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Flourishing Communities: Astral at Auburn


In this on-demand webinar featuring Astral at Auburn, our panelists discuss using LifeLoop to enhance resident engagement, provide transparency, and ensure that families feel actively involved in their loved one's daily life. Watch now to learn how they're transforming communication dynamics in their community!

ROI highlights:
  • 75% improvement in communication between residents and families since implementing LifeLoop

  • 50% of staff feel their overall job is easier, better, or more satisfying since implementing LifeLoop

Flourishing Communities Webinar Series

LifeLoop is proud to feature this year's Communities That Shine award winners as part of an all-new webinar series called, Flourishing Communities. This series focuses on senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional experiences for their residents, their families, and community staff. Learn more about this series and register for upcoming webinars here

Webinar script

Paige Mantel: Hi! Welcome everybody to the webinar, we'll give people about a minute to join. I see the numbers going up as people are joining in today. For those of you that have already joined us, we'd love to hear where you are, where you're calling in, or zooming in from your community, name, city, and state love to see the breadth and geographical dispersion of our awesome audience today.

Wonderful, alright! Well, let's get started. Welcome everyone to our Flourishing Communities Webinar Series! This series puts a spotlight on the amazing senior living communities that are leveraging technology to create exceptional experiences. I'm Paige Mantel, Chief Marketing Officer at LifeLoop, and I'm thrilled to be your host for today's session. 
I think most of our audience does know LifeLoop, but just a quick summary: We have one goal, helping senior living communities flourish. We've been serving the senior living industry for 25 years, and our technology solutions are helping more than 4,700 communities engage their residents, delight their staff, and connect with family members. Our discussion today will run for about 30 minutes. We welcome your questions and ask that you put those in the Q&A box at the bottom of your screen, and at the end of the webinar, please complete the short survey to provide your feedback for us on today's webinar. In addition, you'll receive a follow-up email from me in a couple of days with the recording of today's webinar that you can feel free to share with your colleagues and follow up with any questions you might have.

So now, to my amazing guests on today's episode. Earlier this year, LifeLoop announced our Communities That Shine Award winners, and I'm thrilled to have one of our winners, Astral at Auburn, a Franciscan Advisory Services-managed community, join us today. Astral at Auburn won our Brilliance in Fostering Connections award based on their use of LifeLoop to transform community communications, enhance transparency, and ensure that families feel actively involved and informed about the well-being and engagement of their loved ones. They've seen a 75% improvement in communication between residents and families, and 50% of their staff feel their overall job is easier. Let's dive into how they're doing that with our time together today.

Constance Brasher is the Corporate Director of life enrichment and memory support for Franciscan Ministries, and Grace Faurote is the executive director at Astral at Auburn. Welcome, Constance and Grace. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Constance Brasher: So glad to be here.

Grace Faurote: Thank you!

Paige Mantel: Awesome. So, Constance, let's start with you. Tell us about Franciscan Ministries and Astral at Auburn.

Constance Brasher: Yes, thank you again for having us. Franciscan Ministries is a Catholic organization, actually founded in 1894. So, a lot of tenure, a lot of history there, and we are sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago, and we have several managed communities through our Franciscan advisory services like Astral at Auburn as well as our own communities, that we also have. We have eight of our own communities. We also have in-home care services; an in-home senior care service entity called Franciscan Care Solutions.

We also have the Madonna Foundation that provides scholarships to female students who demonstrate a need and desire for academic success, as well as St. Jude's House that actually provides basic needs and resources to victims of domestic violence and their direct dependence. I can probably go on and on, but Franciscan Ministries as a whole really has so many great services that are really supporting the community in different states.

Paige Mantel: Amazing, amazing. And what's your story, Constance? How did you get into the senior living industry and specifically come to join the Franciscan organization?

