Senior Care Is A Team Sport

Teammates can include senior living staff, hospice, doctors, physical therapists, family members — everyone providing care for the older adult. And of course, the older adult themself.

Yet when family members can no longer trust their loved one’s self-report, they depend on communication with the care team.

Consider these real-life examples:

  • In memory care, we had a resident who was non-verbal due to Alzheimer’s and she could not tell her family how she was doing over the phone.
  • In assisted living, we had a resident who did not want to be there and told his family (inaccurately) that he hadn’t eaten in days.
  • In skilled nursing, we had a resident who believed she saw rats in her room (no rats made a visit) and asked her family to take care of them.

These are true stories which happen with great frequency across senior living.

And in cases like these, communication with the care team is the only way family can know how their loved one is actually doing.

Now let’s add in the COVID factor. Mix the community lockdowns with the horrifying news that is often magnified in the media about senior living communities, and families are downright scared.

Even if they know that their loved one is in good hands, families continue to report a “nagging feeling” about their loved one’s well-being.

World-renowned author, Stephen M. Covey, asserts that, “trust is the ONE thing that changes EVERYTHING.”

How To Measure The ROI Of Trust

Trust is something every senior care provider worth their salt works to build with the older adult – and with the family – from day one. So how can you tell if you’re getting a return on that investment?

1. Family Satisfaction

We’d love to think that we know what our families think of the services we provide. The reality is that many people are unwilling to share how they really feel due to fear of a negative impact on their loved one, or may not be comfortable saying anything that might create conflict. Unfortunately, that means if they aren’t sharing their concerns with us, those concerns are festering and may take root in a variety of less desirable forms, and can easily turn into a blowup over something seemingly small.

So how do you know what they are really thinking? You guessed it. You build trust. That trust means consistent communication about big things and small things. We call these ‘regular deposits into their emotional bank account.” The ROI of family satisfaction shows up in the form of faster problem resolution, fewer lawsuits, increased referrals from the family members, and increased recognition of staff.

2. Online And Word-Of-Mouth Reviews

As a consumer in your personal life, you know that at least 80% of most buying decisions are made before ever speaking with someone. What people say about you online is the difference between someone inquiring about your services or passing you right by.

The negativity bias we all possess means that it takes 8-10 positive reviews to combat one negative review.

Building trusted relationships with your customers – in this case, your resident and their family members – allows you to ask for reviews, confident that they will be positive.

Give family members a reason to sing your praises and you’ll see increased inquiries, tours, and move-ins.

Oh, and by the way, if 80% of the decision is made before they speak with you, it’s the last 20% that becomes your opportunity to show your competitive advantage.

A quick Google search tells people whether to call you or your competitor.

3. Staff Efficiency

When families and staff form a trusted bond, they work together as partners in the care of the older adult. We see this in action every day with communities using Serenity. Staff can quickly message family about supplies requests or share a photo and update about the resident that puts a deposit into the emotional bank account for the family. Without a full emotional bank account, trust between the community and the family is not possible.

This increase efficiency (speed) and reduces wasted time and energy (cost).

Adding to the ROI, when families feel connected to what’s happening with their loved one, they express appreciation to the staff more often. Serenity customers tell us their staff is happier and feels the quality of care is higher because they have better access to information about the resident.

So nice to see mom acting like her ‘sassy’ old self! Thank you for everything you do. It shows.

Daughter of a Resident at Applewood Our House

Serenity Connect is a HIPAA-compliant messaging app for senior care. We bring care providers, and family together on a single platform. When care teams and family work together, our seniors have less isolation and depression, and increased quality of life.

And isn’t that the goal? Let’s enjoy our loved ones and appreciate the care teams who help.  Contact us today and let’s get started.