The power of training with Brenda Guevara, Executive Director, Ashford Hall

Episode 71 August 18, 2023 00:29:58
The power of training with Brenda Guevara, Executive Director, Ashford Hall
The Post-Acute POV
The power of training with Brenda Guevara, Executive Director, Ashford Hall

Aug 18 2023 | 00:29:58


Show Notes


In this episode of the Post-Acute POV podcast, our host Kim Broyer, VP of Professional Services at MatrixCare, is joined by Brenda Guevara, Executive Director at Ashford Hall to discuss how proper training and support are vital for senior care facilities to increase efficiency and save time.

Join Brenda and Kim as they examine how organizations can benefit from an advanced training program and how these tools can improve workflows, streamline staff training, and simplify reporting. Tune in to their discussion below.

Topics discussed during today’s episode:

  1. [01:08 – 02:55]: Brenda shares her background in long-term care and discusses the challenges she was faced with.
  2. [03:37 – 05:19]: Hear what influenced Ashford Hall’s decision to use training hours and how she encouraged staff buy-in.
  3. [06:02 – 07:53]: Find out how an advanced training program has improved Ashford Hall’s quality of care, saved time, and helped their reports with surveyors.
  4. [08:14 – 09:57]: Listen to examples of how their training program has saved their staff time with streamlined reporting.
  5. [10:31 – 12:57]: Hear the different ways that Brenda’s team has used the supplemental training.
  6. [13:38 – 16:02]: Kim and Brenda talk about the hands-on training available and how our team is always willing to help.
  7. [16:29 – 19:14]: The pair discuss the benefits and mention how MealTracker has helped their organization save on food costs and enabled better reporting.
  8. [20:25 - 23:03]: Find out how the dashboard collection tasks have saved Brenda’s team a lot of time and how staff training led to an interest in MDS capabilities and more.
  9. [23:15 – 25:58]: Brenda shares details of her staff’s feedback for the training and their top three benefits.
  10. [26:47 – 29:13]: Understand how the Inspire conference sparked Brenda’s interest in MatrixCare.



The content in this presentation or materials is for informational purposes only and is provided “as-is.” Information and views expressed herein, may change without notice. We encourage you to seek as appropriate, regulatory and legal advice on any of the matters covered in this presentation or materials.

