In the world of assisted living, complaints can often be a thorn in the side of facility owners and operators. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate complaints, there are effective strategies to minimize them. One of the most significant reasons behind complaints, and one that can be addressed proactively, is anger.
The Power of Anger in Filing Complaints
Anger has a unique way of motivating people to take action, and in the case of assisted living facilities, that action can manifest as filing a complaint. When residents or their families feel that their concerns are ignored or that they’re not being heard, frustration can quickly escalate into anger. And when anger takes hold, complaints often follow suit.
To avoid this scenario, it’s crucial to ensure that both you and your staff are equipped to manage and defuse anger effectively.
Prioritizing Resident Interaction
A key strategy in preventing anger-driven complaints is to prioritize one-on-one interactions with your residents. Dedicate time to listen to their concerns and address grievances promptly. Regular, scheduled meetings with residents can go a long way in demonstrating your commitment to their well-being.
These meetings shouldn’t be rushed interactions in passing. Instead, make them official, with residents coming to your office or you visiting their rooms. Show genuine care and a willingness to help. By engaging with your residents, you’ll gain valuable insights into the community’s dynamics and potential issues that might arise in the future.
Residents often act as a source of information about staff behavior or the activities of other residents that could lead to future problems. By staying connected, you can address these issues before they escalate.
Extending the Same Care to Family Members
Don’t forget the importance of regular communication with residents’ family members. Scheduled meetings with them can help reduce complaints and contribute to better resident retention. A satisfied family is more likely to recommend your facility to others.
Engage in Resident Council Meetings
Participating in resident council meetings is another effective way to connect with residents and address group concerns. Often, these meetings are led by the facility’s activities person and provide an opportunity to offer resolutions to common issues.
Addressing Third-Party Providers
In the assisted living industry, complaints can also come from third-party providers who interact with your residents, such as hospital staff, doctors, nurses, home health staff, hospice staff, social workers, and paramedics. Hospitals, in particular, have policies in place to report issues promptly to protect themselves from liability.
To manage these situations more effectively, consider visiting residents in the hospital or sending a representative as soon as possible after an incident. This not only shows your commitment to their care but can also build positive relationships with hospital staff that may lead to future referrals.
Prioritizing Resident Care
Lastly, ensure that residents are well cared for in all aspects of their daily lives. Basic hygiene, such as regular shaving for men and maintaining cleanliness, is essential. A resident’s personal hygiene can leave a lasting impression on third parties, and neglect in this area can result in complaints.
When dealing with residents who resist care and refuse to change clothes, it’s important to strike a balance between care and respect. If necessary, provide residents with adequate notice if their refusal to cooperate becomes a persistent issue. The reputation of your facility and the potential complaints it can prevent are worth the effort.
In summary, complaints in assisted living facilities often stem from anger and dissatisfaction. By actively addressing these issues through better communication, regular interactions, and proactive measures, you can minimize complaints, foster positive relationships, and enhance the overall quality of care in your facility.