CEO Corner

On The Job Training

Last month I wrote about the topics newly hired staff are introduced to during orientation training. The orientation consists of classroom, online and on-the-job training or OJT. Because the training is so extensive, I couldn’t cover it all in one article; last month I covered classroom and online, this month-I’ll cover OJT.

Classroom and online training for newly hired staff are mostly introductions to broad topics. OJT is much more individual-specific. This is when the staff begin to learn about the individuals they will serve. What they are like, what they like and dislike, what they are learning, what physical and training needs they have.

New staff begin with the individual’s plan, reviewing the annual program and safety plans called the Coordinated Service & Support Plan Addendum and Individual Abuse Prevention Plan. They review how these plans are implemented and documented on HBI’s electronic system for implementation and documentation. Finally, they learn to implement any behavioral training.

A large part of what new staff do in the licensed homes has to do with individual’s physical needs. They learn how to lift and transfer an individual, how to conduct range of motion (two sessions), and about orthotics and specialized equipment. They also receive training on what we call “Body Works.” This consists of an individual’s personal hygiene, menus, and textures and food consistency, feeding routes, plates and eating utensils, and food storage.


Another significant curriculum has to do with nutrition. This body of training covers food preparation including measurement, ordering or shopping for food, menu substitutions, liquid diets, cooking terms and processes especially for meats, eggs and vegetables, using appliances and cooking utensils, food poisoning, and the basics of nutrition.

Staff learn about an individual’s personality, what he or she and the family prefer and also what they dislike. Activities, both at home and community, are covered in terms of likes, dislikes, and processes. This also includes using, driving, and transporting individuals safely in the van or vehicle. Staff go through money management training, both for individuals and HBI, learning how to manage, safeguard and document private funds.

Finally, new staff receive some more classroom training. They receive CPR, medication administration (which also includes checkoffs by the house nurse on individual administration), and training on the use of physical interventions.

As you can see, the training is comprehensive and complicated. We spread it out over several weeks so staff have a chance to learn at their own pace. The training is also person-centered. Person-centered not only in terms of the individual-specific information staff receive, but also in terms of the importance of honoring an individual’s preferences and ensuring he or she has the most influence/control over services they possibly can.

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