Imagine this: You’ve just received approval to open a new PACE center. That’s great news. Now you need to build your interdisciplinary team (IDT) and set them up for success.
You’ll recall that the IDT is composed of 11 essential members who combine to offer everything that a PACE center needs to care well for its participants. They include the PCP, Registered Nurse, Social Worker, Center Manager, Aide/Caregiver, Physical Therapist, Dietitian, Recreational Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Home Care Coordinator, and Driver.
How do you identify the right people?
The basic approach to identifying the team members who will serve your PACE well is to carefully develop interview questions that allow you a clear view of who your prospective team members are as people.
Start by picturing what takes place inside a PACE center every day: Priorities change, emergencies arise, and unexpected events of every kind are commonplace. Who is most likely to embrace and thrive in this environment? Who will be most likely to continue to provide excellent care despite these challenges? Your interview questions should serve to identify the candidates who can best succeed in, and help support, this kind of environment.
What standard hiring practices apply?
Naturally, there are standard hiring practices that you must observe as well. To begin with, make sure all staff with direct participant contact have at least one year of experience working with the frail or elderly. Candidates must also meet these requirements:
• Legally authorized and currently licensed, registered, or certified to practice in your state
• Medically cleared of communicable diseases; all immunizations are up to date
• Holds the standard competencies for the specific position description established by your PACE organization
When the team is in place, how do you empower them?
Once your team is in place, your goal is to build a strong framework that inspires your IDT to work in sync to meet the needs of your PACE participants. As the PACE model is committed to 24/7 care coordination, continuous communication is critical. This is just one of the many reasons that daily IDT meetings should be a centerpiece of your operation.
Another recommended practice is to set up a secure, protected health information-compliant agenda that’s maintained on a digital dashboard for easy access. Encourage your team members to contribute to it daily. Ask them to add any participant event that occurs during or outside your center’s regular hours. For example, note whether a participant is hospitalized, in crisis, requires a medication check, or has a dental appointment.
How do you maximize the team’s effectiveness?
Remember that every member of the IDT contributes to the team’s overall success. Never underestimate anyone’s value. Consider your driver, for example. Transportation is one of the most critical services PACE provides. And your driver may be one of the few team members who ever sees your participants in their homes. As such, their perspective is unique, and potentially critical. Foster an atmosphere that encourages each team member to respect all others, and where everyone feels comfortable contributing to the team’s common mission.
Where to turn if you need support
Building an effective IDT can be a daunting undertaking, especially if you attempt to go it alone. If you find you need help at any stage, reach out to a PACE consultant. They can assist by participating in your candidate interviews, providing the interview questions that will help you successfully screen and hire the right candidates, or consulting with you on any other matter.