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#261012 - 04/05/09 09:44 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Great post here Bill....really good post! I'm sure many here got a mouthful from a real pro!

Quote:
Originally posted by Bill in Dayton:
From doing this 14 years or so, I have some thoughts on this...

1) Being left alone: We should never, ever be left alone during an activity. When I'm left alone, I make sure to alert the AD that I'm not comfortable with it.

2) Inattentiveness of Activity Staff: usually I'll just calmly announce over the mic that "Joe" needs a hand getting back to his seat, can you help him?" Usually does the trick...

3) Attendees talking loudly/interrupting the show: if its just two employees gabbing rudely with each other, I'll point them out and invite them to come up front and help me out.

4) Serving of food: Doesn't bother me in the least.

5) In the US, we have something called "HIPPA" which protects patients privacy. You should know that it is a violation of the HIPPA code for a nurse to administer any meds to a resident during an activity.

6) Billing: Yes, this isn't nearly as efficient as it should be. Any payment rendered within 30-45 days is very reasonable. The important thing for me is an awareness of how a particular client processes check requests. If I'm told it'll be in my hands in 30 days, that's great-I'll plan accordingly. If the standard is to hand it to me that day, and then you tell me "Oh by the way, I don't have your check, because XXXXXXXXX...." Well, I'm not happy about it. Contracts can help sometimes. In my area, most clients will throw up on their shoes if you start asking them for contracts. In other areas, like where Mr. Diamond is, contracts are common.

For most of the issues you mentioned, a cordial chat with your activity director should help...

Cheers-



1)That's going to be my first "change" by necessity at this point!

2)How on Earth did I not think of something as simple as that? Another change coming up!

3)With this situation, I'm going to do what one of my friends does. He raises his voice and forcefully asks them to stop talking...that they're interfering with his performance!

4) Bill, the "jury is still out for me on this one"...been wrestling with it for a while now! My attitude on this is: Why should the residents only have 60 minutes of music and then it's all over? Why shouldn't they have 60 minutes of music and then 30 minutes of ice cream and cake for a total of 90 minutes? I'm still interested in hearing opinions on this.

5) That's very interesting. I wasn't aware of that. That IS one of my "annoyances." Often enough they think nothing of meandering through my audience looking for "victims."

6) I just have one thing to add about getting your check. It's becoming a nightmare trying to keep track of them. First you leave an invoice or FAX it over, it sometimes gets lost due to inattention, you don't find out your check is "not in the system" for another month when you don't get it! Then you have to start the whole process all over again. Where I live they're very sloppy about the whole thing, and you can't tell the AD's where to get off if you value your rest-of-the-year bookings.

Lucky

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#261013 - 04/05/09 09:46 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill in Dayton:
I think all that Lucky was getting at was things that can cause distractions during a program where we're trying our best to provide these terrific folks some entertainment and diversion during their day.



Thanks again, Bill. That IS what I meant!

Lucky

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#261014 - 04/05/09 09:55 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Quote:
Originally posted by Dnj:
It's amazing how every discussion ends in argument


Donny.......my exact thoughts. I opened up this discussion NOT to "dump" but to get some constructive ideas about what others are going through playing the senior places. It seems you can't get beyond 2-3 posts before the thread "goes South."

Sometimes I wonder are folks here to play music and get better at it, or are they here just to twist the posts around so they can validate and support some rebuttal that has nothing to do with the original post!

Lucky

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#261015 - 04/05/09 09:59 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Quote:
Originally posted by Beakybird:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Diki:

And, I'm sorry, but although I am Christian, I would have no problem playing a Jewish hymn or song if requested...

I previously posted that I do play Amazing Grace when it's requested, but otherwise, being Jewish, I don't gravitate towards Church songs. I don't do them unless I know them and it's requested.

Anyway, back to the thread, I get annoyed by so many things - mostly because of a big ego, but it goes with the territory when you're a small fry in professional music. I mean Bruce Springstein can specify in his contract what brand of yogurt and what flavor is in the fridge. I'm lucky if they bring me a glass of water after I've requested one.

Beakybird


Hey Beaky....nice humble response....I love "humble!"

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#261016 - 04/05/09 10:10 PM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Lucky2Bhere Offline
Member

Registered: 03/04/06
Posts: 533
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill in Dayton:
I think some of you guys are being a little unfair to Larry. He's already said he DOES play Amazing Grace and other Christian based hymns when they're requested. I have no earthly clue where the perception that he's afraid to play Amazing Grace comes from.

Larry has a full schedule performing in his very competitive market. Apparently he is satisfying both the activity directors and the residents.

John-I respect your views on servicing the aged. I agree with much of what you said. I've visited with so many wonderful older folks through the years that I've been playing for them, I can't come close to recalling them all. One thing does seem to be a constant with them. They do not want to be treated like a nursing home patient who is in the last stage of their life. There's enough staff / family around to do that, lol...

