Busy, Busy, Busy … 2023 Has Flown By!

Mark Steitz

Wow! That happened fast! We are already in the middle of the holiday season. Can you believe it?! Time flies when you are busy, right? That is what Phoenix has been up to – staying BUSY customizing, building, and shipping you the best medication carts on the market! 2023 has been another record-breaking sales year, and the Phoenix team understands that our clients are the reason we celebrate an additional year of growth in our business. I believe I speak for each team member when I state how much we appreciate you for trusting us with your medication dispensing needs.

The holiday season certainly can be a wonderful time of the year, but, no doubt, there may be a few stressful moments in there too.

Below, you can find some ways to stay positive and not let the stress get to you.

  • Start a “grateful list” and add 1-2 items daily. If you’re feeling grateful for 5 things on a particular day, jot them all down! Not only will writing the list keep you mindful and, in the present, but reviewing the entries on a not-so-good day will help boost your spirits.
  • Take a quick break and write a thank you note. It’s such a rare occasion that we send paper correspondence anymore, but everyone likes to get mail that isn’t bills and to know they are appreciated.
  • Make a commitment to pray or meditate daily during the holiday season. While this is a joyful time of year, many of us feel pressured or stressed about having our celebrations go perfectly. Taking a few minutes each day to give devotion, sit in quiet contemplation, or clear your mind will help you be in the moment and enjoy the festivities more.

Thank you again, and from all of us at Phoenix, we extend the happiest of holiday wishes to one and all!

Better Safe Than Sorry!
By Mark Steitz, Vice President of Sales & Marketing

At Phoenix, it’s our job to design and manufacture medication dispensing carts with features and benefits the staff and caregivers of long-term care facilities, as well as the patients they care for, have come to rely on. As such, we’d like to share some reminders about medication storage and safety to keep in mind always, and especially throughout the holiday season.

During this time of the year, we enjoy visits from family and friends as we all gather to celebrate, and some of us could be the folks doing some traveling and visiting. All of these activities are exhilarating, but sometimes can be stressful, and that stress or anxiety can cause us to slack off on or even break a few of our good habits. One habit we want to make sure we always keep intact is medication safety, especially when children are around.

We all know to keep medications out of the reach of children, but a reminder never hurts. Up & Away, a joint PROTECT and CDC initiative, published an unfortunate statistic: nearly 35,000 children are admitted to the emergency room annually due to unintentionally taking medication. When traveling, keep all meds up high and out of reach as you unpack your suitcase and during your stay. The same is true when you have little visitors in your home – kid-proof your medicine cabinet, in addition to anywhere else you may store vitamins and supplements too.

Be sure to store medications in their original container with all of the original prescription information, And this goes for over-the-counter meds also. They are all typically in childproof packaging and have all the vital medication information (including directions when we need that little reminder).

A Patient Needs This Med... STAT!

Keep those medications locked up! Locking them up at home is recommended, especially for narcotics and other dangerous medications. Hey, that reminds us! For your LTC facilities’ medication management needs, we have med-cart solutions from basic and durable to trackable-keyless locking systems. In addition, our ADS solution, StatSafe, has a base open-matrix price that starts under $6,000 to a 330 exchangeable StatCube system with auxiliary storage. The StatSafe-capable interface provides all of the information in a timely manner to keep things running smoothly and efficiently during the sometimes stressful and busy holiday season at your facility.

Medications can be a bit delicate, and it is recommended they be stored in a cool, dry place. Heat, light, and moisture may cause damage or affect the potency. The medication manufacturer’s website can be consulted for more specific information.

We’re probably preaching to the choir here when we remind you to check expiration dates. If you’re like us, you always do this when you pick up your prescription, or purchase vitamins, supplements, or over-the-counter meds, but do you remember to check them after they’ve been in your home for a while? When you’re finished reading our newsletter, you might want to take a few minutes to check the expiration dates (especially of those you don’t use often or regularly) and toss out any that have expired.

We wish you a safe, Up & Away, fun, stressless holiday season!

Introducing Sonia Navarro

Sonia Navarro has been with Phoenix LTC for 6.5 years and is a Customer Service Lead. She oversees the customer service department and data entry functions.

