Resident/Family Engagement – Entry 1

Dear Diary:

Our QAPI team has been busy reviewing our annual resident and family satisfaction survey results. Based on their feedback, we are working on ways to better meet their choices and preferences. It looks like the other thing we need to work on is management’s responsiveness to suggestions and concerns. Sounds like that includes me! I know I always say I have an “open door” policy, but truthfully the only time that anyone comes through that door is when they have a major complaint. I think I need to look for ways that leadership can better foster relationships with families and residents. Then, maybe they will come to me, and other leaders, with concerns before there is some kind of emergency.

Here are some ideas I found in the National Nursing Home Quality Care Collaborative Change Package:

  • Proactively provide opportunities for families to communicate, including contact information and whom to contact when.
  • Encourage families to feel “at home” when visiting – access to beverages, comfortable places to visit, etc.
  • Proactively initiate frequent communication with family members (regular calls or meetings) and discuss all aspects of resident care and life.
  • Provide feedback – if you say you are going to follow-up, do so, and let them know what you found out.
  • Provide family members with ideas of activities to do when visiting residents, especially for family members of residents with dementia who may not be able to express their needs. For example, help them decorate their room, bring in the family pet for a visit, share family photo albums, share stories, or join them for coffee in the dining room.
  • Invite family members to activities that the resident enjoys and would enjoy having family members attend with them as well.
  • Include all voices that have a stake in what is being discussed. For example, if you are discussing an issue that pertains to a household, you need to include the nursing assistants, dining, housekeeping, nurses, residents, families, and others as appropriate.

As I read these ideas, it occurs to me that we just don’t do enough to engage residents and families. We need to invite them to be more involved in the planning of what goes on in their home! I have no doubt that both would be more satisfied and happy if that were the case. We’ll discuss this at our next QAPI meeting.

I wonder how other nursing homes are responding to resident satisfaction survey results?

Signed, Donna

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