Rather, they want to have fun and reminisce about their happier times-whatever/whenever they might be. We as musicians take them on a trip down memory lane. If we're good at what we do, we should be able to divert their attention for an hour back to those better days.

Yes, our audiences should be respected and honored at all times. No question about it. I personally think that if all the staff people we see when we're at these facilities did their jobs as well as we do ours, the residents would fare far better. Fact is, some of the aids, nurses and yes---Activity Directors---are lousy and disinterested in their jobs and the patients pay the freight for that. Stupid stuff happens all the time. What Larry described with the priest is off the wall. In 14 years and 380+ shows per year (about 5400 jobs in all) I've never seen what he described. If Gary or Donny or Zuki or Larry or I told that tale to most of our activity directors they'd just shake their heads.

Gord-How many performances do you do in a month? Do you simply refuse to take on any accounts that won't/can't pay you on the day of the event? We'd all like to be paid the day we play, but when you get to the point that you're doing this 30+ times a month, IMO you're bound to come across a handful of clients who's accounting system isn't set up to pay entertainers on the day of the performance. I'd estimate that at least 60% of my accounts pay within 15-30 days after the job, which in the business world is fairly quick.

You also mentioned you don't use invoices, which is also surprising. In this area, (Dayton, OH), most of my clients do require invoices.






Bill...I really had to comment on this one last post of yours. You've really got your finger on the pulse with most everything you said here.

Again, I live in a highly congested area where musicians don't share ANYTHING with each other. Truth is I don't think most of them even think....OR.....think about anything but their paycheck!

Reading what you wrote here is pretty much everything I go through. Nice to hear someone else does too, though I just wish it weren't that way and we were free to concentrate on the playing.

Lucky

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#261017 - 04/06/09 12:05 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
Quote:
Originally posted by Lucky2Bhere:

3)With this situation, I'm going to do what one of my friends does. He raises his voice and forcefully asks them to stop talking...that they're interfering with his performance!

4) Bill, the "jury is still out for me on this one"...been wrestling with it for a while now! My attitude on this is: Why should the residents only have 60 minutes of music and then it's all over? Why shouldn't they have 60 minutes of music and then 30 minutes of ice cream and cake for a total of 90 minutes? I'm still interested in hearing opinions on this.

5) That's very interesting. I wasn't aware of that. That IS one of my "annoyances." Often enough they think nothing of meandering through my audience looking for "victims."

6) I just have one thing to add about getting your check. It's becoming a nightmare trying to keep track of them. First you leave an invoice or FAX it over, it sometimes gets lost due to inattention, you don't find out your check is "not in the system" for another month when you don't get it! Then you have to start the whole process all over again. Where I live they're very sloppy about the whole thing, and you can't tell the AD's where to get off if you value your rest-of-the-year bookings.

Lucky

[/B]


Comments on...

#3) You get more bees with honey than vinegar, Larry. I would NOT do what your friend does as it sounds a little confrontational and borderline rude. I try to...in what I've been told is more of a charming/cutesy way give them a friendly, lighthearted "hint" that I would kind of like them to perhaps stop talking. I never know for certain what they're talking about, but I have pretty good instincts.

#4) There's a few reasons for most of the programs maxing out at an hour.

*Comfort of residents: Rest room issues, butt issues (as in sitting too long on their butts is uncomfortable), etc...

*Logistics: Most nursing homes we play at put us in the dining room right? We usually start at 2:00pm/2:30pm, right? That means an hour program wraps up at 3:30pm, and with cleanup...now you're looking at 4:00pm. Dietary/foodservice has a job to do too and we need to clear out of Dodge so they can set the dining room up and get ready for dinner, which is usually serving around 5:00pm...

#5) I wouldn't think of them as "looking for victims." Aids and nurses have tough jobs to do and they're typically overloaded with more patients they (Or the State, quite often) want them taking care of. Its not just mgt. trying to squeeze payroll...look how often you see "NOW HIRING" signs on the marquees, front door, etc. My wife used to work at a nursing home on her way up the nursing ladder. Sure, there are times when they use poor judgment ...absolutely...

#6) I use Quickbooks for my accounting software and I'd be lost without it. There's several quality, affordable products available which can really streamline things. Typically, they'll also provide you with valuable reports about sales, customer activity, trends etc.



------------------
Bill in Dayton
_________________________
Bill in Dayton

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#261018 - 04/06/09 08:48 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
I don't play nursing homes or assisted living places at all. I've been the primary caregiver for two family members for 15 years.

"For profit" establishments, in my opinion, are the "bottom of the barrel" when it comes to medical related issues. And, the problems are not related to the prices charged or the income/wealth of the resident. Most places are sub-standard, at best. That's part of the problem. "For profit" places fight as hard as they can to avoid establishment of care standards.