The most common support inquiries that customers mention to her include questions about orders, quotes, pricing, and sales. In addition to handling those, she quickly addresses any problems customers may encounter and they are always appreciative of how fast their issues were resolved”.

Sonia loves getting to work with different people and being a mentor. She enjoys helping her teammates and watching their growth within the company. Sonia feels satisfied when the customer is happy, and she gives 150% toward that goal while successfully multitasking and problem solving.

When she’s not at work and sometimes even when she is, she LOVES to dance – anytime, anywhere – which has led her mom to say, “She came out of the womb dancing!”

Sonia Navarro

Patient Safety and ADCs
By Bruce Smith, Vice President of Sales – Canada

Patient safety is always top of mind whether in an acute or long-term care setting, and that’s why I wanted to provide some insights into how important Automated Dispensing Cabinets (ADCs) are to patient safety. They play an important role in the safe medication supply chain to the patient bedside.

On this topic, I provide full disclosure that I am not an expert in medication safety as it relates to ADCs, but I have career experience and the hands-on practical knowledge of the medication supply chain. My experience with ADCs stretches over 25 years, and I have worked with three ADC manufacturers, thousands of ADC installations in North America, hundreds of ADC presentations, hundreds of bid responses, etc. in that time.

One item that I would like to focus on is the lack of medication safety and medication management in the long-term care market. This is not about the great LTC staff nursing, support staff, and their dedicated hard work, or about the pharmacy providers, it is all about the lack of medication supply chain management when it comes to managing, tracking, tracing, and accounting for narcotics and high-risk medications.

patient safety

Today, in most long-term care homes, most high-risk medications are kept in what is termed as “a medication tackle box”. Yes, basically a fishing tackle box with a key lock for security. Without going into too much detail, I think anyone can see that managing medications via “tackle box” puts both patients and nursing staff in an unsafe environment. If a patient does require a narcotic which is usually provided in an emergency situation, who is accountable for having the right medication, the right dose, a medication that has not expired after use date, and other concerns? Again, the “tackle box” medication management process is certainly a failure point in keeping the patients safe and also keeping the clinical staff safe from any punitive and libelous outcomes.

This is where ADCs come into play for the long-term care environment. One question that is always top-of-mind is why does almost every acute care or hospital facility manage the medications with ADCs and only about 5-10% long-term facilities do not have any technology supporting their high-risk medication management? Another question is why do some Canadian provinces (like Ontario) advocate safe medication products (like ADCs) and provide funding for better safe medication practices, but why are other provinces are ok with the tackle box-type solution for medication management?

I am looking forward to our next newsletter and providing more insights into patient safety relative to medication management in our long-term care homes. We hope you’ll continue asking these questions with us, as they closely relate to patient safety and successful outcomes.

It’s the time of year for generosity! Bergmann Group, the parent company of Phoenix LTC, contributed 100,000 meals this year to support the Feed My Starving Children organization

A Patient Needs This Med... STAT!

Make Sure Your Employees Feel Appreciated During the Holidays

The holidays present a challenging time, and many of us are trying to maintain some sense of normalcy even though the pressures of the season are upon us. Your team members may be worried about themselves or a family member getting sick, and how they will cope if that happens. Now is the perfect time to let them know how much you appreciate their contributions, and below are some small but effective ways to do so.

Recognize a Job Well Done

The purpose of one of the most meaningful and motivating verbal or written conversations you can initiate is to say ‘thank you’ to your team members. Don Draper in Mad Men had a different approach. When confronted by a highly effective and talented employee about never saying thank you, his reply was a very loud and angry “That’s what the money is for!” As you can imagine, this didn’t go over well with his hard-working protege, who left the advertising firm shortly thereafter. While this is a fictional portrayal from a TV show, it clearly illustrates a real-world desire to feel gratitude for working diligently. It is not only nice to hear, but it may also be hoped for. There is no downside to sharing this impactful sentiment.

employee appreciation

Everybody Needs to Eat

When a team is working together in an office, the company having food catered is always a crowd-pleasing surprise. Even a few years after the pandemic, more people are working remotely and juggling home and career demands during the same hours, which means now is the perfect time to treat team members to a meal or snack delivered right to their houses. Something as easy and cost-effective as sending over a pizza for dinner means the employee doesn’t have to worry about making dinner that night, taking energy from stress and making it available to put toward work. For a fancier alternative that will require more individualized attention, consider utilizing apps that deliver servings of restaurant food, or home-delivered meal services for even more benefits to your team members.

