Excellent customer service is crucial in nursing homes where residents and their families entrust their care to the facility staff. Ensuring a positive and compassionate experience significantly impacts quality of care and contributes to the well-being of residents.  Consumers’ perception of the care experience may be posted on social media –with potentially positive (or negative) consequences for the facility. Consider these key action items to become more intentional in your positive customer service efforts:

  1. Empathy and Compassion:
    • Train staff to approach residents and their families with empathy and compassion. Understanding the unique needs, personal history and preferences of each individual fosters a sense of trust and comfort.  Consider using care scenario case studies and small group discussion with role playing to practice applying empathy and compassion into everyday interactions.  In long term care, there are hundreds of interactions each day that provide opportunities to demonstrate empathy and compassion–make a point to notice and praise staff for tangible demonstrations of anticipating needs and caregiving with kindness and warmth.
  2. Effective Communication:
    • Establish clear communication channels between staff, residents, and their families. Regular updates on the health and well-being of residents can alleviate concerns and strengthen the bond between the nursing home and families/representatives.
    • Set clear expectations (and a consistent example) of positive attitude and respectful interactions.  Talk about the intangibles—body language, facial expression, tone of voice, pace of caregiving tasks, etc.
  3. Keep your Promises
    • Keep your promises and do what you say you’ll do. Develop strong systems for follow up, so that staff, residents and family members learn to rely on assurances that their needs will be met.
  4. Practice Active Listening:
    • Encourage staff to actively listen to residents and their families. By acknowledging concerns and addressing them promptly, nursing homes can demonstrate their commitment to providing personalized care.
  5. Staff Training and Development:
    • Invest in ongoing training for staff members, focusing on customer service skills, communication techniques, and dealing with challenging situations. Well-trained staff are better equipped to handle difficulties that arise and to provide optimal care.
    • Consider using past complaint scenarios in training and ask staff to consider root causes that lead to the issue and how it could be prevented in the future
  6. Personalized Care Plans:
    • Develop individualized care plans for each resident, taking into account their preferences, medical needs, and personal history. Tailoring care to the specific requirements of each resident enhances their overall satisfaction with the services provided.
    • Work with activities and social services to develop a strong personal history and preferences profile that may be used to customize interventions for each resident
  7. Respect for Dignity and Privacy:
    • Emphasize the importance of respecting the dignity and privacy of residents. Ensure that staff members are trained to provide care in a manner that upholds the dignity of each individual, maintaining their independence and sense of self.
  8. Prompt Conflict Resolution:
    • Establish a clear process for resolving conflicts or addressing concerns. Timely resolution of issues demonstrates a commitment to resident satisfaction and contributes to a positive atmosphere within the nursing home.
  9. Welcoming Environment:
    • Create a warm and inviting atmosphere within the nursing home. Simple gestures, such as friendly greetings and a well-maintained facility, can significantly impact the perception of care quality.
  10. Feedback Mechanism:
    • Implement a feedback system that encourages residents and their families to share their experiences and suggestions. Regularly reviewing and acting upon feedback demonstrates a commitment to continuous improvement.

In nursing homes, exceptional customer service goes beyond medical care; it encompasses the comfort and well-being of residents and their families. By prioritizing empathy, effective communication, and personalized care, nursing homes can build lasting relationships with those they serve, creating an environment where residents feel valued and families trust in the quality of care provided.

Make plans to join Proactive on December 19, 2023 for the webinar Customer Service Concepts for the Crew – Register Here




Amie Martin, CDP, CHC, RAC-CT, MJ

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