4 tips for boosting resident satisfaction
Gina Smith, CMRP, AMS
Your residents and potential consumers are paying more attention than ever to the care they receive, and long-term care providers are taking note. That was one of the biggest takeaways gathered from HIDA's recent consumer healthcare experience survey of more than 1,000 patients and extended care market survey of more than 100 skilled nursing facility owners, CEOs, and administrators.
These surveys examined many measures and influencers of patient experience not typically captured by conventional government surveys like the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). This approach also helped reaffirm anecdotal evidence that patients and residents are going beyond the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Five-Star Quality Rating System to research and rate providers, sharing their experiences on social media and on review sites like Yelp.
Here are four additional insights long-term care providers can use from HIDA's report to enhance resident satisfaction rates:
- Commit to cleanliness and infection prevention.
Nearly 66% of respondents listed a visible commitment to cleanliness and infection prevention as the trait they value most in providers. According to consumers, providers that demonstrate a high level of commitment to infection prevention had hand sanitizer gel, masks, and sterilization products throughout their facilities. Additionally, employees were observed frequently washing their hands and taking part in cleaning tasks when applicable.
- Create environments that put residents at ease.
Comfortable amenities and a soothing environment are drivers of patient satisfaction. Long-term care providers identified comfortable furniture, fine linens, and more homelike rooms featuring Wi-Fi as some of the features their residents value. Accessibility is also crucial. Resident bed and standing lifts, remote monitoring systems, and bathing tubs were all identified as ways to improve patient dignity, independence, and satisfaction.
- Get lab results into patient hands quickly.
Two of the top three reasons patients cited dissatisfaction with providers were the inability to get laboratory results and diagnostic imaging results during the same appointment. Your residents, customers, and their families want test results in the same visit to begin treatment as soon as possible and to avoid traveling to a second location.
Since long-term care facilities—particularly in rural areas—don't always have readily available access to hospital labs, consider the benefits of near-patient testing as a stress reducer for residents and their families, and a time saver that can eliminate follow-up appointments to discuss test results.
- Use up-to-date equipment and technology.
While your residents may not be able to offer clinical commentary on the equipment you use, they notice if items look new and modern. Consumers tend to associate technological sophistication with clinical sophistication. Whether it's using the latest rehabilitation equipment, electric beds, or call bell systems, long-term care providers can enhance resident satisfaction by identifying and improving upon any operational areas where updated technologies can be incorporated.
Gina Smith, CMRP, AMS, is the director of business development at the Health Industry Distributors Association. HIDA's report, Patient Satisfaction: How Medical Products Improve Customer Experience, contains several more insights on resident preferences unique to long-term care. To access the report, visit www.HIDA.org/HorizonReport.