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More & Better Alzheimer’s Caregivers

Each Care Haven home operates with an unusually high ratio of Alzheimer’s caregivers to residents. Why is that important?

Here’s our take

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Do you expect Dad to shave and brush his teeth every day? How long should Mom wait for a glass of water? Will Aunt Joan remember how to use a call button for help to the bathroom — and can she reach it after she falls when no one responds after 45 minutes?

Responding to emergencies, addressing potential danger and performing routine duties take precedence in any memory care facility. In a larger unit, these tasks often consume all the staff’s time. At Care Haven, high staffing levels enable us to preserve residents’ comfort and dignity. We give caregivers enough time to scrub someone’s nails, straighten her room, get her a glass of water and see that she keeps her baking “date.”

Who oversees our Alzheimer’s caregivers?

  1. The Director of Operations & Marketing hires our medication and nurse aides. She also supervises our Training & Operations Coordinator, who oversees onboarding and retention.
  2. The Director of Nursing and her staff direct aides as they carry out tasks related to health or hygiene, give medications or perform clinical duties.
  3. Our Operations Manager dedicates her time to keeping every shift fully staffed and supervises aides as they perform household duties unrelated to residents’ health care.
Operations Manager

Jeannine Hays

KS Adult Care Home Operator, Certified Dementia Practitioner
Certified Medication Aide, Certified Nurse Aide

Jeannine Hays has been working with local seniors since 1979. In 2000, she joined Brookdale’s The Sweet Life to help open its new dementia care facility in Shawnee, KS. During her nine years there, Jeannine played a wide range of roles – from leading residents’ daily activities, to coordinating the staffing of nearly 50 employees, to serving as executive director.

Jeannine joined Care Haven’s management team in 2010. She staffs our residences and supervises all caregivers as they perform their household duties. Jeannine also makes certain each home is stocked with the necessary supplies (including our residents' favorite treats). As a Certified Medication Aide, she even backs up our caregivers when needed.

Jeannine joined the Care Haven management team because she’s able – even expected – to take the time to get to know each of our residents and their families. Having spent so many years working, talking, laughing and crying with people who live with dementia, Jeannine is a powerful advocate for each senior’s right to live with dignity, in comfort and safety.

Training & Operations Coordinator

Shelby Brown

Shelby Brown earned an undergraduate degree from Kansas State University and a graduate degree from the University of South Carolina. She spent ten years in sports medicine as a Certified Athletic Trainer for College Athletes. After her mother was diagnosed with dementia, Shelby changed her career path and became a CNA in order to become a better family caregiver.

Shelby joined the Care Haven team in 2015, and became our day shift's primary New Employee Trainer in 2017. When we created a full-time position to oversee new-hire onboarding and caregiver retention, she was the obvious pick for the job.

Shelby oversees the training of all new caregivers, mentoring them through their first year. She welcomes new aides and shows them the ropes from their first days on the job in our homes. In addition to training, Shelby assists families on Move-In Day and plays a critical role in property maintenance and management.

In addition, one caregiver in most Care Haven homes is designated as the House Manager. They work with the senior management team to oversee personal care services to residents as well as coordinate the home’s day-to-day operations.

You probably have more questions about our caregivers. Below are the questions we’re asked most often – click to see the drop-downs with our answers. If you’d like more information, please feel free to call or email us.

What do you mean when you use the term “caregiver?”

Professionals caring for our residents & homes

All our caregivers are either Certified Medication Aides (CMAs) or Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) licensed by the State of Kansas.

The aides working in your loved one’s home help with what healthcare professionals call Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. Put differently, they assist residents with daily self-care, including showering, grooming, dressing, toileting and moving safely about.

CMAs also administer prescribed medications according to residents’ care plans and state regulations.

Yet our caregivers are more than healthcare workers. At Care Haven, they’re “Home MAKERS” — in other words, they play a critical role in creating the warm, comforting environment essential to our families. They produce fresh scents, delicious meals and well-kept surroundings. Then they work hard to keep the setting safe and comfortable, not scary or perplexing.

Formally, our caregivers’ duties include

  • Interacting with each resident
  • Encouraging individual and group activities
  • Preparing meals according to menu plans
  • Keeping homes clean, orderly, organized and safe
  • Maintaining positive relationships with visiting family members

What training do your caregivers receive?

Licensed as aides, then trained as Alzheimer’s caregivers

Each Care Haven caregiver has completed the required course and clinical work required to be licensed by the State of Kansas as a

  • Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) to help residents with their health and hygiene needs under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), or
  • Certified Medication Aide (CMA) to perform clinical and administrative duties and to dispense medication as prescribed by a physician.

Our Training & Operations Coordinator oversees onboarding, seeing that all new aides are trained to meet Care Haven’s high standards of care.

We provide ongoing professional development to all staff as well. Our managers, nurses and aides also participate in training programs for Alzheimer’s caregivers offered by the Alzheimer’s Association and other experts in the field.

How many nurse aides are on a home's caregiving team?

Around eight familiar faces

Typically caregivers work 12-hour shifts and are assigned primarily to one home. Residents are surrounded by familiar faces, providing the consistency important in dementia care. Furthermore, our caregivers have the opportunity to build close relationships with you, your loved one and each other.

Do caregivers live in the homes?

Working in our home, living in theirs

While caregivers are valued members of our Care Haven family, they return to their families after their shifts.

How long have your caregivers been with Care Haven Homes?

Record industry shortages

While labor shortages have plagued the healthcare industry during past decades, the recent pandemic amplified them. Seasoned professionals left the healthcare field in record numbers, while at the same time, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the demand for 2.6 million new jobs (a 16% increase) through 2030. According to a prominent national nurse recruiting and retention firm, all healthcare jobs recorded a rise in annual turnover in 2021. At 35.5%, CNA is one of two jobs that “outpace all other measured positions when it comes to turnover.”

Recruiting in such an environment is challenging. Fortunately, once hired, Care Haven caregivers remain with us longer than the industry average, especially if they stay past their first anniversary.

Why our nurse aides stay

We work hard to keep our CNAs and CMAs. After all, high turnover impacts the quality of care. It takes time for a new aide to learn all their residents’ needs, not to mention develop the close relationships they typically build with families and our team.

In order to provide premier memory care, we must attract and retain exceptional Alzheimer’s caregivers. So, we strive to

  • Compensate them fairly and offer attractive employee benefit packages
  • Staff at the highest levels, so aides can count on the support of co-workers while on duty and free time on their days off
  • Support them as they work — even our senior managers jump in to help in the house on a challenging day
  • Work with them to build regular schedules around nursing classes or similar commitments
  • Train, coach and mentor well
  • Support and pay for ongoing professional development
  • Prioritize their safety and welfare (our COVID-19, infection control and safety records speak for themselves)
  • Show appreciation for their valuable contributions to our homes
  • Create a culture in which they thrive, enjoying warm relationships with residents and their families as well as team members

Hiring and keeping great CMAs and CNAs are among senior management’s top goals. We’ve recently devoted more resources to these efforts, adding a Training & Operations Coordinator to guide new hires through their critical first year.

See What Better Care Looks Like!

See What Better Care Looks Like!