A senior living center should serve one purpose above all others: providing a home for its residents. In everything you do - through staff, activities, and meals - residents should feel at home, and the best way to create a warm and welcoming environment is through a high quality of care. Here are five ways to increase the quality of care in your senior living center.
Consider Alternate Treatment Methods
There are a lot of great alternative treatment methods available that senior living centers don’t utilize. Horticulture therapy, for example, gets seniors active and allows them to be a productive part of the community through a shared greenhouse or garden. Herbs and vegetables that are grown and harvested can be used in the kitchen for everyone to enjoy, and fragrant herbs and flowers have also been proven to help those with dementia and other cognitive impairments recall memories. Another option being embraced by senior living centers is music therapy. Like horticulture therapy, music therapy can also have a powerful impact on the human psyche and memory retrieval.
Focus On Person Centered Care
You probably already practice person-centered care, but it’s best to clarify what that means and provide a common framework for your staff to work off of. For senior living centers and other long term care providers, a common framework would increase their knowledge of what to expect from residents’ health plans and what is expected of them in their care practices. The easiest way to capture the needs, values, and preferences of residents and family members is to do so early on and establish a routine and best practices right away.
Person centered care aims to enhance all dimensions of residents’ well being, including their creative, intellectual, social, spiritual, and physical health. From a resident’s point of view, their care plan should always include their approval. Person centered care plans will differ from resident to resident and will include things like when and what they eat, when they sleep and bathe, what they wear, and how they spend their time. Senior living centers often have a schedule for meal and sleep times, but in a person centered care approach, that schedule will be different for every resident. Easy ways to focus more on person centered care is through the level of interaction between staff and residents. Does the staff use each resident’s name? Look them in the eye when speaking to them? Engage in small talk with the residents? Even in residents with dementia and Alzheimers, personal touches like these do not go unnoticed.
While it may be the place you go to work, the senior living center is home for its residents. As anybody does in their own home, foster fun! Be creative with your activities for the residents. Partner with an animal shelter and bring in puppies or kittens for them to play with. Reach out to local schools for class performances or readings. Start a fun and light exercise program, like Zumba or Tai Chi. Bring in a cooking instructor, or better yet, let your residents teach a class in an area they enjoy. Hire a masseuse or manicurist to come in monthly. The possibilities are only limited to how inventive you can get.
Communicate With Residents
One of the biggest complaints from residents is they don’t know what’s going on in the nursing home. An easy to way to make activities known is by distributing a daily or weekly bulletin. The bulletin can include meal options, staff highlights, construction updates, or anything else that will help residents stay up to date with the facility.
While residents are an important side of the communication funnel, it’s also important to keep their families up to date. Email newsletters, social media posts, or blogs detailing visiting hours, family events, and facility updates can be of great value to the families of the residents.
Invest In Nursing Home Management Software
Most senior living centers have invested in some type of nursing home management software, such as an EHR, but there is another branch of software that many facilities have not considered: a digital admissions platform. Let's be honest - most seniors don’t look forward to moving into a senior living center. A messy admissions process leaves a bad first impression, making and can make an already unhappy experience for them worse, giving your staff an uphill battle in their approach to care. Start with an organized, simple, and easy to use software that puts the residents and their families first.
Admit+ is a digital admissions system is the industry’s easiest method for potential residents to apply for admission and complete move in paperwork online or in your office. Documents and forms can be tailored to your facility to ensure that all the necessary paperwork is filled out. Schedule a demo today.