By Sandra Stimson ADC, CALA, CDP Executive Director,
Alternative Solutions in Long Term Care

Sandra Stimson has experience as a
corporate consultant, Corporate Trainer
and National Speaker. Her experience
is in long term care, as Activity Director,
Director of Alzheimer's Units and
Assistant Administrator of a 550 bed
long term care county home.  She is
Co-founder of Pet Express Pet Therapy
Club, is a Life Replay Specialist.  
Sandra implements dementia units
nationwide.  Sandra has written several
books, Volunteer Management
Essentials for Long Term Care and Pet
Express Pet Therapy Program. Sandra
has been a facilitator for Alzheimer's
support groups and is the Awards Chair
for the NJ Association of Activity
Professionals.  Sandra is the Executive
Director of
National Council of Certified
Dementia Practitioners  

Alternative Solutions in Long Term
Care offers resources for health care
professionals in many areas of dementia
care, care plans, Snoezelen products,
dementia activity calendars, adult day
care calendars, sensory calendars,
reminisce videos for dementia, activity
books, and dates to remember, party
resources and links.
Sandra Stimson
for Activity Professionals
in Long Term Care Settings

Copyright 2004-Present
The Activity Director's Office
All Rights Reserved

The Activity Director's Office
Training Your Staff the Right Way

Often times we hire staff and place them on the units without proper training.  Here are some
tips to develop a trained staff.

Once the new employee has completed the facility general orientation they should then
complete a job specific orientation.  Once completed the employee should sign off on the job
specific orientation form.  The form is available at web site.  The job
specific orientation covers everything from room set up to types of programs to

When new employees begin, have the new staff shadow a seasoned staff member for one
week.  This will help train the new employee on how things should be done at your facility,
introductions of residents and staff, where products are located and documentation

The new employee should be provided with the Activity Department policy manual and
allowed one day for them to read it and ask questions.  This is often times overlooked but
should be a very important aspect of the training. We recommend that you place a form in
front of the manual for staff to sign when they complete reading the policy manual.

Always assign a mentor within the department who can invite them to lunch and answer their
questions and concerns related to the activity department.
For the first 30 days meet with your new staff daily to review their concerns.  That will you to
address those potential problems  immediately.  You should have a daily morning meeting
with all your staff to go over new admissions, documentation, announcements, big events,
etc.  The staff should always sign for staff meetings.  Always ask if they have concerns,
suggestions and recommendations. Document their input as this shows you take their input

At 10 and 2 take the time to observe your staff during programs to insure the activity is being
conducted professionally and safely.  Take the time to meet privately with suggestions and
concerns as well as praise.  You can never praise too much!

Observe your new staff in care plan meetings and when completing initial assessments.  Until
you are comfortable with the new employee, always ask to see progress notes, care plans,
MDS and initial assessments before they are placed in the chart.  It is better to correct
mistakes now before you have to do damage control when the documentation becomes a
part of the permanent record.

You will build a very strong department if you take the time and invest in a strong training