“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.

Howard Phillips Lovecraft

As we approach the implementation of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) on October 1, 2019, most of us are beginning to experience the anticipation of this significant change.  Not since the implementation of the Prospective Payment System (PPS/RUGs) in 1998 has the long-term care industry faced change of such magnitude.

For most of us, we have a regular routine in our work life.  Humans prosper in life through monotony and certainty which aligns with a sense of autonomy.  As we start to address the required changes for PDPM, we may find ourselves in a state of ambiguity and resistance. Our dreads arise often due to the fear of the unknown and unfamiliar. However, whether we like it or not, change is inevitable and essential these days for companies to flourish. PDPM will allow therapists to focus on the quality of care they provide, not the minute management of the RUGs system. It will now embrace many ways to provide service including concurrent and group without the limitations imposed under PPS. Collaboration between members of the Interdisciplinary Team will be enhanced to improve patient outcomes.

Efficiently managing change in the workplace is vital for any company’s success. Functional Pathways has created the PDPM Academy, MedBridge, and intranet resources to guide the transition.  Remember, this change will affect everyone in your community, not just our Therapy Teams. Handling all of this transformation can be intimidating. However, being capable of managing change effectively is important for your career. Instead of going astray, begin preparing for effectively managing change and integrating modifications into your professional life with these seven tips.

Keep your emotions under control

Managing change is not an easy feat. It can leave you exhausted and drained not just physically, but mentally as well. While sudden changes in the workplace can be daunting, it is important to keep your emotions in check when dealing with them.

Be prepared

First step to managing change successfully is to accept the fact that change is inevitable. Take advantage of the resources provided by Functional Pathways to become prepared. Remember, change is the only constant in this world. Hence, it is better to be prepared instead of getting caught off guard.

Show flexibility

Be open to the way your SNF and Director of Rehab (DOR) will be moving the dial.  Being flexible is one of the best ways to embrace PDPM.  Comprehensive evaluations, functional outcomes and ways to effectively minimize risk of re-hospitalizations will be key to the new payment model.

State the facts and be honest

Share your thoughts and ideas to help resolve the challenges you will face.  It takes a village – everyone will need to be supportive, honest, and receptive to feedback.

Understanding the change cycle

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to change management. Every person has a different pace and acceptance level. While some quickly adapt to changes, others may take months to adjust. An open attitude and willingness to be patient will be helpful.  We will master the new system and things will fall into a routine eventually.  Remember, communication is the key.


Become part of the change

Implement an approach of enthusiasm and view change as an opportunity instead of hurdle. Concurrent and group therapy will now be an important component of our treatment delivery system.  Commit to becoming engaged in new modes of service delivery. You will feel positive, more empowered, and less dreadful. Shrug off any negative thoughts about change and become a part of it. Believe it or not, you will find these to promote patient engagement and fun!

Diminish stress and nervousness

Too much stress produced by change can make us feel exhausted and drain out all our energies. This may be the optimal time to look at ways to handle the stress.  Concentrate on your own physical and mental fitness to stay healthy. Indulging in quick sessions of meditation or even walking can adequately clear your mind of wary thoughts. Consider creating a method to support your peers through team building activities such as lunchtime walks, cover dish lunches, or live and learn sessions

Change is unavoidable and absolutely necessary for the success of our company and clients. If  every individual is prepared to embrace PDPM, we will emerge with better outcomes, higher levels of patient/family satisfaction, and stronger coordination of care . While change can be terrifying and unsettling, but with the correct approach, viewpoint, and activities, one can find prospects in every change.

As Lao Tzu said:

Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.

Beth Reigart
Clinical Operations Specialist