Constance Brasher: Yes, you know, it's so funny, because I always like to say I actually started off as a chemistry major in undergrad, with the desire to become a dentist, and after doing an elective internship at an adult day, actually, it just completely transformed what really drives me, what really sparked passion in the daily work that I want to do, and wanted to continue to do. And so working with different socio-economic statuses of senior adults and with the different departments that are in an adult day, especially through the program side, really intrigued me. And so I went on to get my sociology undergrad and a Masters in recreation therapy. I knew that if I wanted to really make an impact in this industry, that I needed to hone my craft and learn, be a student. I went on and got my Masters in recreation therapy, became a certified dementia practitioner and Alzheimer's disease-and-dementia-care trainer; continuing to grow and grow, and to really help be as much of an advocate and staple in this industry for who I’m serving.

Really with Franciscan Ministries, of course, other than some of the great things I've already said about the ministry, even their mission: “celebrate life and serve with joy” is so basic in terms of simple, but so impactful at the same time. But also it was a great, unique opportunity to really fuse my love of programming and dementia care services together. And it came at a time, really, where the ministry was looking to restructure and grow their life enrichment services and memory support services, and it really appealed to me. And so that's where, coupled with all the other great things about the ministry, it really brought me into working with the ministry in this capacity.

Paige Mantel: Amazing. Well, you bring a tremendous amount of expertise, experience, passion, and love into your job. Grace, tell us about you. How did you get into senior living? And what brought you to Astral at Auburn?

Grace Faurote: I started out very young. I got my CNA in high school and looked at it as a stepping stone. Kind of similar to Constance, I went to school for pre-med and then decided that was too much schooling for me, so went into healthcare management and was working my 3rd shift job as a CNA in college, and was like, “Why would I go run a hospital? The residents have my heart. I absolutely love it.” Then I could really push forward and make the changes that I wanted, and really wanted to see from my administrator and be able to make those changes in my management style. Working and making a difference in residence life kind of fell into my lap unexpectedly. But you know, senior living absolutely has my heart, and I love working with the seniors.

Paige Mantel: I love it. I mean, this industry has some of the most passionate, heart-centric, mission-centric people, and the two of you are absolutely no exception. So, let's get into what makes Astral at Auburn a flourishing community. We'll start with you, Grace. Tell us a little bit about some of the challenges in engaging residents in, you know, the activities that your community provides, prior to implementing technology like LifeLoop to help with that.

Grace Faurote: Absolutely. What we see a lot is, we see a lot of habits coming with the residents. You know, a lot of these residents come from houses where they're living alone and they get into that routine of just kind of being alone, being in their houses watching TV, doing small individual activities. Moving to those communal areas and spaces and having people around is definitely an adjustment. So that's definitely where we see a struggle before we had LifeLoop was that, you have those habits, and then on the opposite side, we have independent living here, too, and so we see the opposite where they're still very, very active in the community. Some are still working, and so getting them to participate within the community can be a little more difficult, just because they're still living their life and out with family and working and just doing community-based things.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense that you have those challenges. Can you share a little bit about how LifeLoop has helped you and your staff address those challenges?

Grace Faurote: Absolutely. The biggest thing that I have seen is the reminder feature of LifeLoop. Registering for the activities and then getting that reminder to them helps a lot. We all get busy with our day-to-day at home, and this is their home. So, when they get that reminder, they can pop down to our activity and partake as well as you know, just empowering their families to be a part of it. Allowing them to see the activities that are going on and pushing Mom and Dad. They have that really familiar relationship and being able to say “Hey, I really think you would like this activity. You need to get down there and try it” as well as then, just us being able to track their preferences and being able to see that we can really tailor our activities to what they want to see, what they want to do, and what maybe they did before moving to Astral with us.

Paige Mantel: I love that you got the combination of the person-centered care which is understanding their preferences and helping them see how these activities are really gonna connect with them and be valuable to them. You've got the family members encouraging them. You’ve got the reminders. So now you've got a lot of different, you know, energies and forces kind of helping people engage in the many wonderful activities. You have some great examples of using a lot of different best practices to make that happen.

