The following are key staffing elements to consider in the process of transitioning from sheltered workshops to community based activities. This list is not all encompassing as each agency will vary in their staffing needs, but it should be used as a guideline to ensure that staffing requirements are met.
What is Continuum of Services? The preferred model of service delivery is to format each program in a way where individually, they will act as a continuum of service, with each program offering training activities and experiences that lead to a higher level of independence.
The staff tools that are discussed in this section are designed to help shape a confident, highly productive and dedicated workforce. Staff training tools are important in developing leadership excellence, employee engagement and quality service delivery, which are necessary characteristics of staff that will be working independently in the community.
Merging of Job Descriptions
Review job descriptions to see where tasks can be merged into a uniformed job description in order to ensure that staffing ratio is met and staffing expenses are kept at minimal. This will allow staff the opportunity to understand that there really is no difference between a residential and a day and work staff – one job description with the same roles allows cross training and cross job expectations.
Ensure that job descriptions reflect essential job functions, knowledge and critical skills, physical demands and environmental factors.
Trainings and Certification
The pairing/ratio of staff to individuals served is essential to the success of group dynamics. It is also important in terms of Federal and State compliance. All staff working with individuals who have specific protocols should be trained on those protocols and should hold current certifications at all times.
Agencies should start by reviewing staff qualifications to ensure that “qualified” staff are assigned to groups that require their expertise, i.e. individuals requiring medication administration should have a Medication Certified staff assigned to work with them at all times.
SCIP certified staff should be assigned to work with individuals with physical behaviors.
Since Community outings are essential for non-Sheltered Workshop settings, staff should be trained on how to do proper tie downs of wheelchairs in vehicles.
Staff working with individuals requiring G-Tube administration should hold a G-Tube Administration Certification.
Agencies should check to see if there are any addition Public Passenger Endorsements Certification required by the State in which they operate. For example, the State of Connecticut requires that all individuals transporting public passengers obtain a PPEC with the following Eligibility Requirements. List Requirements
All staff should be trained in CPR.
Must have a valid Connecticut Driver’s License
Must be at least 18 years of age (age 21 if the vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle, a commercial driver’s license (CDL) is necessary.
Must have acceptable driving record.
Must possess good moral character.
Must pass a review of their criminal record.
Must be subject to medical review and meet the physical requirements outlined on the medical examination form as required per 49 CFR 391.41-391.49.
Cross Training and Utilizing Resources
Cross-training agency staff can reduce staffing shortages and staffing expenses.
Agencies should cross-train residential staff to become familiar with Day Habilitation practices and protocols and vise-versa.
Review staffing schedules to ascertain who might be able become supplemental Day Habilitation Staff when there is a staffing need.
Work with Human Resources on flexible/blended schedules to ensure staffing to individuals served ratio is operational at all times.
Professionalism in the Community
Staff should receive an initial and annual training on Professionalism and becoming Familiar with Person centered philosophy, emphasis should be placed on the idea that the basic, core belief of putting people with developmental disabilities FIRST, centers on positive relationships and interactions, and an organizational culture where abuse is not tolerated – in summary, this requires professionalism on the part of staff.
Staff should be made aware that professionalism is required at all times, even when in the community, without supervision.
Dress code should be implemented/established – for instance, no sweat pants, flip flops or revealing attire. Pants should be worn at the waist, without exposing undergarment.
ID cards should be worn at all times while in the community.
Agencies should consider implementing Direct Support Professional Training and certification programs. Many of these are offered through colleges and universities and can be completed via the internet. These trainings will help individuals to gain knowledge and develop professionalism which by extension can result in staff retention.