CEO Jim Nelson gives his perspective on our philosophy of care, and about hiring employees who provide great care.
Transcription of Video:
My name is Jim Nelson. My wife, Dorothy and I started ACR Homes in 1981, and then in 2007 we opened our first Arthur’s Residential Care home in Roseville. We now have two Arthur’s Residential Care homes for people who are experiencing dementia as a result of Alzheimer’s or other forms of deteriorating cognitive function. We have the same kind of staff here as at ACR: staff who really care about helping others achieve the maximum life possible living in the community.
So much of who we are as a company is defined by our staff and how we hire them. Obviously, when you’re taking care of people in a house, you can have all kinds of wonderful philosophy but the key thing is who is doing the care giving. So the hiring process is critical in terms of defining ourselves as a company that provides quality care. We have developed testing and procedures to screen applicants to find people who like to help people, and we give them jobs where they are helping people. Matching what a person brings to the table in terms of their abilities and talents with a job that helps them express those talents is key. This gives them an opportunity to love their job, which is wonderful for the people who we support in our homes.
We have been voted the #1 workplace in Minnesota twice by our employees. We are very honored by that, and we realize the key is the employees themselves and the kind of people they are. They are very positive and up-beat–the kind of people you like taking care of you.
How do we find those people?
Over the years we have developed a rigorous selection process. I am a licensed psychologist and one of the things I enjoy doing is using those skills to developing unique tools that help us select great staff. We say that we define ourselves every time we hire somebody. We can have a great physical house, and wonderful policies and philosophies, but it’s the people who we hire who deliver the service and they are the ones who define the quality of care at Arthur’s Residential Care.
We are also are very pleased with our concept of having the residential supervisors live in the same house so it becomes more of a family setting for the residents we support there, as opposed to an institutional setting. This is something that we have used from the very beginning and it has worked very well for us.
I would also like to bring up the fact that we honor our staff by soliciting their input on a very regular basis. In fact, we make a point to solicit ideas from all our staff at least once a month. The leadership in the company sits down and goes over every one of the ideas submitted. Some of the ideas we can’t fulfill due to financial limitations but many of them we can implement. No matter how many we get, everybody gets a response as to how we will use their suggestion or whether we can’t use it, and we reward the top ideas each month and give a grand prize at the end of the year. So there is a lot of enthusiasm and participation in this process. Most of the policies that we have at Arthur’s Residential Care have originated from our staff. Obviously our staff are the ones working with our residents and they see what their needs are. They can see where we can make improvements in a procedure or policy to improve our care.
One idea proposed by staff resulted in our coffee shop, J Arthurs. It was originally a training center and a meeting place for our residents and staff. Later on we opened it to the public because we thought that part of living in the community for the folks we support is meeting in a retail space with the public. It has worked out very well. It’s still enjoyed very much by our staff but now the public can enjoy it and also have exposure to and interact with the folks we support.
Here’s another thing I am very proud of. Years ago, when we were a smaller company, I was visiting one of ACR’s residents who was in the hospital. As I was sitting with him it became quite apparent to me that the resident, who was not able to speak for himself, would have a hard time communicating his needs with the staff at the hospital. So I implemented a policy that when anyone from one of our homes is in the hospital we will have a staff stay with him or her as much as possible. This is to make sure that communication is not limited to the individual with compromised communication skills. The staff that knows what the needs are is there to help communicate.
We also really respect the input from guardians who often have had years of experience caring for an individual. We really respect their input and encourage that input. So as we develop our care management plan we are cognizant of what has worked in the past and will probably best serve the individual we are responsible for.