4 Ways to Train Staff on Mental Health Competency
When Lisa began dialysis, she thought it was the end of the road. She experienced depression while going through her medical journey without her or her healthcare providers ever identifying it as such. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), one in six Americans experiences a mental health issue any given year. However many people, like Lisa and her healthcare providers, are not well informed on this highly prevalent issue that occurs in 25% of older adults who suffer from one or more chronic health conditions. This can lead to an exacerbation of both the chronic health condition and quality of life, putting healthcare providers at a loss.
Staff, who are properly trained in mental health know how to:
- Address the life-changing disease diagnosis with newly diagnosed patients
- Talk to patients with depression in identifying their fears and worries
- Understand patients’ needs and facilitate meeting these needs
Benefits gained from competent staff members:
- Improved ICH CAHPS scores
- Better patient outcomes through patient compliance
- Exceptional relationship between provider and patients leading to patient retention and satisfaction
- Staff job satisfaction
How can you improve Mental Health competency at your facility?
- Hire staff with higher emotional intelligence (EQ) by screening candidates during the interview process with a short EQ assessment like this.
- Make instruction on indicators, symptoms, and treatment options of depression part of your core staff training and build on it as time goes on in order to gradually ground and improve awareness and skills. Once a strong foundation is set, customize on-the-job-training to meet the specific needs of the staff and their patients.
- Provide tools and resources necessary for staff to improve and solidify their skills. Tip: Your local ESRD Network may have tool kit and other resources that could provide for and meet these needs.
- Monitor the depression/mental health screening process to identify gaps and bridge them through activities such as: peer review, shadowing the ‘champion’, and spot check.
It is important to remember, this process does not stop at a simple screening for depression. Be sure to support the patient in finding appropriate help in order to properly manage their mental health and consequently improve not only their quality of life but also your facility’s outcomes.
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