©2023 by MatrixCare

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 (00:02): Welcome to the Post-Acute Point of View podcast, our discussion hub for healthcare technology in the out-of-hospital space. Here we talk about the latest news and views on trends and innovations that can impact the way post-acute care providers work. (00:18): We'll also dive into how technology can make a difference in today's changing healthcare landscape for home and facility-based workers and the people they care for. Let's dive in. Kim Broyer (00:35): Hi everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Post-Acute Point of View podcast. My name is Kim Broyer, and I'm the vice president of professional services here at MatrixCare, and we're excited to have Brenda Guevara, executive director at Ashford Hall here to speak with us about how ongoing training is essential to her staff's success. Let's get started. (00:58): Welcome, Brenda. Thanks for joining us today. Let's begin with your origin story, if you don't mind just kind of telling us a little about your early career and what led you to your current position. Brenda Guevara (01:08): Thank you. So I started in the industry about 30 years ago as a CNA. I worked multiple departments such as dietary, payroll, social services. Then I became the administrator. Then I moved up to being a regional and then I decided that the regional was not for me. I needed more of the resident to resident contact. So I went back to being an administrator, and I'm at Ashford all now. Kim Broyer (01:33): Wow, what a great career. Thank you for sharing that with us. You've touched a lot of areas in long-term care and healthcare and just really making a difference with residents and the industry that's out there. So thank you for sharing that and just really to focus a bit about our topic, you leverage a service program we offer called MatrixCare Training Assurance Plus. And so really focusing on that topic and getting to know a little bit more about what you found valuable with it. Kind of curious, before you started using the service, can you provide some examples of pain points or challenges your organization was facing that prompted you to inquire or start using Training Assurance Plus? Brenda Guevara (02:15): So when I first came on board with Ashford Hall, I had never used MatrixCare before, so it was new to me. One of the challenges that I had when I first started was there was no super users here that could kind of give me the parts of Matrix that I needed teach me. So I started doing the e-learnings a lot. They were very helpful, but I felt like there was more that I was missing. It seemed like the biggest challenge that we had was when we ran report. So information is only good as what you put into the system. So I think over the years, the information that had been entered had been entered incorrectly because I just think nobody knew. (02:55): So we were faced with that and then we would have new hires, as the administrator, I was challenged because I didn't know truly how to train them on the different systems that Matrix had. That led to us ... I had went to the training last year, the Inspire, and that's what triggered. I came back, I met with the owners of the facility and discussed that there was so much more to MatrixCare that we could learn from and use, but I needed to find out what we needed to do to get us there. So that's when they reached out to MatrixCare and that's when MatrixCare told us about the training program. Kim Broyer (03:37): Thank you for sharing that. We often hear the phrase, you don't know what you don't know, so that's great that that's also kind of what you felt. Had a feeling within your organization that you had so much more of MatrixCare that you could be leveraging but just didn't know where to get started or how to follow through with some of the areas, like you mentioned, understanding reports a bit more and really being able to dig into the specifics of the product. (04:04): So looking at when you started to implement Training Assurance Plus or some of those first conversations, how did you determine the best way to customize the service to benefit your team? Brenda Guevara (04:17): We decided to start from the beginning and I had provided a list of areas that we needed help with, such as admissions, the clinical pieces, progress notes, observations, events, and they set up a plan. MatrixCare set up a plan for us to develop and train me on each module, and that's what we did. And as we were training, I was going into my system and updating and doing configuration that I didn't even realize until the training happened that had not even been done on our side. And like I said, we just started from the beginning and we worked our way through, and there's so much that MatrixCare has to offer that we were not even touching. It's improved our quality of care because we've been able to get reports, but we're now able to manage our system from the dashboard, which saves us time. Kim Broyer (05:19): That's great that again, you were able to work with the MatrixCare team, and as you said, they really helped you create your plan. So you came in with a list of ideas, you felt kind of an understanding from the team where you were lacking in knowledge about MatrixCare or maybe just an area where you're curious of where and how could we do more with it. So you mentioned that the MatrixCare team did help create your training plan. How did you get other leaders or team members involved with that training plan? So more specifically, which roles or team members do you have participating in the Training Assurance Plus program? Brenda Guevara (06:02): So gradually, I started bringing in our director of nursing dietary, my interdisciplinary team, such as MDSs activities, trying to get them to with progress dose observations. And then when we got to the point where we were building our observations from the current list that was available to us, we brought more into the DON. So the DON and I have been very working very closely with Matrix and our training plan, but the whole team, even including therapy, has been involved with the training. Kim Broyer (06:32): And through that plan and working with the MatrixCare team, how have you seen that timeline or hours used with the program? So over the course of time, how many weeks or hours do you think you were able to work directly with MatrixCare and really provide that additional guidance that the team needed? Brenda Guevara (06:55): So I was working with Matrix, we were doing seven hours a week in the beginning and once now that we have gotten to where there's more that our system can do and we understand it, and the training that we've received, we're down to around three to four, maybe every three or four weeks. Even after this time, there's still a lot about MatrixCare that we're not utilizing. Every time I send Stephanie my information and questions that I have, I realize that there's more, there's more. And it has helped us time-wise. So when we have surveyors, state surveyors come into the facility