Resident engagement brings better outcomes

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Resident engagement brings better outcomes

Posted on August 8, 2013

How do we define engagement?It is the act of occupying oneself, to become involved. In senior communities, this is reflected by residents engaging in their activities, dining experiences, therapy and/or with the community at large. With the increased importance of customer focused service and person centered strategies, engagement is becoming an essential component for any community or company. As shown in the hospital market, there are also numerous benefits in taking engagement seriously.

In the case of a retirement community, the dynamic is slightly different: As residents become dependent, they need assistance in staying connected to the things they enjoy. To remain active on all dimension of wellness that are essential to one’s quality of life, the staff needs to step in and provide an essential aspect of supportive living: Addressing the psycho-social needs of each and all residents.

Engagement initiatives have won numerous recent awards as leading organizations embrace the concept of going beyond activities and programming.

Residents may engage in any dimension of wellness, but the community must enable them to engage in the most empowering ones. This improves the general health of the community and also lowers the cost of care as part of the concept of successful aging.

Recent studies emphasize the importance of adaptation and emotional well-being in successful aging. New data suggests that for most senior citizens, subjective quality of life is more important than the absence of disease and other objective measures relating to physical and mental health.

To support engagement as a strategy, staff and resident/patient facing team members need to be equipped with tools that empower them and helps them deliver better care in a more individual way as noted recently:

Technology changes are not the only ones shaping nursing care. Diverse patient populations demand different techniques for optimal engagement. Various education levels, spoken languages and cultural norms impact navigation of a complex healthcare system and interpreting the breadth of information. There are often literacy challenges that must be addressed.

“When residents are informed about activities, have their preferences honored and feel respected, they are more likely to comply with and participate in their care activities and achieve better outcomes,” noted Charlotte Eliopoulos, RN, MPH, ND, PhD, executive director of the American Association for Long Term Care Nursing, noting the importance of empowering and engaging residents.