Constance, you know, when Franciscan Ministries was looking for solutions to help enable staff, help enable the goals and strategies for you, what was your strategy in choosing what that technology platform would be?

Constance Brasher: Yeah. Great question. Well, really, it was initially the vision of our CEO Regina Umanskiy, who really wanted to implement advanced technologies and start implementing advanced technology in the communities. Plus, communities like Astral at Auburn and another one of our Indiana communities Astral at Franklin were using some of the features in LifeLoop prior to our coming on board, and some of our other communities, particularly some of our own communities, were using the iN2L, It's Never 2 Late content. That was separate before you all came together. So that was definitely the 1st initial step into considering, "Okay, is this something that we should be using across all communities or majority of communities.”

But then—so then I should say, when I first got started, one of my marching orders was helping to figure out what would be the best technology solution for the ministry. We brought in a trusted consultant who has extensive knowledge in technology systems, particularly for senior living communities. And when it came down to what we really wanted to see for Franciscan Ministries, LifeLoop really started to rise to the top. When we look at—one of the things I always say is, this is a community engagement system, not just a life enrichment system or activity department system. This is a community engagement system. So when we think about the work request feature, the transportation feature in our planned ops, and housekeeping using that and using the iPads. Of course, our life enrichment teams are using it for all different features, the concierge, our front desk is using it, and our leaders, you name it. And so that was really a great way to have one system streamline all of these different entities that really helped to connect all of us and have everyone be “in the loop” about what things are going on with the tap of a button. And so that was something that was really important. Also when we think outside of the actual community use, and incorporate the family portal and the resident portal, this was a unique feature that was really wonderful, especially with the content being available for residents in the portal and how much accessibility the families have as to some of what Grace was mentioning earlier as well. And so that was something that also really stood out as a great element to utilizing the system.

I will say that one of my favorite features is the—well I call it the chat feature. It's really the messaging, and I actually have a chat group, if you will, of all of our life enrichment leaders. This is a place where we all come and we can share ideas, champion one another, support one another, get feedback advice, and highlight special things happening in the communities to really have that—really take advantage, I would say, of all of the gifts and tenure of our life enrichment leaders right in our ministry. And so that's something that also really stood out to me that I was excited about that LifeLoop had. That also was a piece that helped us decide to go along with Lifeloop.

Paige Mantel: Yeah, no, those are really great examples of unique and different ways to look at this as a comprehensive suite that connects your staff at all of the Franciscan Ministries communities. Being able to share those best practices within the system and communicate that way. I know you mentioned it about how important it is for the residents and family members to have access to this technology. Tell me a little bit more about what mattered most to you in that, you know. Were you concerned about the adoption of technology by residents that might be a little tech-averse still, or you know, usability? What were some of the things that were important to you?

Constance Brasher: One was not having another system for system’s sake. What I mentioned before about having one system that really streamlined a lot of different entities that are incorporated with different departments. That was really important, that, “How efficient will this make us?” you know. “How can we go from multiple different, for example, life enrichment platforms to one or fewer.” So that was something that was important.

Another piece is the community engagement piece. It's one thing to have systems that we do behind the scenes from an Admin standpoint but to also have that dimension that really is directly focused on the residents themselves through all of the content and being able to put in their own work requests, their own transportation requests was something that again, part of having that resident portal was really important. And I think that it’s all very unique, what you mentioned about the adoption of technology that a lot of that, I think, comes with being aware that that could be something that might be an issue. But it is something still that is an evolution of our field, and so I don't want—I would never want us to act in fear to incorporate something that could be really meaningful, and impactful. And so that really wasn't too much of a hindrance, but more of something that we had to be uber aware of as we were considering how the rollout would look, how we're communicating about it, and additional support we can give as people are learning about it.

