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niquee11

Working the Holidays

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I've been working in the recreation field for 8 years and almost a year at my current LTC facility. I am having trouble with the Activity Department with regards to working on Christmas. Apparently, the previous director shut down the entire department on the 25th for years!

 

Out of curiosity, do any other facilities out there have their departments closed?! It's very upsetting since the entire reason of our being in this facility is to promote quality of life for our residents -- most especially on holidays as such! Aren't we required, just as nursing and the dietary department to be there for the residents during these special occassions?!

 

This has to be the first facility I know of that shuts down their entire Activities Department on Christmas.

 

Feedback please!

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Guest Guest_Mary

Hi I have been in long term care for 10 years and I have never worked on the major holidays I have worked in 3 facilitys in N.C. hope this helps

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Guest Guest_KateAA

We have always had a staff person work the holiday. However, we are Union and they have to work every other holiday....BUT we are open in the AM for a Holiday Brunch for residents and families and then give out movies and activities packets for the afternoon. Our problem is that nursing is short most holidays and many residents aren't out of bed. So after the brunch the staff person goes R/R and visits those without families. It's hard to convince staff to work the holiday, but if they had to split the day say AM and evening for 4 hours each that might help.

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The facility that I work in now closes the department for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But every facility prior we were open. It is in the reg's that you must provide activities 5 days a week, weekend and some late night and even activities on the holiday.

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Guest Guest_Karen

The Activity Staff is gone but the care staff is there! I tried to have something going on in activities on Christmas Day!

 

Karen

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Guest Guest_ErinE

At the facility I work in, Activity staff are here every day of the year ! I think it's very important and agree 100% with niquee11 as far as resident Quality of Life. We want to be recognized for all of the hard work we do and how much we enhance quality of life, yet on Holidays all of a sudden we're going to decide NOT to be here for the residents!!?? WOW, there goes our credibility---my humble opinion only. I'm sure many will disagree and certainly have that right to do so.

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Guest Guest

I guess a lot has to do with how many Activity Staff you have. I always worked in Assisted Living and there I was the only Activity Professional on staff. I would have no quality of life if I work every holiday, but when you have more then on staff member you should definitely trade holidays off.

 

I think activities should be running everyday and evening but some facilities do not provide enough staff!

 

Karen

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Guest Guest

I have been an Activity Director for eleven years and I have never had a holiday off !! That is because This Is Why We Got In this business to start with right ? To make people's lives more enjoyable , to make them smile and laugh , and YES most of all to increase their Quality of Life !! If my facility told me I had to shut the Activity Dept. down for the Holidays I would have to Report them myself to someone they would not want to talk to , HA !! Naw, but really come on !! An Actvity Professional should be there for the Residents and even set an example to the other staff about how important it is to make the Residents Quality of Life Rise to its fullest capability !! BartMan Bart.Baxley@tmh.org

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Guest Guest
I guess a lot has to do with how many Activity Staff you have. I always worked in Assisted Living and there I was the only Activity Professional on staff. I would have no quality of life if I work every holiday, but when you have more then on staff member you should definitely trade holidays off.

 

I think activities should be running everyday and evening but some facilities do not provide enough staff!

 

Karen

I used to work in Assisted Living too and I know what you mean. The new F-tags state that the Activity Staff are NOT the only ones responsible for providing quality of life but is now a multi-disciplinary responsibility. As some others suggested, you can provide low key activities they can do independently or one to one with your care staff.

 

I am glad to see that most facilities are trying to maintain the importance of our department! It does make a difference knowing that you're making someone's life meaningful -- for how ever more years/months/days they have left to live!

 

Thank you to all who responded...

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Guest paulakayswe

Our facility has activities 7 days a week. Our staff work a half day on holidays. We usually schedule one of their favorite activities for that day. My staff alternate holidays to keep everything fair.

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Guest Guest

I guess I am just really dedicated to my profession and the Residents where I work. I am the Act. Director and the only Act. Professional in my building and I work all holidays at least for 1/2 Day......... Good Luck to all and Happy Holidays !!

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Guest Guest

I am fortunate to have a large staff in a continuing care community.. so what I do is let my staff sign up to work 4 hour shifts on the holidays, that way they can work around family time... Activities are scheduled in the skilled facility, the assisted living and the dementia unit... from 8am to 8pm 7 days a week in our community

However, as I said I have 21 staff members

3 act assistants 6 full time, and 12 part - time and per diem..

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Guest Guest

I work in a large CCRC- 600 residents in our system- 10 activity staff and they rotate the holidays with 2 working each holiday. I made this easy on everyone by writing a policy which covers vacation/holidays/weekends for my department and since the policy was put into place it has been clear sailing. Staff grumbled at first but now that they are use to it I never hear a complaint from them.

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Guest Guest_niquee11
I work in a large CCRC- 600 residents in our system- 10 activity staff and they rotate the holidays with 2 working each holiday. I made this easy on everyone by writing a policy which covers vacation/holidays/weekends for my department and since the policy was put into place it has been clear sailing. Staff grumbled at first but now that they are use to it I never hear a complaint from them.

Might I ask what type of policy you have set up?

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Guest Guest
I work in a large CCRC- 600 residents in our system- 10 activity staff and they rotate the holidays with 2 working each holiday. I made this easy on everyone by writing a policy which covers vacation/holidays/weekends for my department and since the policy was put into place it has been clear sailing. Staff grumbled at first but now that they are use to it I never hear a complaint from them.

What type of facility do you work in? Kudos to you!