I can see that it would be a good thing to bring a little enjoyment to residents, but I decided to get very active in working towards legislation changes to try to get a handle on
blatent incompetency, lack of compassion and a focus on profits above all else.

I choose to donate the proceeds of one job a week ($250+) to a group that lobbies for increased training, oversight and overall accountability. This way, an individual makes the check out to the 501(c), so it is tax deductible. Last year, the donation was over $13,000.00. I kick in another $12,000.00 from my pocket.

The nursing home and senior care lobby is strong and well-funded. What a shame they don't devote some of the millions in funds spent on their lobby efforts to improve care.

I pop into nursing homes every day, and the problems are blatent and potentially life threatening. I have done this for over 15 years.

Things may look fine when you visit casually. When you look at state inspection ratings or the newly established Federal rating system, you find that things are not as they seem at first glance.

I can't in good conscious accept payment for playing and, by "osmosis" be a part of most of these despicable places.

It is a national trajedy, and I'm working with a lot of very dedicated people nationally to do what we can to fix it.

Our seniors deserve much better treatment than they're getting.

Sorry for the rant....

Russ

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#261019 - 04/06/09 08:59 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
Quote:
Originally posted by captain Russ:
I can't in good conscious accept payment for playing and, by "osmosis" be a part of most of these despicable places.

Russ


I applaud your charitable work towards improving this industry. To put one's money where your mouth is deserves credit.

I would ask you to reconsider not sharing your skills with these folks however. The residents in the wheelchairs, or in the beds surely aren't culpable in the "dirty business" of the bean counters, are they?

IMO, they aren't in any way shape or form.

So, take all the frustration and contempt you feel towards the upper mgt. types and what you have left is a lot of good people trying to get through the day...Both patients and staff alike.

I don't think its an "either/or" situation. You could absolutely positively impact many residents lives with your talents and then divert the same money they pay you with to the reform effort you feel so strongly about.

I agree totally with what you say about "a closer look" not being so pretty as the fancy lobby or well groomed lawns. But joy is joy, man...

You don't think the people in your area would benefit from your playing for them?

Sure they would...In this instance, you can have your cake AND eat it too...

Again, great work with the donations you make...



------------------
Bill in Dayton
_________________________
Bill in Dayton

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#261020 - 04/06/09 09:33 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7291
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
Bill, the nusing homes and assisted living facilities around here pay $100.00 for an hour. My private jobs (where the donatios come from) pay $250.00 minimum, so my contribution to the legislation effort is much stronger by doing it my way. Plus, there seems to be plenty of folks who either "volunteer" or play for little or nothing. I've heard a lot and most are awful.

Besides, I'm well known in all area homes. They know why I'm there. They get really uncomfortable at bad ones when I show up. I've had several shut down for out-and-out abuse. And, things often improve when I point out omissions. Recently, for instance, I wrote the administration of a VA (actually, a for profit place contracted to the State of Kentucky who contracts with the Federal Government to care for vets) about the elimination of bibs at all meals and the feeding of pork products to a resident who wasn't supposed to get it (it was right on his meal ticket, but ignored).
One place only gives liquid to residents at meals if I get on their case. Some residents have been hospitalized multiple times with dehydration just this year. I write trip reports detailing the neglect and abuses and have testified at Senate hearings on the matter. I literally can't be in most of these places 10 minutes without spotting neglect and, often, abuse.

My time is much better served by working towards changes in training and care level requirements.

I have favorites at each home I visit. I take each one of them treats. I know what they like and what they can have (diabetic situations, etc.). I replace missing-worn out clothes, buy TV's where families are responsible for supplying them, etc.

Understand, I think anyone who plays for residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities is doing a good thing.

Making these places better has become a major focus of my life. And to do that, I devote about 20 hours a week on-site.

I want the jerks who run some of these places to look twice when I walk in. And, I don't think they'd offer me a paying job or do anything to encourage additional visits.

And I intend to work as hard and as long as I can to get standards in place across the industry to correct rampant problems.


Russ



[This message has been edited by captain Russ (edited 04-06-2009).]

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#261021 - 04/07/09 05:57 AM Re: Senior care facilities and comments on annoyances
Caragabal Offline
Member

Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 320
Loc: Hobart Tasmania Australia
Captain Russ this is a world wide problem here
in Australia is a case in point,

I have a 34 year old quad. son who goes into nursing homes to give my wife and I respite twice a year and I wince as the time approaches for him to go in.

Some are better than others.

At one establishment where he no longer goes he would stink when I visited him so I go and bath him twice a week when he is out of our care and take care of a little job for him while I am there.

He always has trouble with his bowels when he come home and it takes quite a while to get the routine back to normal.

I am 75 years old and I dread the time when we are no longer able to take care of him.

I do not know how you fit in all these good things you do and I admire you for it.

Cousin Ken

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