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Individualizing Mornings

Facilitator Instructions for Starter Exercise

WHAT: This short personalized exercise is a conversation starter as you consider how to individualize mornings. It gives staff a personal understanding of the importance for each of us of our morning routine. As staff reflect on their own needs, they better understand their residents' needs and see how the change will benefit residents. Then they can think through how to make it happen.

WHY: Change is hard. Successful change requires discussion about why and how. Use this discussion to find out how the staff closest to the resident, who will implement a new approach, think it will work best. Have on-going discussions as the change evolves.

HOW: This guide includes discussion prompters to use after the personalized experience first to draw out staff's experience and reflections, and then to hear their ideas on how to do it. Allow time for each discussion. Hear from everyone. Ask for responses from quieter people. It may be tempting to brush off staff members who are openly skeptical, but putting into play major changes requires that concerns be welcomed as a contribution to the effort's success; get to the root of the concern, and note it as an area to keep an eye on.

RESOURCES: Toolkit Tip Sheet and Video Clip on Individualizing Mornings

Entire Toolkit and Webinar Series available at Pioneer Network store.

Preparation: Review tip sheet and video clip on Individualizing Mornings

Time: 20 - 30 minutes, depending on discussion time


To have staff personally understand the importance of our customary morning routines.

In pairs, share with their partner their response to this question:

What is your morning routine?

Instruct them to share step by step what they do from the time they wake up until the time they leave for work.

Allow a few minutes for their discussion.

Then ask:

What happens when your routine is interrupted? What is it like when you can't do things the way you usually do them?

Allow a few minutes for their discussion.

Ask volunteers to share what they talked about in response to the second question about disruption of their routine.

Comments will include that it sets off a bad start to the day, that it's hard to recover from.

Remind people of the expression, "getting up on the wrong side of the bed."


Each of us has our own routine in the morning. We're all different. But what we have in common is how we feel when we don't get to have our morning routine.

In pairs: share ways that they accommodate resident's morning routines now.
  • What works well?
  • What doesn't work well?
  • What would be an easy change to make that could do a lot of good?

Share in a go-round: Ask each pair to share one item that works well, one that doesn't, and one suggested change. Then ask the next pair to do the same. That way you'll hear from everyone. Keep going around until all the ideas are out. Note on the flip chart.

Begin the discussion on how to make it happen.


Where should we start?

What would we need to make this work?

Download Facilitator Instructions for Individualizing Mornings (PDF)

Starter Toolkit Home          Step One          Step Two          Step Three          Self-Assessment
Prepared by B&F Consulting for Pioneer Network's National Learning Collaborative on Using the MDS as the Engine for High Quality Individualized Care. Funded by The Retirement Research Foundation.