A view from environmental services
At a recent environmental services staff meeting at the Village of Glendale Crossing, one of the part-time team members posed a question to the group.
“How many times a day do we stop what we’re doing to help somebody else?” they asked.
The answer, quickly given by a few of the full-time team members, is a prime example of the way people are working towards more cross-functionality among the entire Glendale team, says environmental services director Nick Zalitach.
“As many times as it takes,” came the answer.
“With our team, we want to make sure that we tear down the silos so it’s not just that the housekeepers do ‘X’ and PSWs (personal support workers) do ‘Y,’ ” Nick says.
“We really work very diligently to do everything that we can, whether it fits the mould of the traditional housekeeper or not.”
Nick recognizes that nurses or PSWs may not have as much time to spend with residents as they’d like, while his team often does, putting them on the front lines of relationship building.
When they’re straightening up a room, for example, they may be with a resident for 15 or 20 minutes — plenty of time to do their job and share a meaningful conversation with someone.
“It’s an opportunity to make a connection with those residents and . . . to become a part of their lives,” Nick explains.
A good life for residents is based upon a strong foundation of meaningful relationships in the village, and this is a conversation Nick regularly has with his team of 23.
Without those strong relationships, “indifference can set in,” he says.
His team has free reign to think creatively about ways they can contribute to the entire ethos of the Schlegel Villages organization, which is to put living first in a culture where people, not tasks, are at the centre of everyone’s focus.
When the team does a deep clean of a resident’s room, a mint will find its way onto the pillow or a post card will be left with a personal note to the resident. These are small things that take very little time and virtually no cost, yet they’re the added touches that brighten days.
Nick recently challenged his team members to take charge of fall decorations in their neighbourhoods in partnership with residents, and he looks forward to seeing that collaborative spirit at work as the relationships among team members and residents grow stronger.
If you have questions, comments or a story to share, please contact 800-294-0051, ext. 24, or e-mail kristian(at)axiomnews.ca.