John F. Kennedy once said, “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” Are your facility’s leaders, whether new or seasoned, receiving ongoing training to best perform their duties and lead their team?

A recent study on why healthcare workers quit their job, lists working conditions in the top 5 catalysts for leaving. One of the keys to improving working conditions, which include management processes, proper supplies/equipment and effective personnel, is providing staff with the knowledge and tools necessary to effectively perform their duties, and addressing concerns as they arise.

Proactive is launching a new 12-month series for department heads starting next week. The training will address the essential functions, quality care considerations and department-specific management essentials for department heads with sessions specific for Administrators, DONs, Housekeeping, Social Services, Activities, Dietary, Maintenance and Therapy.

Department-specific considerations for your leadership team:

Infection Control – Every department plays a role in infection control practices. During the 2022 calendar year, Infection Control deficiencies (F441, F880, F881, F882, F883) were cited over 7,000 times during Standard, Complaint and Infection Control surveys. F884 and F880 were the top 2 cited.

Survey Preparedness – Each department head should understand their role in survey preparedness. This may include:

      • Routinely updating the survey entrance binder data
      • Using and understanding the CMS Critical Pathways
      • Preparing the staff in their department for survey
      • Having knowledge of the regulations and survey process

Role in Meetings – Each department head is assigned a variety of meeting/committees that they participate in. The key word being ‘participate’; this is more than, just showing up. They should have a good understanding of the purpose/expectations of the meeting and the role they play in it.

IDT Systems Integration – The departments should work collaboratively, with a common purpose/goal, sharing resources and responsibilities.

MDS Supportive Documentation – The departments that participate in RAI process should have a good understanding of how their documentation within the MDS and residents’ medical record:

      • Impact reimbursement
      • Regulatory compliance
      • QM & QRP triggers

Care Planning

During the 2022 calendar year, Comprehensive Resident Centered Care Plan deficiencies (F655 – F661) were cited over 7,000 times during Standard, Complaint and Infection Control surveys. F656, F657 & F658 were in the top 25 deficiencies cited, ranking 7th, 12th and 23rd respectively.

Departments that participate in RAI process should have a good understanding of care plan development, revision and implementation. This may include:

      • Person-Centered Care
      • Communicating updates/revisions
      • Attending meetings, ongoing revisions

Employee Satisfaction – staff satisfaction, morale and attitude start with the department head and filters down to those they supervise. Your leaders need to be equipped with the knowledge and tools to effectively manage their department while promoting employee satisfaction.

Customer Service – every employee serves as a representative of the facility and plays a role in customer service. Studies have shown that 68% of consumers that have a bad experience would react by posting about it on a social media. Leaders should understand key factors in promoting great customer service, such as knowing clients and anticipating needs, promptly responding to requests and concerns, practicing effective listening, and taking action to resolve mistakes.

Join us beginning January 24, 2023 for Mission Possible: SNF Department Head Briefing and access essential lessons for department heads that will drive facility operational success.


Deficiency Data: Source – QCOR




Written By: Angie Hamer RN, RAC-CT


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