Strategies to Better Support Unhappy Residents in Your Senior Care Facility

c-careThere are many reasons why monitoring resident satisfaction needs to be a top priority for senior care facilities. Resident satisfaction provides important feedback about a facility’s performance, and can also help to identify areas for improvement.

Happy residents (and their families) are more likely to leave positive reviews, boosting a facility’s reputation and helping that facility to attract new residents. Unhappy residents may leave negative reviews and can impact the overall morale of all of your residents.

But supporting unhappy residents isn’t always easy. There are several challenges a facility needs to be prepared for when helping residents to feel that their concerns are being addressed.

How to Monitor Resident Satisfaction

Several efforts may be necessary to actively monitor resident satisfaction and identify those residents who may need additional support. Raymond Dacillo, Director of Operations for C-Care Health Services, suggests that facilities create daily resident status reports that focus on the residents’ moods and emotions. “Status reports communicate to caregivers any patterns in the resident’s moods and whether they would need additional support.” This daily report can help caregivers prepare for and address residents’ short-term needs, whether that resident is having a rough day or has been struggling for the past week.

It’s also important to periodically check in with residents and their families on a deeper level. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has published several CAHPS Nursing Home Surveys. These include a long-stay resident survey, a discharged resident survey, and a family member survey.

These detailed surveys ask questions about the facility’s environment, care, autonomy, communication, activities, and more. The responses can help a facility to better monitor resident satisfaction with its current performance, and they can help to identify key areas where the facility may need to focus on implementing changes. These surveys are available for download in both English and Spanish.

Best Practices in Supporting Unhappy Residents

Taking an active role in supporting unhappy residents is important. You may want to develop best practices with your caregivers and nursing staff to help ensure that every resident gets the attention and support they need. Addressing resident concerns and working to find solutions to issues is an effective way to help residents feel understood.

However, it’s important to account for individual resident preferences when supporting them. “The most important thing is to understand them and their needs,” says Dacillo. “Residents can feel misunderstood, especially if they are being told or forced to do something. They might not enjoy the company of some caregivers.” The more you can learn about individual resident preferences, the better you can give them the type of support that they find most valuable.

The pandemic has added complexity to supporting resident happiness. “Before COVID, we used to take residents on field trips and outings to allow them to have fun experiences outside of the care home,” says Dacillo. “Isolating them from those experiences, and sometimes from their loved ones, can be very tough.”

While it’s natural to want to accommodate residents’ requests for social outings or visits with family, that may not be possible at times because of COVID-19. Facilities may need to get creative with alternative options and compromises, like Zoom meetings or hallway games and socialization events, to help residents feel heard and supported.

Focusing on finding solutions to problems residents are having can help to improve overall resident satisfaction. While this effort might require some extra work for your staff initially, with time, happier residents can make for a more enjoyable caregiving experience for your staff. Increased satisfaction can also create a more positive environment for all of your residents.

Topics: Activities , Facility management , Featured Articles , Resident Care , Senior Environments