I recently had a lovely get-away at a bed and breakfast in Charlestown, WV. It was a historic home (The Carriage Inn) not far from famous Harpers Ferry.

The moment we entered, the innkeeper greeted us warmly and made us feel at home immediately. She offered us a beverage and wonderful homemade blueberry bars, then took us on a tour, gave us a history of this colonial home, pointing out pictures and other items of interest, and then helped us get settled in our room.

She showed us all the features in our room, asked us when we would like breakfast and if we wished to have it brought to our private screened-in porch or would we like to eat in the main dining room. She also asked if we would prefer coffee or tea, and she let us know how to reach her if we needed her at any time. 

She also helped us pick out interesting activities for the next day after asking what we enjoy, and she gave us options on where to have dinner based on our “likes.”

Marie, the innkeeper, really was like an ambassador. It was an incredible experience. We felt like someone not only wanted to hear what was important to us but would do everything in their power to make our stay as enjoyable as possible. (Her husband, Don, was the chief and made awesome breakfasts and afternoon home baked treats!)

Wow, if only we ran our facilities like a bed and breakfast! I know we do a pretty good job touring families, but we don’t always give our residents the same experience. They come in and to ensure we fulfill our regulatory requirements, we strip them from head to toe and get our physical assessment.

We don’t spend that first hour asking them what they like to eat or do, but asking medical history questions.

Let’s face it: While some may be great at welcoming, most of us are checking off our regulatory boxes and inventories and documenting.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if the unit smelled like fresh baked goods? If we first offered an appropriate snack and beverage to our resident, and while they were enjoying their treat we gave them some history of “home,” and find out how we can meet their needs before all the poking and prodding starts?

I’m not naïve. I know we have to do those checks and balances for the resident’s safety. But let’s start by being “bed and breakfast” ambassadors first. Make the residents feel at home from minute one.

Just keeping it real,

Nurse Jackie

The Real Nurse Jackie is written by Jacqueline Vance, RNC, CDONA/LTC, an APEX Award of Excellence winner for Blog Writing. Vance is a real life long-term care nurse. A nationally respected nurse educator and past national LTC Nurse Administrator of the Year, she also is an accomplished stand-up comedienne. She has not starred in her own national television series — yet. The opinions supplied here are her own and do not necessarily reflect those of her employer or her professional affiliates.