before, we would spend a lot of time going through our reports to make sure they were accurate and now we can print our reports, skim through them, give them to the surveyors, and it saves us time there. And then some of the reporting that we have from MatrixCare with our surveys, the surveyors like it, especially the infection control tracker report. Kim Broyer (07:53): So even beyond your team, you're able to share this information with surveyors, maybe external teams that are working with your organization. And with that Training Assurance Plus service, you've been able to really streamline process workflow, so you're finding it easier to share information out with others as well. Is that right? Brenda Guevara (08:14): Correct. Kim Broyer (08:15): That's great. And like you mentioned, there is so much within MatrixCare we have a very robust solution. There's a lot of maybe unknowns again. So it sounds like you're continuing to find bits of information week by week throughout the months as you've been working with our team directly? Brenda Guevara (08:33): Correct. And as our managers being able to do the configuration on our dashboard before our nurse managers examples, they would have to come in and pull reports and look for information. And now managing from the dashboard, the information that they have, they can come in the mornings, check their dashboard, and they get so much more information that saves them so much more time. Kim Broyer (08:59): And you do keep going back to the time savings. I'd be curious if you have any quantitative data from your team either prior to this Training Assurance Plus or even throughout it as you've been able to identify some key wins that you've had, any specific time savings that you've been able to identify with your team and your leadership. Brenda Guevara (09:20): So our nurse managers, it has taken ... they would spend at least two hours a day in the mornings trying to figure out where they were at. Now using the dashboard, it takes them 15 to 30 minutes, and that was a huge saving for them because that that's my largest department and they have so much to do. And then just running the reports where my dietary manager would have to go in and run cell reports from Matrix to find out her diets or supplements, different things like that, and now it's just one, and she doesn't have to search for things anymore. Kim Broyer (09:57): Wow. Those are some great time-saving examples. Thank you for sharing that. And then few questions beyond working through just leveraging the software and utilizing it more efficiently, maybe a bit more beyond what you didn't know, but curious, are you starting to look at opportunities to use Training Assurance Plus for new releases since we do offer those at least quarterly or preparing for regulatory changes? Is that something you've been able to discuss with our MatrixCare team? Brenda Guevara (10:31): Yes, and we've actually just used it with the updates with the vitals. So I did a training with them and now that we have all of our vitals set up in our system due to the new release, it's a lot quicker. So now we just have to pull room report and we get all the vitals such as the intakes, the height, the weight, and it enabled us also to set up schedules for when we have a new admission that the nurses trigger automatically to get those certain vitals that we need. Kim Broyer (11:01): That's great. So you're definitely seeing it pay off as far as creating more efficiency with our releases and being able to have some consulting and time with our team there. And then what about regulatory? I know that we have some very big MDS changes coming up. Is that something that you have considered as far as the needs to really work with us more closely consulting-related around MDS changes and the product updates? Brenda Guevara (11:29): Yes, ma'am. So we have our MDS coordinator, we work with Matrix regarding our care plans, and then our MDS coordinator is going to do some training with our Stephanie in training more on how to use the MDSs. And the biggest thing is to making sure that our system is configured correctly with the new requirements. Kim Broyer (11:49): Exactly. You want to make sure that with requirements coming because MatrixCare does stay ahead of all the regulatory changes, but really to help your staff really understand and some of the differences across states or just ensuring that you have the latest setups is definitely key so that you're seamlessly moving into those October 1st changes. And then what about new staff? Were you able to create a new staff onboarding plan based on the Training Assurance Plus? I know you had said you started with MatrixCare without really having a solid training plan and sounds like you learned through our e-learning kind of on your own, but I know as I've spoken with customers, really having that strong training plan for new staff and the onboarding really helps even with retention. The sooner they're able to learn the technology, the systems that are going to make it easier for them, obviously, the quicker they are able to make a difference within your organization. So have you been able to create a training plan for your new staff as well? Brenda Guevara (12:57): Yes, ma'am. I did not know what our training website was and how to get to it. So in our training plan, that was one of the things that we had listed. So now we have our training website, we have access to it, we know how to use it, and we use it with our new hires, especially our nurses when they're doing orientation, then they're able actually to use the system and train more efficiently. We do the same thing with our CNAs. So that's been a real plus. So I do it with my department heads such as activities, dietary, MDSs, anyone who requires making progress notes in Matrix. Kim Broyer (13:38): Great to hear, glad that you were able to have our team really help with that plan so you have a stronger and more efficient onboarding process as well. And then I know our services at MatrixCare, we do offer onsite or virtual. I'd Be curious, which you have been able to use if you've done all virtual and if that has worked well for you and your team. Brenda Guevara (14:03): So we have used all virtual, and I like it and my team has commented that they like it too because we as a company use dual screens in our offices and things like that. So when Stephanie is on her computer, on her site, the training website, it enables us to be on our site looking at the same things. Those are a lot of things, and I think people as individuals, they each have their own learning. I am one of those that I'm a hands-on. So when she's doing what she's doing and I can mirror that and I learn quicker and I retain it. So it's actually been really good for us. Kim Broyer (14:44): That's great to hear that you've been able to make it work and kind of modify it. I think oftentimes when people hear virtual training they think, oh, webinar, I'm just listening and watching. But at MatrixCare we do really try to make it a hands-on experience as well, which you've