Communication has always been a problem in senior care communities precisely because it is crucial in maintaining the quality of care in these facilities. Not only is communication vital for relaying information throughout the place, but it is also important in boosting the residents’ physical and cognitive functioning. An engaged community is a happy community, and the more you foster it, the more it will inevitably continue to grow. Of course, this encompasses staff, too.
What then are the steps that you, as a manager of an assisted living facility, should take to enhance its internal communication? Well, as in most issues that have prevailed in various industries in the past, the best course to take is often one that is spearheaded by innovation designed to specifically overcome the said challenges.
Even now, facilities are already implementing proven effective solutions like a senior living digital signage and senior emergency notification system. With the help of the guide we have prepared below, we hope to set you on the right track.
Steps Owners Should Take to Improve Internal Communication in Assisted Living Facilities
Adopt a strategy that focuses on engaging the entire community.
Before you even begin to start implementing tools and technology to strengthen your facility’s internal communication, it’s only apt to develop a strategy and mindset that places importance in connecting everyone in the facility. Besides the patient-caregiver relationship, there’s also employer-employee, after all. And these undoubtedly are encompassed by the intricate social web of the community.
This active focus on connecting to your staff and the residents is what would drive and motivate you to pinpoint the weaknesses in internal communication in your facility. And it is also what would push you to continue improving it.
Identify the immediate communication shortcomings of your facility.
It’s best to be certain about the actual problems that your facility has with regard to its internal communication. After all, you might only just need to tweak your solutions a bit instead of overhauling everything and starting from scratch. This only leads to extra, unneeded expenses.
Also, knowing the actual problems your facility has will give you a concrete overview of what needs to be addressed. Not all facilities are built alike, after all. For one, is your facility struggling with communication in relation to residents’ cooperation and compliance with the staff? Or is something more general like dispensing information? Perhaps, it’s a problem with communicating the staff’s schedule?
Once you pinpoint the exact problem, it would be easier for you to decide what exact solution you should use to remedy it. Again, you will only save more resources this way.
Always remember that excellent communication is always characterized by versatility to change.
And what mainly drives this versatility to change? Innovation, of course. Being open to new technologies that specifically improve assisted living management has proven to pay off a lot for owners. It’s never advisable to resist change because it’s only an exercise in futility, especially if you’re already aware of the veritable advantages of innovative solutions.
Nowadays, assisted living facilities are already relying largely on resident management software. Essentially, it is software that gives plenty of tools to manage your facility’s residents easier and more effectively. The ready result is often more satisfied residents simply because you’ll be able to identify and provide for most of their needs.
Below are but some of the outstanding communication-related features that most RMS take the liberty to include in their platforms:
Senior Living Digital Signage – Digital signages can be displayed anywhere and on any device that supports it. From standard TV monitors to SmartTVs, digital signages for assisted living are often implemented on a facility-wide scale by placing screens in.
You have the freedom to modify what to show on the signages at any given time. This is considered, they are adaptable enough to fulfill both the essential and casual purposes of your facility’s residents and staff. You can, for example, display the current events that will be shortly taking place to inform the residents or make an announcement to everyone with relative ease. The sky is basically the limit.
Senior Emergency Notification System – Seniors are at a higher risk of suffering from injuries caused by untoward incidents like falls (the most prevalent in a lot of facilities). It’s for this reason why RMS also comes with its own senior emergency notification system in order to immediately make it known to the right personnel the moment any of these accidents occur.
Any kind of emergency can also be announced throughout the entire facility with the help of these comprehensive communication systems. Their scope extends well beyond the walls of the facility to the family members and loved ones of the residents so they will always be in the know in the event of a disaster. No other solution has arguably this much scope and efficiency.
Place equal focus on improving communication for the employees of your facility.
Communication applies in this regard to organizing the shifts of all your staff. Keeping staff schedules optimal often results in a better, less stressful working environment for your employees. This is the exact reason why certain developers of assisted living software also go to the limit in integrating other features like an employee management system or offer a dedicated staff scheduling software.
Of course, planning and managing is just half of it. The communication aspect comes in when we consider how you’ll be able to relay the information regarding shifts to your staff. For this, a lot of staff scheduling software opt to include the ability to send notifications (often via SMS or email) to staff regarding open shifts and swap shifts.
Some, like Genexod, even include the ability to view current vacation requests and even lets staff message the facility manager directly.
As you can see, the communication leverage you can acquire if you start utilizing a resident management software is practically exponential. The main advantages are nothing short of salient, as any senior care facility owner will realize once he applies an RMS solution to address inherent communication weaknesses.
Always keep in mind that adopting an effective communication strategy only ever strengthens a fundamental foundation of your assisted living facility. It has a far-reaching effect that your facility will only ever greatly benefit from in the long run.