Hiring and training a highly qualified, patient-centered staff is one of the most important priorities of any successful group home. Maintaining high standards in this area ensures patients and their families are at ease with the level of personal care provided. A direct service provider (DSP) who serves patients in residential settings must have passed a thorough background check, completed orientation training, and continue to participate in yearly trainings to ensure they are equipped with all necessary skills to meet evolving patient needs. Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) maintains legal standards for small group homes (classified as 6 or fewer patients), with the specific requirements that all group homes must have a designated supervisor, and staff present and awake at all times. In addition, DSPs are expected by their employers to become experts in their unique patients’ needs – meeting and conducting a resident assessment before move-in to establish a plan with family and following up based on patient feedback or changing medical needs.
As recently as February of 2018, Carli Friedman of The Council on Quality and Leadership released conclusive findings that “DSP continuity is central to quality of life of people, including human security, community, relationships, choice, and goals,” underscoring the importance for patients of having a consistent, knowledgeable staff around them for the long term. We now know this focus on hiring great people and giving them the tools to care for their patients is paying off – as Heartfelt Care can proudly say that since our founding in 2013, we have not had any employees facing discipline or terminated due to their performance in caring for our patients. While National Institute of Health research indicates that in the United States, small group homes are likely to struggle with “high rates of turnover” of DSPs across the country, here at Heartfelt Care we are honored to stand out as an example of patient-centered success because of the efforts of our caring DSPs.