Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Staff Work Schedules and Time Records

PALs will easily create staff schedules and allow previous week schedules to be duplicated or advanced by simply changing the begin_on date. This works well when schedules rotate on a regular basis. Now you simply make edits to reflect any changes, such as requested time off. Staff_Schedule

PALs will also post this schedule to a new table to keep tract of the hours that employees actually work. So, again, we edit by exception. When someone does not work the hours they were scheduled, you simply edit to reflect the actual hours worked.

When a pay period ends, you print a report showing actual hours worked. This data may also be exported to Excel. Staff_TimeRecord

Because we have both the work schedule, showing who was expected to be working, and we have the actual hours or who did work, we can print a report to show "Staff Who Missed Shifts" or "Staff Who Worked Extra". These reports will post to staff notes, so that at time of staff review, the data is available.

PALs is constantly improving to make operating an assisted living communty easy, efficient, and profitable. Please download a free trial from www.PALsSoftware.com .

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Assisted Living Manager's Assessment

Maryland's "Assisted Living Manager's Assessment" or "ALM Assessment" has been added to PALs library of assessments.

Because PALs offers a unique User-Defined Assessment component, entering any assessment is a simple process. The process has again been enhanced to include entering your own assessment "choices" and selecting from those choices with just the click of a button. This makes doing assessment quick and easy. You can also elect to duplicate a past assessment, then just update changes.

If your state's assessment is not in our library, we will gladly add it. Assessments can be easily converted to professional care-plans by following our model of: Domain, Focus, Assessment, Approach and Outcome.

For more information go to http://www.palssoftware.com/ and download a free trial of PALs Executive or call toll free: 877-724-7257 for more information.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

PALs Medication Manager Links to Vigilan Software

Another opportunity has come our way!

Vigilan software users can now link to PALs Medication Manager. This way, Vigilan users do not have to re-enter resident data and they can utilize PALs Medication Manager and print MARs and other reports.

To get started, all they need to do is visit our website and download the Medication Manager program and call for an activation code. AND like all our users, they can try it free for 7 days prior to purchasing.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

MAR More Enhancements

PALs Medication Manager has been enhanced to include not only the MAR, Medication Administration Record, but now you can use this same format to enter and document services or monitor meals.

For example, instead of entering Meds, simply enter a service like, AM Cares or Bath or PM Cares, as a med name and create a documentation record like the one shown HERE.

Or enter meals, breakfast - lunch - supper, as a "med" and create a meal monitoring report like the one shown HERE.

Thanks to suggestions from our users, PALs Assisted Living Software just keeps getting better! For more information, visit our website at http://www.palssoftware.com/

Monday, May 5, 2008

MAR - Medication Administration Record - Enhancements

After recently releasing an updated version of our popular MAR for Assisted Living Communities, it came under increased scrutiny resulting in the following enhancements.

ORDER Meds - you can now "order" meds on the MAR so they don't just show in the order they are entered. Meds are separated into two groupings: Scheduled and PRN Meds. Now within each of these grouping, you can determine the order in which meds appear.

REPEAT Med Every ___ Days. This scheduling option was not previously supported. Instead, you could enter either "Odd" or "Even" days. But users quickly pointed out that this is a problem when a month has 31 days, as then two "Odd" days come together. So now when you want to schedule a medication for "Odd" days, you simply start it on an "Odd" day and repeat it every 2 days. This has the added advantage of scheduling every 7 days (weekly), or 30 days (monthly) or every 180 days (6 months).

So PALs Software continues to evolve thanks to our loyal users who provide valuable feedback.

For more information on PALs Software for Assisted Living Communities, please visit our website at: www.PALsSoftware.com

Monday, April 28, 2008

PALs Support for a Service Business

In the April 2008 edition of the Harvard Business Review is an article titled, "The Four Things a Service Business Must Get Right". After reading this article, I thought how does PALs Software support this model? No question, Assisted Living Providers are in the service Business.

The author, Frances X. Frei, says the success or failure of a service business comes down to getting four things right or wrong. 1. The Offering, 2. The Funding Mechanism, 3. The Employee Management System and 4. The Customer Management System. So how does PALs support these four?

1. The Offering - service attributes (caring, competence), and these attributes match up with customers' priorities.

PALs software will enable you to create QI projects to look at resident/family satisfaction with the staff caring and competence as well as assessing what the resident's priorities are.

2. The Funding Mechanism - are customers paying as palatably as possible.

PALs supports both package, all inclusive pricing, and ala carte pricing. And PALs automatically compares services delivered to services agreed to in the resident's admission agreement. Thus, all residents are assured of getting the services they are being paying for.

3. The Employee Management System - what makes employees both reasonable ABLE and MOTIVATED to produce excellence?

PALs will help staff in being able to provide excellence by giving them a list of shift assignments with times that need to be done during their shift. These assignments are created from the aggregation of all resident service agreements. So staff know what is expected of them and when it is expected. How to motivate staff, is in part, supported by PALs calculation of Shift Productivity (see related blog below). By taking into effect Shift Productivity (hours of service time/total shift time) when developing the staff work schedule, all staff are ensured of working equally hard; or having the same ratio of service minutes to hours worked. This eliminates staff morale issues related to some shifts feeling "over-worked".