Paige Mantel: Right. I love your strategy of making sure that “We're going to help evolve, help innovate and we're going to support the process—to reduce the fear to ease people into it. You're teaching them and engaging them in new skills and technology which is also hugely beneficial for your residents.

Constance Brasher: Absolutely.

Paige Mantel: So let's go back to when you first started, you mentioned that you had a few communities that were using the LifeLoop operations and communication solution. And then you expanded that more broadly to all the communities you added the iN2L content that's available now on any smart device so that everybody could have access to it. How do you feel the combination has elevated your ability to deliver those amazing experiences that you do for your residents, staff, and family members? Constance, let's start with you on that.

Constance Brasher: Okay great, so two main things that really do stand out to me with this question. One is our residents are just like us despite them being much older, right? They're not cookie-cutter, right? They all have different ways in which they find joy. They want to thrive or feel that they're thriving in life. What does quality of life mean to them? And sometimes that's not a large group. Sometimes that's not even a small group. And so one thing that the content does especially on devices, is allow more flexibility to really personalize the experience from resident to resident. So, when there are residents that just don't thrive or they don't feel as comfortable, or they're just not interested in being in that larger group, for example, that's on a planned scheduled calendar, they can take out their own device, or we can provide them with the device, and they can have it in their room if they want to. They can utilize it in any other private space that they would like to use it and still have so much right at their fingertips to utilize at any time. So I think that that's one piece: that flexibility.

Another piece from a staff standpoint, or what we call associates, is the notion of how we're able to use tablets to cast to our smart TVs. When we're doing our one-on-one engagement/ room visits with residents, we can bring a tablet right in. We can just play music, you know. It's something as simple as that or as basic as that. You know, those are things that allow for really broadening our reach to the different types of residents that we serve day in and day out to have that flexibility.

Paige Mantel: That's great. And, Grace, I'd love to hear your viewpoint on that within the community.

Grace Faurote: Yeah, absolutely, so definitely within the community, we have multiple recreational areas. And we love being able to have all of those rooms have LifeLoop. We have a spiritual room here, and then, you know, residents can use that spiritual aspect from the content and then, like Constance said in their rooms, doing one-on-ones. But then I love being able to see residents getting together during off times with non-scheduled activities, using LifeLoop and its content, the games, and music together. That's a great, great feature. And then on our memory support, it's just crucial, being able to redirect and have that calming space in our little quiet den, and be able to use the music and content there. But then also just the liveliness and games that we can use with them, too, to keep them interacted—and active.

Paige Mantel: I love it. You shared a little bit about some of the day that you have, but walk us through a typical day at your community. How you're using LifeLoop and just, you know, give me some examples. I'd love to hear some examples of how you're engaging participants.

Grace Faurote: Absolutely. The messaging app portion is crucial in our departments. Every single manager is using those to communicate with family and residents. They love it because they don't have to come down to our office. They can just shoot us a text and they know it's all on our phones, everywhere. So that's one of the main things. The other major thing we really utilize here is the transportation and work requests. My maintenance guys don't do anything outside of LifeLoop work requests unless they're just stopped in the hallway. It's a way that I can track it as well to see what's going on in the community maintenance-wise, where our bus is at, and then I use the calendar every day. I like to be active and out in the community with the residents and doing the activities with them. So that gives me the chance to kind of look at the schedule and look at my schedule and see where I can fit in to go, hang out with them, and do those activities that LifeLoop gives to us.

Paige Mantel: Great, that's excellent. I love how you really get the most out of the solution by really using all of the many features; those great examples of that and how to use it with best practices. You mentioned a little bit about connecting families, and obviously, that is such an important connection point for senior living overall and reducing isolation and loneliness and all of that. Let's dive into, you know, knowing how important that is—what have been some of the challenges you've overcome to keep family members so connected at Astral at Auburn to their loved ones?

