Communicating with Resident Families: Tips for Senior Care Providers
So, you've implemented a new EHR software or care management app in your senior living community that is designed to enhance communication and build trust with residents' family members. We know that involving families and evidencing resident engagement can increase return on investment. However, failing to set clear expectations with residents and their loved ones can become a major pain point for all parties involved. By all means, promote your care management software's engagement capabilities. Let families know you have modern family engagement resources. Just keep in mind everyone may have a different idea of what that means, exactly.
It's much easier to set expectations from the get-go with new residents. That said, sometimes these conversations need to be had with families of longtime residents. Whichever is the case, here are some guidelines on what to discuss with family members around interacting with your staff and their loved ones:
How and when to contact you
Receiving photos of their loved one and updates on their activity participation is great, but family members may need to get ahold of you for other concerns. For instance, to inquire about a new medication or taking their loved one out one afternoon. Let family members know which methods of communication your staff prefer and what they can expect from different methods. For example, maybe you want family members to call if it is an urgent issue but use instant messaging if not. Or if your staff are rarely able to answer the phone but are quick about replying to emails, make that clear. Families will be happier when they know how to proceed when they need to reach you. This makes life easier for everyone!
What level of communication to expect from you
It's a lot to ask your already busy staff to reach out and check in with families individually. This is why it's important to be very clear with families from day one about the type and frequency of communication they can expect from you. Consider posting photos on the same day every week. Perhaps write an individual note about a resident in their activity log once a month. Maybe tell families that they can expect a response to an instant message within a certain number of hours, giving your staff plenty of time to communicate if its a busy day.
What to expect regarding visits
With StoriiCare, staff can enable family member sign-ups. Then, family members can sign up to attend scheduled activities with their loved one from their Storii account. Staff should let families know what they are welcome to attend and when the best time for scheduled visits are. Most people can appreciate that meal, bathing and med distribution times might be hectic. Therefore, it is nice for family members to know the best time frame for them to show up and have their loved one clean and ready to see visitors.
Communication is Key to Family Engagement
Clear instructions about the way your senior living community operates help ensure positive outcomes for families. Simply having conversations around communication goes a long way toward building rapport and engagement with resident families. It shows families that you prioritize them.
StoriiCare's dedicated Family Portal is already making it easier for senior living communities across the country to build trust with residents' families and to evidence resident engagement. The best part is that no one has to spend hours on the phone each day to do this! Schedule a demo with one of our dedicated team members to see how it works.