizing it to improve care and outcomes.
We also believe it is crucial to emphasize the importance of response times to front-line staff from top leadership and explaining the why. We try to tie in the objective targets with our values. We explain that one of our core values is “joy” and we recognize that by responding to calls quickly, staff can minimize resident’s and family members’ anxiety, provide peace of mind and ultimately create an environment of joy. It’s important for staff to see the actual benefits, and not just focus on the metric.
We try to instill this in all new staff as soon as they are on board. Setting clear expectations, using objective data for measurement and consistent follow up, is crucial for success and staff buy in.