ALF Consultants Certified As A Woman-owned Business Enterprise

West Central Solutions, Inc., (WCS) an Assisted Living Facility Consultant Company received certification as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) on March 16, 2016.

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“We have always been woman owned and managed,” said Theressa Foster, President. “It is nice to get this certification so that businesses and government entities can be assured that we truly are woman owned and controlled.”

West Central Solutions offers owners of privately held Assisted Living Communities an array of services and expertise to help them so they can work ON their businesses, not IN their businesses.

WBE Certification stands for Woman Business Enterprise and denotes that a woman (or women) has majority ownership and control of a business entity.

West Central Solutions received the certification through the National Women Business Owners Association (NWBOC).

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“The application process was time-consuming, yet we hope it will help us in attracting the business of larger corporations and government entities,” said Foster.

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Certification goes hand-in-hand with any procurement discussion.  A WBE Certification ensures that the businesses claiming to be woman-owned in fact were woman-owned.   A WBE certification is the only way to confirm to corporations and government agencies the ownership and helps those entities track utilization.

Tracking Encourages Utilization
Certification is the tool by which business participation is tracked, and the tracking provided evidence that the federal procurement dollars were virtually bypassing women-owned businesses.  So remedies were sought in the form of affirmative action programs.

Beginning in the 1960s, efforts were put forth to help “level the playing field”.   In the 60’s the Commission on the Status of Women, the Civil Rights Act and executive orders helped to increase women and minority participation.

The NWBOC web site states, “the 5% federal goal was established in 2000 with the Women’s Equity in Contracting Act that gave the contracting office the ability to restrict competition for women-owned firms, up to 5% of all contracts. The Small Business Administration confirms that it is possible for this to have the effect of being a set-aside, but is not expressly one…  The intent of this program is to encourage procurement officers to utilize women-owned firms at a higher level in both the number of firms awarded contracts and the dollar amounts awarded to them.”

“This WBE Certification is important to WCS because it adds one more layer credibility to our company, ” said Foster.  “We already have Experience and Expertise, now we have Enterprise Certification.”

 

 

2016-HHS Guidelines – Patient Access to Records

Back in the day, a person stayed with one doctor for many years.  Now, with changes in insurance and a transient population, changes in care providers is common.  Many times an Assisted Living resident may have a doctor they visit and then switch to a doctor that visits them.

It has become more important for patients to have access to their medical records so that they can share them with their new care-givers and doctors.

There was a dream of a national digital system for keeping records that would be accessible to any medical team.  Barriers appeared to block over-all access between providers and systems.  Now, patients want and need to keep their own medical records.

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department has issued new guidelines designed to make it easier for patients to access their medical records says Argentum (Formerly known as ALFA).

doctor-visitAccording to the guidelines, “doctors and hospitals can’t require patients to state a reason for requesting their records and can’t deny access because they believe a patient may be too upset by the information.”

The guidelines also say:

  • A health care provider can’t require patients to pick up their records in person if they ask to have them sent via mail or email, and can’t deny a request for access to health information if the patient has failed to pay medical bills.
  • A doctor or hospital may charge a fee for copying but can’t charge for the cost of searching for data and retrieving it.

Assisted Living Communities can encourage new residents, family members, the POA for Heath Care, to retrieve records for keeping and sharing with doctors.

Click here to learn more about the HHS HIPAA Law Guidelines.

Thanksgiving — 3 Ways to Thank Caregivers

This Thanksgiving we will be pausing and giving thanks. Not only for our health, our families and friends, and our country….

Young care assistant introducing herself.

We are sooo grateful for the staff and volunteers who care for those who need a little or a lot of help.  From the person who mops up the spill to the person who fixes the meals, does the laundry, holds the hand, and wipes the bottom,  THANK YOU.

Thanksgiving is the perfect time to:

“Express our gratitude to those who care for others as a profession or as volunteers. Compliment the good works of caregivers for our children and frail elders…..those caring individuals who clean the bottoms of babies and the bed-ridden, and help nurture and stimulate their minds. They deserve the kindnesses of family members and neighbors all through the year, but especially at holiday time.”  Jack Levine, 4Generations Institute

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Think of specific things they do that are helpful, then describe it and say thanks!

 

A kind word that is not a general thanks but a specific observation can light up a person’s day.  We don’t do this often enough.  “Carol, I have seen how you listen carefully to Jane and be so patient with her.  Thank you for showing the care that makes this place a special place for our residents.”

 

Color it!

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Write it down in a colorful 3×5 card, draw stick figures of what they do well or color them a flower that they can post on their wall and look at again and again.  You are taking the time to –  notice and appreciate.  That is what counts, not your artistic talent.

Picture it!  Catch them doing something great and take a picture of them doing it.
Give them a copy and tell them how the work they do is important to creating a special home for the residents and good place to work for the staff.
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If it is shareable, ask them permission to share it on facebook or in promotions because what they do is so important to making the building a cozy and caring home.

 

So this week be sure to give thanks.  And mark time in your calendar to observe every week to observe and give thanks.   We must continue every week to not only observe and appreciate, but to let those front-line workers, the managers and administrators of our independent living, assisted living, memory care, and palliative care know… we see you, we appreciate what you do.

Be a Champion and Meet the Demand for Senior Housing

What are you doing to prepare for the Silver Tsunami?

The first of the Baby Boomers are now Retiring. The average age of entering Assisted Living is 82 to 86. So we have about 20 years to prepare for large increase in demand for senior housing and senior care.

The biggest challenge will not be building enough units. It will be providing affordable care, and training, maintaining and retaining the best staff.