Another way that PALs might support staff motivation is to develop another QI project looking at resident satisfaction with staff performance. The highest ranked staff would be given special rewards, and the lowest ranked would be given additional coaching (to improve or terminate!).

4. The Customer Management System - what is the customer's job assignment? The author examines the banking and airlines for how they develop roles, or jobs, for their customers.

In the assisted living industry, for competent residents, they can be responsible to "direct" their own care. For non-competent residents, responsible parties need to be involved in directing the resident's cares.

PALs supports residents to direct their own care, by involving them in the assessment process, monitoring and evaluating services provided, and reviewing with a nurse on a regular basis their current care needs and related services. PALs will provide the data - current services provided and minutes or care, computer aided assessments and care plans, plan review dates, and detailed monthly statements showing dates and times and minutes of care. All PALs data can be shared with residents to ensure transparency and integrity.

The author summarizes by asking if all decisions you make in one dimension are supported by those you've made in another.

This is the strength of computer systems in general, and PALs in particular, changes made in one area, automatically cascade down to all related areas. So whether you change a resident's service plan, or employees staffing hours, everything is kept in balance.

For more information on PALs Assisted Living Software, please visit our website at www.PALsSoftware.com

Thursday, March 27, 2008

PALs - The Paper Flow

Although PALs can be setup for electronic entry, most users setup PALs using the paper mode.

In this setup, operationally, only three reports are regularly needed:
1. Shift Assignment Sheet - one report per shift per week or day (depending on the size of the community;
2. SAR - Service Administration Record - one per resident per month; and
3. MAR - Medication Administration Record - one per resident per month.

Shift Assignment Sheet - This report lists all the services from all the residents service agreements, in time order, that need to be performed during the shift. For smaller communities, with few service changes, each shift assignment may be printed for seven days, placed in a sheet protector and re-used and reprinted for the days effected by changes in a resident's service plan. For larger communities, with daily changes in resident services, a shift assignment sheet should be printed for each shift, every day.

SAR - This is a record of services provided and looks like a MAR. One page per resident per month. Using the Shift Assignment Sheet for notes, staff document on the SAR prior to ending their shift. This form may also be used by the nurse to orient staff to the resident's plan of care.

MAR - This record is used to document medications administered or observed. Again, one page per resident per month. This report is usually stored with the medications and staff initial to document medications administered.

Operationally, using PALs in the paper mode, requires very little paper flow.

Please visit our website at http://www.palssoftware.com/ and download a free trial of PALs Executive and experience it for yourself.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Organizational Integrity in Assisted Living Communities

Organization Integrity, simply stated means, doing what you say you will do.

It begins when you develop a service agreement with a resident. In this agreement, you state what services you will provide, personalized for the individual resident, when you will provide them, for how long, and the price. If you "package price" for a group of services, these services should be unbundled and personalized for the resident.

So a bath on Wednesday night at 8pm will be included in the service agreement, along with all the other services a resident will receive and be expected to pay for.

PALs Software will automatically add this service to the "shift assignment sheet" for the pm shift on Wednesday. Before the staff person performing the pm shift leaves work, they will document that they provided the service (or if not, why not) on another form that looks like a MAR but for services.

At the end of the month, all services are automatically billed, along with any ala carte services. If the resident or family question any item billed, an audit trail is available.

PALs - Professional Assisted Living Software will:

1. Print the Service Agreement
2. Automatically include all service agreement tasks on the shift assignment sheet so someone is accountable for providing the service.
3. Print the Service Documentation form to document the provision of service.
4. Automatically create an invoice to bill for services provided, packaged, individual, or ala carte.

All the above promotes "Organizational Integrity" meaning you do what you say you will do, which in turn, builds your organization's "brand".

To download a free trial of PALs go to www.PALsSoftware.com

Friday, March 21, 2008

Staff Scheduling in Assisted Living Communities

How Assisted Living Communities develop staff work schedules, impacts both Staff and Resident Satisfaction and PROFITS. Integral to this discussion, is an understanding of "Shift Productivity".

Shift Productivity is the ratio of Service Hours to Work Hours. For example, if staff work an 8 hours shift, during which time they provide 6 hours of direct resident service, 6/8= 75% shift productivity.

If Shift Productivity was 100%, staff would be exhausted, residents may not get there service on time since one resident taking more time would throw off all the other services. Residents would feel as though staff was not available and therefore not interested in their welfare.

Shift Productivity also effected profits. If it is set too low, say 50% or only providing 4 hours of service for each 8 hour shift, would staff costs would double, and compared to your competition, possible price you out of the market.

