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 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

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

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