At a November 2015 Florida Assisted Living Association Meeting in Citrus County Florida, West Central Solutions’ President, Theressa Foster, spoke to the professionals about some ideas for meeting the challenges ahead.

We condensed it into this 2 minute video.

New challenges are ahead for the Administrators and Owners of Senior Housing. Combining child care and elder care has been shown to enhance the lives of seniors and the children. This kind of arrangement will also help our front-line staff stay working for us longer.

What other ways can we help address the coming staff shortage? Let’s put our heads together and come up with ideas that will work to reduce costs, improve care, be respectful to residents, and meet the increasing demands.

If you want to see Theressa’s full 11 minute presentation, press play…

Assisted Living Management Company Assembles Advisers

Advisory Team to Lend Expertise to Assisted Living Management Company

What do a CPA, a lawyer, an RN, a psychiatrist and a general contractor have in common? They all are advisers to West Central Solutions, Inc. a Citrus County Florida based, woman-owned, senior housing management company.

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The initial meet and greet gathering May 26, 2015 was held at Tuscany on the Meadows in Hernando, FL. Theressa Foster, president of West Central Solutions addressed the diverse group.

Theressa shown here with Dr. Gurnani, Psychiatrist, Advisor specializing in Geriatric Care.

Theressa shown here with Dr. Gurnani, Psychiatrist, Advisor specializing in Geriatric Care.

“To succeed I know I must surround myself with smart people,” said Theressa Foster “I chose you for your expertise in your field, you intelligence, and your compassion for seniors. Thank you for your willingness to share your knowledge and experience with us.”

Advisors Group Assisted Living Consultants

From Left to Right

Back row name and expertise: Dale Marie Merrill, Legal; John Comer, Accounting; Mike Orlito, Small Business Consultant; Sue Hnat, representing families of seniors; Lynne West, Hospice Care; Jeanne Green, Chamber Ambassador; Dr. Parmanand Gurnani, Senior Mental Health; Michael Wilburn, Construction.

Front row is the West Central Solutions team: Yolanda Lusher, Senior Housing Consultant; Theressa Foster, President/Owner; Susan Straley, Assistant to the President.

Not shown but also Advisers are: Greg Kell, Spiritual; Dean Dickmann, Business.

West Central Solutions provides management and oversight to privately held Assisted Living Facilities in Florida and Colorado. The company is a member of Florida Assisted Living Association, an A rated member of the Better Business Bureau, and active in both the Citrus County Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Hernando County Chamber.

The President serves on several community boards.

 

Alzheimer’s Awareness — Getting to a diagnosis….

The process of getting a dementia and then a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s…

is a journey that requires journals, observation by yourself and another close to you, tests, doctor visits and …. patience.

It has happened to all of us- memory loss.

It could be as simple as losing our keys — or as serious as forgetting where we live.

How do you know if you should visit your doctor because of recent memory loss?

What information should you present to your doctor, if you think you are experiencing memory loss?

 

 

 

 

Seeking medical advice about memory loss can be scary.  However, there are reversible causes of memory loss.  This is why a doctor’s visit is important. Within a short matter of time, you could have your memory back if diagnosed with reversible memory loss.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reversible Causes of Memory Loss:

 

Deficiency in Vitamin B-12
Alcohol
Depression
Medications
Head Injury
Tumors
Spinal Fluid Build up in the Brain
Hypothyroidism
Sleep Disorders
Stress
Infections

 

IF it is Alzheimer’s….

The sooner you get on the medication to slow the progression of the damage to the brain, the longer you may live a functional life.

To get the most out of your visit with the doctor, you need to be prepared and you need to be honest. It is best if you bring someone close with you to this appointment to help answer questions and give their observations. When you realize that you may have a memory problem, start keeping track of your life through a journal.

In your daily journal include: 

-The date
-Your symptoms
– Note how often they occur
– List of daily medications and when they were taken

 

 

 

 

WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU TO THE DOCTOR

-List of current medical problems
-Your memory loss journal
-List of family members with memory loss disorders
-All of your medications and vitamin supplements (just dump them in a bag and take them with you).
-Who to contact if you need help (names and phone numbers)
-List of medications both prescription and over the counter (including vitamins)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You should be prepared to answer questions from your doctor such as:

What is the amount of time you have had memory loss?

Are you under stress or depressed?

Have you had an infection recently?

Have you started a new medication?

What daily activities do you find difficult to accomplish?

Do you drink alcohol? If so, how often?

What have you done to help with your memory loss problems?

Has a major life event recently occurred?

Your doctor will likely conduct a memory test, after a physical exam.  Your doctor should conduct tests to determine if your memory loss is caused by one of the reversible memory loss causes.

If he determines that you do have a memory loss disorder, he will refer you to a specialist in memory loss/dementia.  He may also provide you with information from organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Association.

Tests that may be ordered may include:

– Blood Tests (including a Lymes Disease Test if appropriate)

– Psycho-neurological Tests

– EEG

– MRI

– PET

Remember, a lot of enjoyment in life can still occur after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s.  The symptoms do not move in a straight line, there will be better days and foggy days.  It is a journey that many have taken and are taking right now.  There are support groups for caregivers and lots of information available on the internet.

When your loved-one needs to move into Assisted Living or Memory Care, give West Central Solutions a call.   We are here to help you during that transition.

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Service to help Seniors

West Central Solutions is a new company in Central Florida that aims to help Seniors and their families. The services offered by West Central Solutions helps the user find the appropriate assisted living solutions or nursing home tailored to the individuals needs. In a nutshell they are a senior citizen concierge service.