There is a New CEO in Town

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There is a New CEO in Town

Posted on July 14, 2018

That is, the Chief Engagement Officer.

Engagement is a buzzword in the senior care market these days – but the focus is on successfully engaging members of the workforce and community business partners rather than a commitment to first optimizing engagement for the people we serve: the older adults, our residents. Resident engagement is not high on the list of priorities for most communities.

This is evidenced by the lack of respect shown to those that lead activities, such as Activity Directors and Recreational Therapists, and the paltry budgets these leaders are asked to work with. Furthermore, a CDC report from 2016 indicates that residents are typically receiving just 11 minutes of engagement each day outside of assistance with activities of daily living. Health care providers need to understand that purposeful living through quality engagement begins with a deep understanding of the needs and preferences of each resident.

Engagement in the framework of aging and supportive living is defined as “…the act of being occupied or involved with an external stimulus.”* Providers too often limit their engagement efforts to focus simply on “activities” or “life enrichment” when in fact person-centered engagement is about optimizing all personal interactions that a resident experiences throughout the day. Engagement is the job of any staff person that encounters the resident, from maintenance to dining to nursing – not just a staff member from the activities department.

Leadership and education are key components of achieving quality engagement and this is where the Chief Engagement Officer steps in. A personalized experience beyond the typical 3 B’s of playing bingo, reading the bible and celebrating birthdays is an excellent start but nominating a CEO is how communities will truly reach the goal of person-centered care. Prioritizing engagement in a community means providing those whose job it is to lead those efforts with the time, tools, and budget they need to succeed. This represents a unique opportunity for senior care communities to improve across the board. Quality engagement is correlated with better quality of life for all residents, longer lengths of stay, a lower cost of providing care, higher satisfaction for all stakeholders and better referrals!

Every organization needs to define who is in charge of engagement and nominate that person as its own CEO who will lead the entire community in learning about and providing quality engagement.

Providers can nominate their CEO today and support their work by:

  • Letting the CEO be the community spokesperson when it comes to matters of quality and purposeful engagement, which is now expected by residents and families alike;
  • Providing the CEO with 24/7 access to a comprehensive database of educational materials to support the training they will do across departments around evidence-based strategies for optimizing engagement opportunities for every resident;
  • Giving the CEO the time they need to support their team in learning about and providing person-centered engagement through coaching and education.

Who is your CEO?