Debbie Hommel's A.D. Tips
Dedicated to helping Activity Professionals with the daily operation of their department.
by Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC, CTRS, Executive Director of DH Special Services
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DEBBIE HOMMEL
Executive Director
DH Special Services
About Debbie

Debbie Hommel, BA, ACC,
CTRS, is the Executive
Director of DH Special
Services. She is a Certified
Activity Consultant on State
and National level, with over
twenty-seven years of
experience in providing direct
care and consultation to long
term care, medical day care,
assisted living, and ICF/MR
facilities throughout New
Jersey, New York, Maryland,
and Pennsylvania. She is an
experienced trainer and
workshop presenter,
conducting a variety of
seminars throughout the
Tri-State area for the Activity
Professional, Administrator,
and allied healthcare
professional. Debbie Hommel
is an active member of Activity
Professional Associations on
State and National levels. She
is ACC certified through the
NCCAP. She is a founding
member of the New Jersey
Activity Professionals'
Association, serving terms as
Vice President and President.
She received the Weidner
Lifetime Achievement Award
in 1994 and the Monmouth &
Ocean County Activity
Professionals Life
Achievement Award in 1999.
DEAR DEBBIE:
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And the survey says…
by Debbie Hommel, ACC/MC/EDU, CTRS

There is always much discussion amongst activity professionals about day to day
“operational” tasks and decisions.  Although we are guided by regulations, our facilities
implement and support the regulations in various ways.  This leads to many variations
and inconsistencies amongst facilities.  I have introduced “Activity Polls” on my Yahoo
group – DH Special Services.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhspecialservices/  

These polls allow for questions to be introduced and for members of the group to vote.  
The results, so far, are interesting.  Some of the members have already used the poll to
advocate for change in their facilities.  If the numbers are in our favor, we can go to
administration and share what the “majority” says about a particular topic.  From a
research and statistic perspective, the poll lacks true reliability however – it is data that
may help some activity professionals.   

The current active polls include the following:
      Staffing – There are two polls related to resident to staff ratio.  One poll is for skilled
nursing homes and the second is for assisted living communities.  In assisted living,
the staff to resident ratio averages one staff member to 40 – 55 residents. (Specific
breakdowns are noted on the poll.) The average staffing ratio for nursing homes is one
staff member to 20 and 35 residents.  One vote was cast for a ratio of one staff member
to sixty residents.  As we all know, that person has a tough job meeting the needs of
that caseload.  This is a perfect example, where the poll can be used in that activity
professionals favor.  If this poll continues to show the lower staff to resident ratio is the
average, this activity professional could use the data to advocate for better staffing.  

      Entertainment Budget – There was a day when entertainers volunteered their time.  
Today, entertaining in health care facilities is a business.  How much is spent on
entertainment is an active discussion in my MEPAP classes.  The poll is showing a
$400-500 budget to be in the majority.

      Calendar Program : How do we produce our calendar is another popular
discussion on the Internet and in the MEPAP classes.  The current poll shows a tie
decision between using Microsoft Publisher and the web site Activity Connection.com.    
This would be helpful information to a new activity professional who is deciding how to
go about creating the monthly calendar.  

      Evening Programming – I was surprised by the results of this poll.  Currently, seven
nights a week is high on the list, while 3-4 evenings per week comes in second.  

      Job Title – This was the first poll I introduced on the group and I find the responses
so interesting.  We are such a diverse profession with more job titles than most
professions out there.  Our national association and certification board have coined the
job title Activity Professional however that job title is not used in the work environment.  
Nineteen job titles are listed on the poll and no primary title has emerged.  Here is
where validity of the poll comes in question as there is no control over who is
completing the poll.  But, the results are interesting all the same.

      Support of Continuing Education – This is one of the newest polls.  Another source
of discussion in the MEPAP classes whether the facility is paying for the class and are
the students getting paid for the day to be in class.  There are a number of students
who take PTO time to be in class and pay for the class out of pocket, which is
commendable on their part.  The poll is showing many facilities do pay for the
continuing education as well as the day’s pay.  This is another example of where the
poll can be used to advocate within the department for professional support.    

Anyone can vote in the polls, if you are a member of the Yahoo group I created.   It does
not cost anything to sign up or join.  The more people that vote, the more data we will
accumulate.  I realize the validity and reliability of the polling is not as strong as if we
were during serious research.  However, some of the data can be useful in generating
additional resources for the department or supporting change in your facility and in our
profession.  If you have an idea for a poll, feel free to e-mail me
(
debbiehommel@comcast.net)  and I can add it to the group.  

So, cast your vote today!
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dhspecialservices/polls