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LifeLoop Customer Spotlight: Children's Respite Care Center

August 09, 2021Madison Siniard

The LifeLoop team works hard to deliver a great product. But, it's our customers that truly realize the platform's potential.

The Children’s Respite Care Center (CRCC) in Omaha, Nebraska is proving that LifeLoop can be altered to fit any company’s needs and CRCC’s needs are a bit different than LifeLoop’s usual customer. Anne Constantino, President and CEO and Morgan Grot, Chief of Operations shared with us how they were able to make LifeLoop work for them as they care for children ages 6 months to 21 years of all abilities including ones with complex medical needs.

Past to Present

CRCC was started 30 years ago by two sisters Christine Johnson, a nurse, and Terri Fitzgerald, a teacher. Christine was working with children with very complex medical situations and when it was time for the child to be discharged, families started to look for a solution to help maintain care for their child and allow the parents to continue to go to work to support their families. They soon found that there was nowhere in Omaha that suited their child’s medical needs. This was when Terri and Christine decided to start a nonprofit to help these families.

Numbers grew very quickly and CRCC began to thrive. They started a plethora of different programs to be available to families whenever they were needed such as before and after school care, weekend programs, summer programs, and occupational, speech and feeding, and physical therapies. In 2017, CRCC moved forward with the steps to integrate education services into their buildings. They now have certified special education teachers who are qualified to support children with individualized education plans.

The Missing Piece

For CRCC, documentation is extremely important for the families to keep up-to-date about their child’s activities, progress, meals, naps, and various therapies. As a care facility for children with special needs, CRCC is also required by the state to keep detailed documentation about the care process. Previously, they had been managing their documentation process on paper. Each day, the teacher would write down important information and put it in the child’s backpack and trust that it would end up in the parent’s hands at the end of the day. “We’ve always known we needed to have a better way to communicate in real-time with families, because little things like what the child eats and how they eat can affect the whole rest of their day,” said Morgan.

As they began to search for a HIPAA compliant technology partner, Anne and Morgan knew they needed something that created efficiencies for teachers, staff, nursing, and therapists but would also give families the access and ease of communication they desired. “I don’t want parents to come and pick up their child at the end of the day and hear anything new except it was a wonderful day, we loved to see them and we can’t wait for them to come tomorrow. Unless it happened within 15 minutes of the parent picking them up, they should have already been notified through LifeLoop.” Morgan said. “We didn’t have a clue of the full picture of what LifeLoop was going to be able to do for us,” added Anne. “The difference it was going to make in our operations, the difference it was going to make in our culture, the difference it was going to make for our families. Continuing to build that trust with the families in a way that has exceeded what we thought it was going to do. So, it’s been pretty great.”

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A New Way of Communication

So how did CRCC take a product created for senior living communities and adjust it to meet their specific needs? Early on in the onboarding process, CRCC set an expectation for their teachers, nurses, therapists, and staff, that everything goes into LifeLoop for two reasons; it lets the parents know immediately what and how their child is doing, and it also provides great documentation from an operational perspective.

From a logistics standpoint, they created calendars for each classroom to keep everything organized and relied heavily on LifeLoop’s personal activity functionality. They use personal activities to document meals, diaper changes, nursing cares, therapies and activities on an hourly basis. Not only does this allow parents to view these updates in real-time, but it also allows the teachers and therapists to document important notes and instructions for parents to continue care at home. “Lifeloop opens up the dialog between the therapists, nurses, teachers, and the families to truly have that conversation virtually, to make sure that we're working together to help maximize their child's potential,” said Anne. “It allows the families to have the information right on their phone and continue the learning and therapy process at home.”

As all types of care facilities learned throughout 2020, great communication is an invaluable tool to build trust and repour with your families. The ability to be efficient and transparent with communication is one of the keys to building loyalty with your customers. “With LifeLoop, we were able to send immediate notifications about anything that was going on, and I know parents got it faster than they would get an email because they would reply immediately to me, and it was so nice for it to be on their phones and come up as a text message,” said Morgan.

The idea of access for all was one of the major reasons CRCC decided to utilize LifeLoop. But while ease and efficiency of communication is one of CRCC’s favorite benefits, they were quick to share some of the other features that have made an impact at the campuses. “Another thing that LifeLoop allows us to do that we were not able to do before is share pictures with the families. Because of HIPAA, we have to be careful about taking pictures on our phones and tablets of the kiddos,” said Morgan. “But with LifeLoop, it stores the photos completely separate and the families love that they can get pictures of their kids throughout the day.” On top of that, CRCC loves that they can have digital signage in their lobbies with activities, birthdays, and schedules for everyone to see. It’s another great way for parents and staff to stay in-the-know because they see it every day.

Peer Models & Behavior Health

One of the things that makes CRCC so special is their willingness to serve all types of children and their families, no matter their age. For their younger kids, CRCC follows an integrated model within their classrooms from birth to five years where 50% of the students in classes have special needs and 50% do not. This allows the children to learn from each other and become more accepting of people who have differences. “We need more of that acceptance in the world, and we feel like having our integrated model starting at such a young age gives us an opportunity to impact that in a positive way," Anne said. "We could give you example after example of the impact that peer models have had. They’re learning empathy, they’re learning compassion, they’re learning friendship, they’re learning that differences are good.”

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For kids who are older, CRCC also provides in-school behavior health services to school age kids. Through this program, kids can get mental health therapy by a CRCC LIMHP at school and help lessen the burden on parents needing to leave work during the day to make various appointments. “We have started using LifeLoop for our behavioral health school-based services this year. Sometimes we have high school kids forgetting about their appointments or not wanting to come down to therapy. So having the ability to send a reminder to both the student and the parent through LifeLoop that there is an upcoming visit and then being able to document the visit is really great for us,” Morgan said.

A Brighter Tomorrow

Without a doubt, the work CRCC is doing is truly amazing, and the difference they are making in the lives of these children and their families is evident. “Working with CRCC has been truly rewarding for us," said Natallia Jorgensen, Senior Customer Success Specialist at LifeLoop. "It’s always great when we get to work with clients who are so passionate about providing exceptional care and who are dedicated to being the best version of themselves.”

Throughout CRCC’s history, it can’t go unnoticed how they have always amplified the voices of Omaha’s children and their families. The resources they provide to the community and the work they do to help maintain and improve the health and well-being of their families is something we proudly support here at LifeLoop. To learn more about CRCC and the services they offer, visit: https://crccomaha.org/.

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Designed with you in mind, 'In The Loop’ is a blog offering industry insights, news, and ideas straight to your inbox. Each month we will share industry topics and provide tips on best practices for connecting with families, engaging with residents and streamlining operations.