Allowance for Remote Working Environments

It’s happened to every one of us – you sit down to work on a project at home, and either your child is suddenly hungry, your dog needs to go out, or something else unexpected happens in the household that requires immediate attention. Whenever possible, flexible scheduling should be a part of your business response to changes in the past few years. For example, if a hard deadline needs to be met, as long as doing so would not cause the work to suffer, and any necessary collaboration can continue, allowing tasks to be completed when it is most convenient for your remote workers is a way to show trust, understanding, and support. Non-business hours might work better on some days for certain people – such as completing tasks after the kids are put to bed, or before the rest of the house wakes up – and a company being less stringent about when work needs to be in progress would be a great help.

Let Them Choose

Whether you believe “cash is king” or gift cards / certificates are the ultimate in convenience, giving team members a thoughtful surprise that they can customize to fit their preferences is always a great choice. Both are technically financial incentives, and usually done once a year for holidays, performance bonuses, or special events like birthdays or start date anniversaries. In this time of uncertainty, a little monetary boost can go a long way, not only for your staff. Many small businesses are struggling due to the continued mandatory closures intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, and purchasing a gift card or certificate from them now adds resources to their coffers, which helps keep these economy drivers afloat until they can reopen to customers again. This idea to show appreciation is definitely a win-win for everyone!

Develop Team Members to Foster Community

It cannot be overstated how important self-leadership, interdependence, and skills-based knowledge are, especially at this challenging time, when the team is more separated due to social distancing and remotely working. Encourage confidence, empowerment, trust, and purpose in your employees through giving them project ownership and mentoring sessions over video conferencing. Make time to develop then employ skill-based knowledge, and you will see improvements in not only your team’s ability to work together, but in every link of the chain as well. The spirit of working together as a cohesive unit even when not together creates opportunities for individual and team growth and development.

Everyone Loves to See Their Name

One easy-to-implement way to show your appreciation involves something your company is probably doing a few times a week anyway – post on social media. When a new employee joins the team, you could introduce them on your social media channels. A nice way to jazz up the post and make it more engaging, as well as provide insight into whom your customers and vendors are working with, is to include a fun or interesting fact about the team member. Another reason to create a post centered around your employees is to celebrate milestones, such as birthdays and company-related anniversaries. When someone started with the company, was promoted, or participated in supporting a non-profit or other community-improving organization all demonstrate perfect opportunities to highlight an employee on your social platforms. In these posts, you could also include a photo (perhaps a headshot or the employee in the middle of a project). Be sure to write about your gratitude and appreciation for all their efforts, as that is especially nice for them to read. They’ll feel seen and know you value their contributions.

Ask, Listen, and Implement

It’s kind of a long-running joke used in sitcoms and movies, but the truth is that many employees feel like they have no say in their jobs and the higher-ups don’t give a hoot about their opinions. One of the best ways to show you do care is simply asking questions or asking for feedback. This can be done at any time, and the overall subject can really be anything about your organization or the employee experience. Mai Ton, Vice President of Human Resources at White Ops, had the following to say about this practice:

“We distribute a quarterly pulse survey [that] allows them to give us [anonymous] feedback about the company at a macro level. We ask a set of 15 questions around teamwork, leadership, career growth, etc. each quarter to measure movement in any dimension. Then we give them three open text boxes to answer the questions: What are we doing well? What do we need to improve? What else is on your mind? We get our results each month with an average participation rate of about 75 percent and have more than 225 lines of data from the responses to those three open-ended questions. This allows all employees to feel heard and want to contribute to making our company win.”

Whichever options you choose to implement, there are countless opportunities to show your employees you appreciate them, and there are few more appropriate times than a months-long-and-still-going-strong pandemic to do so. Let your team members know!

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Our medication management solutions, our staff, and our 24/7/365 urgent support team are here to make your experience extraordinary, safe, and smooth