Daily Editors' Notes

Not keeping promises can lead to much more than a tarnished reputation

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John O'Connor
John O'Connor

Regardless of what part of the senior living sector you are in, these are hyper-competitive times.

And in the daily battle to keep beds and units occupied, it can be tempting to fudge a wee bit about your ability to provide care. Here's my advice: Resist the temptation.

Whether you are running a skilled care facility, an assisted living community or another senior living option, here's a sign that should be posted in a place your staff can see: Don't make promises we can't keep.

For if you do, you risk losing your reputation, trust goodwill. Oh, and there's a good chance someone may try to sue your pants off.

Consider what's happening at the Watermark at Logan Square retirement community Philadelphia. According to court documents, the community misrepresented its ability to provide high-level healthcare services. The catalyst for the legal action was a resident whose wound care needs reportedly could not be met by Watermark.

Yes, this is an isolated incident. But lawsuits abound against assisted living operators who didn't know when to say when — and instead held on to residents with needs exceeding staffing or statutory limits. Yes, residents are generally getting older and sicker, but it's never a good idea to do quasi-skilled care without a license.

The old saw about planning the work and working the plan certainly applies here. But the unfortunate reality is that many operators are going a bit rogue right now, and taking their chances. That's not a business strategy. It's an act of desperation.

John O'Connor is McKnight's Editorial Director.

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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editor's Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor on Monday and Friday; Staff Writer Tim Mullaney on Tuesday, Editor James M. Berklan on Wednesday and Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman on Thursday.


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