Grace Faurote: Absolutely. One of the main things that we see here is, we have a lot of people that move from out of state to be closer to one child. So you know you have children out of state that are feeling that disconnect from Mom and Dad. They might have been in the same state before and now, you know, they're getting phone calls and visiting every so often LifeLoop has been able to give them the opportunity to see those photos of Mom or Dad taking part in the activities.

They can see what we're doing activity-wise. They can message any of the department heads with any concerns you might have. Just having that distance definitely creates concern. And so that keeps them well-connected. I absolutely love to use the announcements in the newsletter as well. We do a newsletter each month that goes out to them that I can, you know, update them on what events we're having and maybe encourage them to book that flight to come back to partake in some of those fun activities and just really stay connected with them. I love that they can put in the work requests and things. So even if the residents aren't bringing the concern to us, those family members can put in that work request and get those things fixed for Mom or Dad from afar.

Paige Mantel: That's great. It's great to hear how involved family members are, and all of those activities for you. Constance, with your experience across all of Franciscan Ministries, utilizing LifeLoop to connect residents and family members. What are some of the strategies and tactics that you've put into place to achieve those connections?

Constance Brasher: Well, I will say that—and a little bit goes off of what you were mentioning earlier about the fear a little bit of technology—some of our communities, especially some of our newer managed communities through Franciscan Advisory Services were able to come in from the beginning and really start to embrace things and get used to it right away. Whereas some of our other communities, you know, are more traditional right? Where there's more paper involved or multiple systems and they are just getting used to things in a different way. And so being able to continue to communicate the importance of really, the why? Why is this a great tool for communication? With a click of a button, you can send it out to all your families right away, and you're already in LifeLoop every day, depending on your position. So you get a little alert and you get a message back, or sending out something. So being able to communicate the importance behind all of these features is really important.

Another piece is when we think about whole-person wellness for all of our residents, the clinical side typically in the healthcare industry, is what really is the driving piece. Although very important, as of course it is, it doesn't fully complete the circle. Right? The whole person. Just like us. We're not—we don't start and stop with our chronic conditions or diagnoses, etc. Neither do the residents we serve. And so with that being said, there is a need for having the system to really show the full extent of how we're impacting residents. So yes, from a clinical standpoint, extremely important. But also here's the other side of what makes our residents who they are. And here's how we can support them in this way. So it's more, again, than just bringing on a system for system’s sake, but being able to make sure we're communicating the right message about why this is important and what efficiency and effectiveness it has on the communities.

Paige Mantel: Yeah. Great examples from both of you of the importance of having a clear strategy, building the process and the context, making sure when you're training and educating your staff and the family members on the value and use of these technology solutions that that's how they get used. And obviously, Grace, you've got, you know, you shared a little bit about some of the great examples of family members really being delighted by having that ease of communication, so really great examples of how to keep those family members connected.

Then our last few minutes, I want to jump to Constance. You were one of our pilot customers for the new product that we launched earlier this year: LifeLoop Insight. So first of all, thank you for being a pilot customer and giving us so much great feedback and input on how to make that a great product that especially folks like you that have oversight of multiple communities can offer. It's so important to have data and insight. So I would love to hear, you know, from you—what's your view on that product, how impactful it is, and the ability to see and leverage community performance data that comes through that product.

Constance Brasher: Well, yes. To that immediate question, it definitely is having objective data, to really help decision-making help to provide support to communities. And when I talk to the life enrichment leaders about it, first and foremost, it's not to be punitive, really, it's to be informational. It's something that is important for us to understand, so that we can continue to grow and evolve and enhance, and all those things that are important that we want to do on a daily basis, and especially as we continue to get new residents that join our communities, and how they bring a different perspective or different personality to the communities. How are we adjusting to that?

It also is a great way to get recommendations. I think that's one thing that's really great from LifeLoop, especially when I think about templates and all that through the LifeLoop library, and all of that. But through the insights feature that I'm able to use, having those recommendations that you all are able to extrapolate from the information that you gather from each community and each level, at a care level is really useful.

