Eleven Front-Line Staff Members from all Four Senior Communities Participated; Six-Month Course Designed to Empower Them and Transform Resident Interactions and Care
WEST ORANGE, N.J., June 20, 2016 – Twice a month for six months, 11 frontline employees of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation of Metropolitan New Jersey (JCHC), came together to experience LITE—Leadership in Training Experience.
The hands-on course, designed to develop their leadership skills and empower them to make more positive decisions in the workplace, was designed by Laurie Loughney, COO of the JCHC, with implementation assistance by Emma Reading, director of human resources.
Over the course of the six months, the staff members—representing nursing, facilities, security, activities, dining, and administration departments of the non-profit organization—learned skills that will empower them to create, in Loughney’s words, “a transformational model of care in our senior living communities.”
“With their completion of the LITE program, these employees, who have direct contact with residents, will take ownership in mentoring their co-workers, have a voice in problem solving, and develop creative ways to fulfill our mission of providing quality care for our seniors,” said Loughney. Given the success of this pilot program, Loughney said the course will be offered again in the fall.
The graduates, who work at the JCHC’s senior living communities in West Orange, South Orange and Whippany, were celebrated with an elegant candlelight luncheon on May 24 at the Lester Senior Housing Community in Whippany; regional directors, site managers and administrators, trustees, and CEO Harold Colton-Max were also in attendance.
The extensive curriculum included modules on:
- Ethics and how ethical issues affect the long-term care environment.
- Values and the importance of having a personal mission statement.
- Cultural diversity.
- The aging process, physical changes, and recognizing potential problems.
- How to improve communication skills with residents, their families, and co-workers.
- Assisted living and long term care goals.
- Complementary pain management and other modalities.
- Dementia care and its various components.
- How to develop stronger trust and collaboration, building teamwork, and decision-making.
After each training session, participants practiced the skills and lessons on the job, and shared the information gained with their managers and co-workers.
At the graduation ceremony, Colton-Max spoke of the JCHC’s commitment to developing its employees; Loughney referred to them as “Chief Empowerment Officers” armed with new skills and insights into their work. Each person was given a certificate of completion and will receive special pins to wear on their name badges to identify them as LITE graduates and staff leaders, who now serve on a new employee advisory committee. Three graduates who work at the Lester Senior Housing Community also shared remarks with the attendees as follows:
- Yakima Williams, a personal care assistant and certified medication aide, talked about how the program has changed her attitude towards work, and that she is using some of the new skills in her personal life as well.
- Jay Gaskin, a security guard, explained that he chose the song, “I am the Greatest” during training because of its lyrics about commitment, hard work, and taking personal responsibility.
- McKenzie Walsh, concierge service coordinator, gave an inspiring talk about the group’s mission statement, "Unity is Strength," about the importance of working together toward common goals.
“The program covered a broad range of issues that will have a powerful, positive impact not only on these staff members but on our residents’ lives as well,” noted Loughney. “We are so very proud of our first LITE class and are looking ahead to empowering more employees to create an environment of care, trust and respect in all our communities.”