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Guest Guest_wonytineres

I left the message above referencing the policy we set up to cover holidays/weekends/evenings and vacation requests. I work in a large CCRC; we have independent condos, apartments, a 56 bed assisted living, 14 bed dementia care unit and 114 bed SNF. I would be glad to email a copy of my policy to anyone interested; if you want to email me requesting it my email is wonytineres@hotmail.com.

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We make sure that every resident has a package to open on Christmas morning. They are gathered around the Christmas tree with the C N A's and open their gifts. We have a worship service in the afternoon led by our chaplain. As activity staff we give our all, all year long, working extra hours, for no extra pay, delighting in the smiles we see on the resident's faces. But, working in this profession for as long as I have, I feel that life is too short and I also need to be making memories with my family. The resident's understand. Have nice holiday

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Guest Tinki

I to think that Activity Directors to balance work and home! It is to easy to burn out, I think it is unrealistic to try to spend every day, every holiday at work, even if work feels like home.

 

Yeah, I know that the residents become your family but, we do have families at home that would like to spend the holidays with us! I have a three year old son and it would not be fair for me to spend all my holidays with the residents and not at home with him!

 

I think "soduspoint" got it right - the residents understand that you need to spend some of the holidays with your family!

 

 

Again - take some time for yourself or you may expereince "burn out". And I am not talking just about AD's, any job that takes over your life can lead to burn out! Balance is the key!

 

 

Just some thoughts!

 

Karen

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Guest Guest_ErinE

I agree that there is certainly the strong (if not inevitable) possibility of burn-out in this field. But I still believe that as activity professionals it is very important that we are there for the residents. I see a lot of posts saying the CNA's are here---they can help the residents open their gifts etc. What about nursing, dietary, housekeeping, maintenance, laundry---and any other department that is responsible for being in the facility 365 days a year? What if they had the attitude that they weren't going to come in on a Holiday and that some other department (pick one) can do their job that day because they are going to spend it with their family? I agree that it shouldn't fall on one person all the time and turns can be taken as to who works what Holiday to keep it fair and everyone does need to find a healthy balance. I also feel very strongly that if we want the respect and credibility that we as activity professionals say isn't there for what we do---then we need to be here and do our jobs! Again, my opinion only.

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Guest Guest

Erin E , I totally agree with you , it is plain and simple. This is our job and we knew this going into this field of work. If an activity professional thinks that they should be home with their family on a holiday and NEGLECT the profession and the Residents then maybe they should look for a change in job careers , and again just my opinion also......................................... BB

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Guest Tinki

It is really interesting how different the points of view are on this topic.

 

I do have to say that I absolutely disagree that if you spend time with your family on the holidays that means that you are neglecting the profession or even the residents. I totally believe someone should be doing activities and spending time with the residents on a holiday, does it have to be the AD's job, it is important that all the staff show their dedication to the residents.

 

I dont think there is a right or wrong answer to this topic. It is more about what works for your residents and your facility.

 

Teaching all these years, has shown me that every facility works differently. What works for one might not work for another!

 

 

My question is do your fellow department heads, come in every holiday?

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Guest Guest

I'm not sure what the question of "Do your fellow Department Heads come in every Holiday?" has to do with this. I gather from at least the majority of the posts that it is the front line staff that are scheduled to come in no matter what department it is. I would say that as a DH this is a perk of finally not having to work Holidays/week-ends for the most part. I know there are a lot of DH's that do work Holidays/week-ends.

 

In the facility I work at, Department Heads are scheduled every w/e and a few of us (myself included) also work Holidays and then take a different day off. But, I have activity staff scheduled 365 days/year and they take their turns at what Holiday they work. This is an expectation coming into the Activity Deapartment at this facility.

 

There are many different views to this, some obviously feel strongly that it is the Activity Department's responsibility to be in the facility 365 days/year and at other facilities various departments are willing to step in and help out. Yes, it is whatever works for your facility/staffing and how the AD want's to run the department.

 

Happy Holidays to everyone.

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Ours is an 80 bed facility; right now, SNF about 50-55; ACU 16. ACU does their own activities. I have 40 hours and 20 hours for my assistant. Regardless of what the day is, if we work the evening, we have to cut it out somewhere else. I scheduled myself to work and give a Christmas Eve service. Scheduled word searches, set out on table with note for staff, as well as to turn on the movie in the p.m., which they did. Kitchen staff puts out coffee tray in a.m. for early risers. Some Residents can't stand to not see me every day; others tell me I should be home with my family; so some of them would actually be disappointed in me for coming in so often - an hour and a half here or there, in addition to 5 full days. Again, overtime is a no-no; but so is working off the clock. Volunteers? Even the local RSVP has told us they no longer see volunteers who will sign up on a regular basis-it's now "call me when you need me and I'll see if I want to do it". Yes, I agree with the one who said nursing staff is usually short holidays and weekends and you won't see all the regulars up and out. We plan lots of big things the week prior to a major holiday; we encourage family to visit or take loved ones LOA if possible; we really did see a lot of families in this weekend; of course, I was out of state on Christmas day, but did come in at midnight Christmas eve to deliver small presents to each room (off the clock).Used to be I would just be doing that at home; now I hurry up at home to get out there. I honestly can't justify not being there 24/7, but I am slowly learning I can't do everything for everyone all the time. And believe it or not, it's the residents teaching me that. No, dept heads don't show up for major holidays, though I am there for most except Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter.

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This has been the first year our Activity Staff has had to work Holidays. Basically the staff is here that day to help with meal time ( feed people). The first Holiday we worked we had 1 person who was able to decide wether to attend the activity or not show up. On the second we had 2 people show up. There were others in the room but they would have been content with just putting a movie that deals with the holiday on the televison. I am not having people work Christmas ( double time) just to help feed.

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