Then the fact that it also addresses not just resident participation, but also staff usage or associate usage, and family usage. “How many photos were uploaded?” I mean, it really gets to the nitty gritty to really feel like everything you're doing matters. You're actually seeing this come out in data that can really help strive for best practices and what we're providing. So I really think that it's something that, especially for leaders that are overseeing multiple communities, you're able to see something like this—with again a click of a button for one of the features—to then have all of this data right at your fingertips to move forward and support the communities best.

Paige Mantel: I love that, and I know we're out of time, but I have one last question. I'd like to ask each of you—We have a lot of people in the audience that might be starting their journey of implementing technology or thinking about and deciding to, or ones that are using technology but want to continue to improve the impact of it. What advice do you have for organizations that are looking to roll it out and continue to enhance their communities with technology? Constance, why don't we start with you, and then we’ll throw it over to Grace.

Constance Brasher: Okay. Well, I definitely would say as I mentioned earlier, this is a community engagement system, not a life enrichment or activity department system only. So making sure that all leaders, all departments, are fully involved and engaged in the entire process is, going to be really important as you continue to go along and adapt to the system. I also will say overcommunicate. There are a lot of different features, but it can sometimes be very overwhelming at first so you can't really repeat things too much, because, you know, one group may not hear. Another group may only hear partial, so continue to communicate all the time what's needed. What trainings—what resources are new coming out for the system? To make sure people are always up to date and feeling comfortable with not only who is the subject-at-matter expert of your community, but also what is available to them to help make their job more efficient.

And lastly, I would say, patience and grace. Not, Grace you, but grace. In general, grace because it is a lot for our families, for our residents, and for our team members. It is a lot to transition to a new way of doing things, new processes. So making sure that there is a lot of patience, a lot of grace being given as people are adapting to this new system, and new ways of doing things will really help to just be a little bit more empathetic and supportive as people go through or come up to roadblocks and some barriers that they may feel trying something new. That's what I would say.

Paige Mantel: That's amazing advice, very helpful. Alright, we'll go over to Grace. What advice do you have?

Grace Faurote: Kind of to piggyback off of Constance, I would say that communication piece for your current residents that you have.  We held informational sessions for families as well as residents. Pull it up on the big screen. Show them how to do it. You know, there are those visual learners that need to see it to be able to understand. So do that with the residents’ families. We also pulled our staff in and showed them all that they can do, e.g., “If you're struggling with a residence and a behavior, pull this out. Here's a redirection tool.” You know, LifeLoop is great for that. As well as then for your new residents make sure your sales team is adopting LifeLoop and loving it as much as everybody else. And so we actually have profiles set up for a fake family member and a fake resident. We're able to pull those up and show those people that are looking at our community, what we offer, and how great it can be, and a lot of the times, that can be a huge point. Because, like I said, you know, we have people that come from out of state, and if they can know that they can be connected to Mom or Dad a little closer than what they initially thought, it might make that transition a little easier to know that they're going to have that communication tool.

Paige Mantel: I love that advice of showing them exactly what it's going to look like once it is in the community, and being able to continue to easily stay in touch. Great advice from both of you.

You know this has been a phenomenal—now 35 minutes. I know we went over, but just the conversation was so amazing, and the insights are so helpful, so Constance and Grace, thank you so much for joining us today and sharing so much of your thoughts, advice, and expertise with all of us here. And to all of our participants on the call today, thank you so much for joining and engaging with us. Our next webinar is going to be on August 14th with another Communities That Shine winner, New Perspective Senior Living. I hope you’ll all join us for that, and for those of you that are interested in learning more about LifeLoop products, and the LifeLoop Insights product, please let us know by answering the questions in our post-webinar survey that'll show up on your screen right when we finish this webinar. Our team would be happy to follow up and answer any questions and share a personalized demo for you. So thank you everybody, again, and have a wonderful day.


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