been able to leverage and work that into your training. So that's great that you have the tools on your end as well to be able to set that up appropriately for your staff. And then how would you describe the level of personalized attention and support provided by MatrixCare consultants throughout the training process? Brenda Guevara (15:21): Anytime that I have needed any assistance, Stephanie is the person that is assigned to us. She is always willing to help me and she not only just answers my question, she takes pictures, she has snapshots and walks me through each step to get what I need to know. And I appreciate that so much because as busy as we are, I save all that information and then if we run upon, okay, how did we do that now, remind me, I can go back to that and see everything step by step. So it's really helpful the way that she answers our questions. Kim Broyer (16:02): So, Brenda, I know you've covered some of the time savings and very focused wins that you've had with Training Assurance Plus to your processes. Do you have any other insights into the kind of overall return on investment as far as purchasing Training Assurance Plus and how it's improved just overall performance cost savings or any other measurable outcomes that you'd like to share? Brenda Guevara (16:29): I think that the more we get into Matrix and the more that we use one of the systems that we've just now implemented, and it came from just talking with Stephanie on our training program is our MealTracker, and now we're implementing the MealTracker into our facility. And the savings regarding the cost of food ... because food is a highest expense for us, the size of labor and just being able to implement that, going through that training ... and our dietary manager and myself, we're just amazed on what the system can do and how it can break down everything to the last penny of what we're using, what we're buying, how we can save on cost. That's our big adventure right now. Kim Broyer (17:21): That's wonderful that Training Assurance Plus and working with our team on not only what you already were using with MatrixCare, but really for them to understand your overall business and really consult and understand where else because solutions could help such as MealTracker. I'd be curious, what were you using before MealTracker as far as either technology or not technology-related, but again kind of going back to our team, being able to consult with you on your whole operational workflow versus just the MatrixCare piece of it. Brenda Guevara (17:59): We were using a software from a previous food vendor that we had that we did the tray tickets through them and then we did the menus through them, but the cost analysis was not always correct. And I think the big difference is now with this MealTracker, I'm able to take the actual cost, current cost and put it into the MealTracker and keep it current. That was one of the abilities that we did not have with the previous software. And it's just keeping it more current and more updated. And now that as time goes by, the software that we were using was not given us a true picture of the actual food cost that we were spending until we got the end of the month to the getting invoices. Now we can see what our truly cost is day by day. Kim Broyer (18:48): That's great. So definitely a better understanding of some of the reporting aspects and being able to enter that information in upfront so that you can do further analysis. And again with our MatrixCare team, being able to really understand your overall business from the EHR through to the nutrition management as well. Sounds like it really was helpful in this journey that you've had with Training Assurance Plus. Brenda Guevara (19:14): And we've also with the Training Assurance Plus, it has triggered our financial side. I do the clinical side and then the MealTracker, dietary and things like that. The more information that I shared on the amazing things that MatrixCare could do for us and how they could save time and money and now it has triggered also our financial side, and they're doing more updates in regards to collections, just the different systems. So it's not just ... I mean, it's MatrixCare as a whole, and I think it's been helping our facility grow to ensuring that we are current with everything, we're working smarter and not harder. Kim Broyer (19:57): That is a great statement. Work smarter, not harder. And that is also what we find with customers when we come in because we are one team, our consulting team, we work really closely together, so we'll start asking those questions, kind of bridging some of the departments across our customers and really helping them to collaborate further or really streamline talk through some of the processes that overlap a bit. (20:25): So with that, having the financial team starting to get involved, have you found that you've been able to streamline processes directly with them through either Census or MDS? Any of those items kind of stand out as areas that you were able to change? Brenda Guevara (20:42): The biggest one we've changed so far is collections and how the tasks are set up. And now it's another area that is assigned to my dashboard that I can go in there and check daily. I don't have to run an aging, I don't have to run all the reports I can see exactly. And as far as our business office manager having a task list, she documents in Matrix and I see that instantly. So it's helped both of us to stay on task. Kim Broyer (21:12): That is great to hear. Again, helping teams work together within your organization as well; not only focused on the technology and how you're using it, but really kind of looking at it from a dashboard perspective reports and how you're sharing that across the teams as well for a better communication collaboration with the end result, higher quality outcomes for your residents. (21:38): So thank you for sharing that. That's another great point in how collections in that area has really been an item that you've been able to focus on. And then working with the team, if we were to switch and kind of look at some of the other resources that we have within MatrixCare, were you able to have a better understanding of our self-service tools that are available such as using the MatrixCare community or some of the education tools within the MatrixCare application? Brenda Guevara (22:09): Yes. So I use the community site, and I use it for training for myself. I use it for training of my department managers and I use it for training of our floor staff. So it's been a great asset. And the webinars on there go more in-depth. The e-learning is great as far as MatrixCare, but the webinars that they have on the community make a big difference. And MatrixCare is really good about communicating. So if there've been a new release, different things like that, I'll automatically get an email that tells me there's something new in the community and what's it about. So that's a big plus too. Kim Broyer (22:45): That's good to hear. You've signed up or updated your profile