PALs suggests pricing services based on 15 minutes of staff time. To figure your staff cost calculate your "fully loaded" hourly rate x 1+(100-shift productivity). So if your hourly rate for an aide is $16 and your shift productivity is 75% then your price per 15 minutes of staff time is, 16/4 x 1+(1.00-.75) = $5.00 per 15 minutes. Add on Overhead and Return-On-Investment (30%) and staffing become a revenue center when you charge (5 x 1.30) or $6.50 per 15 minutes. And all your staff time is paid if you take into consideration Shift Productivity when developing the staff work schedule.

Another advantage of using this Shift Productivity ratio is that it eliminates "Service Creep". If you define service creep as unpaid service, if all your staff time is "paid for", service creep becomes a service opportunity not a problem to be eliminated.

This Shift Productivity ratio also equalizes shifts, so one shift is not seen as providing more service than another. And staff are provided an incentive to report all additional services, otherwise they may be working harder than another shift.

In summary, when scheduling staff and pricing services, you need to factor in Shift Productivity. PALs will do the calculations for you and monitor compliance.

For related information see "7 Steps to Profits" below.

To download a free trial of PALs, just visit our website at http://www.palssoftware.com/

Sunday, March 9, 2008

MAR Form for Assisted Living Communities

PALs offers seven MAR formats,and now we've added an eighth in response to user's request.

In the past week two users requested a MAR that would be used when meds are ordered for specific days; e.g. Mon/Wed/Fri, or Odd or Even days of the Month. We were happy to oblige and the new form is called, MAR_Daily and can be seen clicking here (note order stating Odd or Even days).

PALs, the most feature rich Assisted Living Software, now offers one more feature for its users. For more information on PALs, please visit our website at http://www.palssoftware.com/

Sunday, February 24, 2008

MAR - Medication Administration Record

PALs Assisted Living Software is pleased to offer the Medication Manager. This program sells for only $250.

Enter medications once and print MARs, Physician Orders, and Pharmacy re-order reports. Other reports include Medication Setup (when using a dosage box system), Medication Profiles, and a variety of Medication lists as well as a resident roster.

To download a free trial or for more information please visit our website at: http://www.palssoftware.com/

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Can Software Help to Increase Profits?

Absolutely. But it is how they assist that makes all the difference. As a rule, there are two approaches:

1. Track all services (minutes) provided and bill for it. Revenue side focus.
2. Provide management with the tools they need to manage Profits = Revenue - Costs

Option 1 is doable in most software today by simply adding an "ala carte" or one-time service for billing purposes. The downside of this approach is that is does not control your costs, staff hours, and may result in compromised customer satisfaction. Residents feel that staff/management only see them as dollar signs!

Option 2 focuses on relating service pricing and staffing hours so that all staffing hours are paid for, thus controlling costs, and any increase in revenue goes straight to the bottom line.

PALs will support your efforts in either approach. See "7 Step to Profits" (below), for further discussion of option2.

What PALs offers, and most others don't, is the ability to enter your staff work schedule and compute the "Shift Productivity Ratio" (service hours per shift/staffing hours per shift). By using this Ratio in both pricing and developing staff work schedules, all staffing hours will be paid-for. Since additional services would represent additional revenue, staff are really profit-centers, NOT cost-centers.

With the management tools provided by PALs, incentives are aligned: Staff do not feel overworked, management has no incentive to understaff, and most importantly, residents feel valued as individuals and not as dollar signs.

For more information please visit our website at: www.PALsSoftware.com

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Customer Service

I had a nurse call yesterday to say she was delighted to find that PALs has a Standing Orders feature that eliminates having to enter the same medication into all residents medication list. But...

She wanted to control the number of lines for documenting on the related MAR. So if a standing order was limited to one time daily, only one line would print and if a medication could be given every 2 hours up to six times daily, six lines would print on the MAR.

After a little discussion and clarification, we agreed to make the changes and had an update to her within four hours of the request.

So now PALs has an enhanced feature, thanks to our customer, that is available for you to download from our website at http://www.palssoftware.com/
when you download our PALs Executive program - the Standard in Assisted Living Software.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Lead Manager for Assisted Living Communities

PALs is pleased to offer it's Lead Managers program FREE to Assisted Living Communities that download PALs Executive - Assisted Living software.

PALs Lead Management software offers the following features:

1. Track leads through a user-defined phases (pipeline). 1 Inquiry -> 2 Tour -> 3 Negotiation -> 4 Move-In and report both numbers in the "pipeline" and ratio's of Leads to Tours / Negotiation / Move-In.

2. Add marketing dollars and print report to show cost per lead.

3. Assign each lead to a "Lead Manager" and document each contact and optionally set a "To Do" date for follow up.

4. Each day the Lead Manager reviews their "To Do" list and takes approproate action.

5. Quickly and easily print form letters or send emails or merge to WORD Documents.

6. And when your lead Move's In, data is automatically sent to PALs Assisted Living Software.

7. PALs Lead Manager can be used for contacts other than "Leads" to serve as your general "contact manager".

8. Includes 25+ reports including mailing labels.

Happy New Year - and please download your lead manager from our website at: http://www.palssoftware.com/