The Benefits of Dress Rehearsal Events in New Behavioral Health Programs

By: Donna Demerjian

Yellow Brick has successfully facilitated over 350 Dress Rehearsal events in medical and behavioral health settings. These scenario-based exercises are an essential part of preparing a new program to open successfully. They provide staff a unique opportunity to simulate day-to-day operations, validate new workflow, and test the functionality of new equipment, systems, and technology in their new environment.

Planning for Dress Rehearsal begins several months before the actual event. During the event’s planning phase, our team of experienced transition and activation experts develops customized clinical scenarios that include updated operations and workflows, training, equipment, technology, and systems. The Yellow Brick team is on-site throughout the event to facilitate the scenarios and record any follow-up items. Dress Rehearsal events occur before the program opens, so there is ample time to resolve any identified operational gaps or facility issues during the exercises.

Dress Rehearsal events present unique opportunities for ensuring behavioral health programs are ready to open and successfully operate on Day 1 and beyond. Key benefits include the following:

Enhancing Staff Training

Research on adult learners, especially those in the healthcare field, indicates that hands-on, experiential learning is preferred. Participation in Dress Rehearsal allows teams to reinforce learning and gain confidence before their first day in the new program. Dress Rehearsal events should occur after new team members have completed their new program orientation and training to apply what they have learned in their new environment.

Assessing for Best Practices

Dress Rehearsals are an excellent way to assess the incorporation of best practices throughout the new program. Below are some assessment questions that are addressed during the events:

  • Has the program fully incorporated trauma-informed care?
  • Are the physical environment and workflows conducive to a client-centered approach?
  • Is the Recovery Model of Mental Health reflected in the program’s culture?

One of the most effective ways to assess these essential principles is through the eyes of the client. During Dress Rehearsal, team members play the role of a client throughout different scenarios. Experiencing scenarios such as the admission process or a crisis response from the unique perspective of a client can provide invaluable insight to teams and identify any workflows or approaches that need to be modified.

Ensuring the New Environment is Safe for Clients and Staff

Ensuring the physical space is safe for clients and staff is an important goal of Dress Rehearsal. Although considerable planning goes into the physical design of behavioral health sites, some things are inevitably value-engineered out, missed, or overlooked. By closely reviewing day-to-day operations in the new environment, staff can discover gaps in the design. Some “lessons learned” from past Dress Rehearsals include:

  • Duress buttons were not positioned in the most effective locations
  • Moveable furniture that presented client safety concerns
  • Ligature risks for clients

Identifying these issues during the Dress Rehearsal enabled the contractor to make modifications to ensure client and staff safety before the program opened.

The investment in Dress Rehearsal events has far-ranging benefits for new behavioral health programs. They are instrumental in increasing staff comfort and competency with their new workflows, equipment, technology, and space. They also allow staff to develop confidence in their ability to care for clients effectively in their new environment. To learn more about how Yellow Brick can support your new program in facilitating Dress Rehearsal events, please contact [email protected].