to receive some of the information automatically, which is tool that we have within the MatrixCare community so that you're not always having to log in, but you're getting information sent automatically to you as well, which is a time-saver and a good reminder. Brenda Guevara (23:03): Correct. Kim Broyer (23:03): One last thing to remember to do when it comes to you directly. And then what feedback have you received from your staff regarding their experiences with MatrixCare's Training Assurance Plus? Brenda Guevara (23:15): We have a lot of employees, especially department managers that we're not using MatrixCare prior to and now they've come and we did more training, we've learned more about the system. It's not just enabled me more of an understanding, but it's also enabled them and they're amazed on everything that care can do and how simple it makes certain tasks. And as managers who have worked for other facilities before you, the difference and our days are so busy, any time-saving even it's just 10 minutes, we're grateful for that time because we can definitely need it in some other area. Kim Broyer (23:54): Kind of back to the, they didn't know what they didn't know, but once they really get into it, have the right training and guidance, they're able to do so much more with much the technology, letting it make their day easier so they can focus on other things. Brenda Guevara (24:09): Correct. Kim Broyer (24:10): And then what would you say are the top three benefits of using Training Assurance Plus? Brenda Guevara (24:16): Let's see. The number one was ensuring our system was configured correctly and that tasks that were given prior to me arriving were completed. I believe that being able to use the systems dashboard has been very helpful for us and I think that just the US receiving the training has enabled us to train our employees better, which enables our employees to do more work and be more efficient in the work that they do. Kim Broyer (24:50): And then based on your experience, would you recommend Training Assurance Plus to other organizations? Brenda Guevara (24:56): Oh yes, most definitely. I think that as a new person coming into Matrix, it's so hard to know everything about the system because there's so much to it and having that person, you identify your areas of concern that you need more help with, and then you have that person that takes one-on-one with you and showing you step by step how to do that. And especially too with the new releases, making sure that we're doing everything on our side to make sure the facility we're using it just full ability. And I think that the training is also ... (25:32): With us, it started out with just me and a few clinical and now it's grown in our company and it's like every department has benefited from the training. It's not just clinical, it's not just business office, it's not just dietary, it's a facility as a whole. Kim Broyer (25:49): Which is what you need to run a very efficient and successful business ensuring everyone is involved and working together. Brenda Guevara (25:57): Correct. Kim Broyer (25:58): So it sounds like you were the change agent, you were the advocate for Training Assurance Plus, and you really got started with your short list of these are the things I want to know more about. So that was easy for you. Just start a list of things that you really want to understand more about and that's where then MatrixCare, our team looks at that list and we're going to help you really understand how do we put a plan to the list. And then for you, it sounds like your experience has been, all right, let's get through that list and then create another list. And then we have other teams who are now also very engaged and excited to continue to learn more about Matrix here as well so that they can become more efficient with their everyday work that they're doing. Brenda Guevara (26:47): Correct. Right. Kim Broyer (26:48): So thank you for being that change agent within your organization. I think sometimes, people are a little intimidated with technology and they don't know where to start, and that's why we're here. We want to start those conversations, we want to start it easy for you and really evolve into becoming that super user that you wanted to be. So great job, and thank you for that. Any other final thoughts around Training Assurance Plus that we didn't touch on? Brenda Guevara (27:18): Well, I think that one of the things that we have also with the Training Plus is I think that the owners to the president of the company has seen the enthusiasm that we've had and we've become more engaged with Matrix and we're excited about using the software that it has triggered them to become more involved. And they see how beneficial it is for their company. So that's another area that has helped us out greatly. Kim Broyer (27:47): And based on the enthusiasm and more people being involved, I know that you really were introduced to all of this and got started based on attending the Inspire user conference, and it sounds like this year you're able to even bring more staff because of that enthusiasm and how it's grown across your business. What are you looking forward to most at Inspire this year as far as learning about new products or engaging with MatrixCare team members? Brenda Guevara (28:15): I think it's a combination of both. Last year I met Tony at the conference and she's been very helpful, but being at the conference, that was my first step that gave me so much information about what Matrix can do, and I'm looking to forward to just learning what else is out there that we haven't even touched on. So we're excited about going, and I think with our enthusiasm here, that's triggered the owners to like, okay, you know what, we're going to be a part of this too, and they're excited. Kim Broyer (28:45): That's great. We look forward to having you there and really building on the excitement of what's to come and future innovation as well. So hearing from you not only on what you've learned and what you're doing with the product today, but what ideas and suggestions would you have for how we change the software moving forward. So thank you, appreciate all of that engagement and excitement that you have brought to your team and back into MatrixCare as well. Brenda Guevara (29:12): Thank you. Kim Broyer (29:13): Thank you for sharing all of this valuable information and how you and your organization have benefited from the Training Assurance Plus program. We look forward to helping you in even more areas moving forward and hope this offered a lot of great tips for our audience. Thank you so much, Brenda. Speaker 1 (29:29): That concludes the latest episode of the Post-Acute Point of View podcast. We have a lot of guests and topics coming up that you won't want to miss, so be sure to subscribe. To learn more about MatrixCare and our solutions and services, visit You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Thank you for listening. Be well and we'll see you next time.

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