Alexandria, VA (PressExposure) June 01, 2009 -- This year's award winners push resident-centered care and operational excellence to new heights.
If the winning entries for best practices in this year's ALFA Best of the Best Awards program are any indication, a bad economy can be a good thing for innovation. While not every winning entry was born out of financial necessity, one of the takeaways from this year's competition is that tight budgets certainly need not stifle creativity. Some of the best ideas were notably straightforward and affordable, not to mention duplicable.
"This year, there were a lot of submissions focused on human relations, such as training initiatives or going the extra mile to ensure employee support for the direction the company wanted to take," says Richard G rimes, ALFA's president and CEO. "But all of these entries speak well of the great desire by so many great companies to be heralded by their own people as an employer of choice."
Certain takeaway themes tended to recur among this year's 20 winning entries, including:
Progress happens to individuals, not groups. While group exercise classes respond to the needs of certain populations, some of the winning best practices go a step further to focus on individualized assistance--so that a fitness course mimics specific physical challenges that residents face when out in public.
Successful programs take the time to listen to employees and ensure their buy-in. In many winning entries, companies clearly recognized that companies need to earn employees' appreciation, as much as the other way around.
Putting seniors' needs ahead of marketing self-interest is the best reputation builder of all. Witness the building of positive reputations by such indirect means as educating seniors about non-assisted-living issues on the local TV news show, or designating a community-level "personal preferences coordinator" to help residents meet individual goals.
Big benefits can come from small, affordable changes. Many en-tries found new ways to save money while expanding their effectiveness through e-learning initiatives. Even something as straightforward as a company cookbook can have positive and unplanned potential. Here are this year's ALFA 2009 Best of the Best Award winners--20 in all.
Category: Resident Services
Winner: Benchmark Assisted Living Wellesley, MA Arthritis Foundation Partnership
Winner: BPM Senior Living Portland, OR Personal Preferences Program
Winner: Brookdale Senior Living Milwaukee, WI Clare Bridge Dining Program
Winner: Benchmark Assisted Living Wellesley, MA Sensory Dining and Bistro Dining programs
Winner: Country Meadows Retirement Communities Hershey, PA Fitness Walking Trail
Winner: Brookdale Senior Living Milwaukee, WI Celebrations Program
Winner: The Greens at Cannondale Wilton, CT Intergenerational Connections
Winner: The Orchards at Bartley Assisted Living Jackson, NJ Monthly Town
Winner: Brightview Senior Living Baltimore, MD Human Resources Risk Management
Winner: Brookdale Senior Living Milwaukee, WI "The Dollars & Sense Talk Show"
Winner: Hoffman SummerWood Community West Hartford, CT Waitstaff "Star" Incentive ProgramWinner: Signature Senior Living Irving, TX Ambassador Partner Program
Winner: Sunrise Senior Living McLean, VA Gestures of Appreciation
Category: Sales & Marketing
Winner: Emeritus Senior Living Seattle, WA Branding Campaign
Winner: Five Star Senior Living Newton, MA Five Star Senior Living Signature Recipes Cookbook
Winner: Maristone Senior Living Nashville, TN "On Modern Age"
Category: Operations & Technology
Winner: Castle Country Assisted Living Castle Rock, CO Strategic Planning Process
Winner: Country Meadows Retirement Communities Hershey, PA Distance learning/computer training
Winner: Pathway Senior Living Des Plaines, IL Pathway University
Winner: Sunrise Senior Living McLean, VA Sunrise University: Integrated Learning System