3 tips for greater consistency and a better resident experience

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3 tips for greater consistency and a better resident experience

Posted on January 24, 2012

According to Wikipedia, Consistency is The achievement of a level of performance that does not vary greatly in quality over time.

When it comes to retirement communities, performance is usually understood as the  experience felt by the customer, the resident.  There is a great deal of value in a consistent experience across all levels of care at all locations – but consistency is one of the greatest multi-site operational challenges.

The value of consistency is endless, from meeting regulations to projecting a uniform image, lower staff turnover and higher numbers of referrals.  Inconsistency brings with it higher costs, as the lesser performing staff members need monitoring and mentoring and it can be bad for the brand.  Consistency is a common trait that most successful organizations share.

How does one ensure the greatest consistency in wellness and activities and the best resident experience?

In other words, how does one make sure that all resident experiences are consistent no matter their background, physical & cognitive levels, level of care or from one community to another?  Although the challenge seems impossible, one of the outcomes is also the best reward: fairness to dependent people.

Here are 3 simple steps to ensuring consistency in resident experience:

1. Consistent Assignment:

Consistent assignment means that residents see the same staff members almost at the same time of the day. Studies have confirmed that residents and their family members value the relationships they have with the front-line caregivers more than the quality of the medical care and the quality of the food in a community.  Also, providing residents with the same experience provides more individualized care, which leads to better clinical outcomes and quality of life.  According to the California Healthcare Foundation (CHCF) the values of such process make it worth looking into:

  • Residents receive better care
  • Improved job satisfaction
  • Staff feels valued
  • Staff feels empowered
  • Strong foundations for person-centered care
  • More familiarity with residents’ needs and desire
  • Fewer call outs

2. Same training & mentoring:

Make sure activity, programming and wellness staff receive the same training and understand the fact that they are assessed with the same tools.  This will ensure the distribution of best practices and motivate people to share amongst their counterparts.  Some companies have had great results with mentoring, allowing developmental relationships among their activity directors through which one shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the professional growth of another one.

3. Same set of tools and allow for sharing of creativity

The best activity programs are ones that offer good quality options around the calendar, that allow for person centered experiences and that are often refreshed.  This is difficult to achieve as the activity staff must be knowledgeable in all topics and always be creative. Here is how this can be achieved:

  • Activity directors should be provided with equipment and materials that allow them to meet a certain level of quality.
  • Processes should be in place where they can share their greatest ideas. Not all activity directors are creative.  This problem can be solved through the sharing of information.