Response To Problems
How do you address issues?
ASSESS ALL COMPLAINTS
Pay attention to every concern or complaint, major or minor. Don’t run from the problems, address them. Notify the family. Investigate the cause. Share your proposed solution. Work with residents and families to resolve the problem. Get the resident’s input. Work as a team. Construct a plan that favors the customer’s side, within reason. Follow up to ensure nothing was missed.
Respond to problems immediately, communicating both to family and management. Serious complaints call for an immediate investigation. Discuss the status of problems in morning meetings.
Document all problems and follow the grievance process. Inform the appropriate management and follow corporate policy.
“We document all grievances instead of ignoring or minimizing them. We look at grievances as a positive because they tell us what we can do to improve.”
“We empower all of our staff to respond to problems. Anybody can answer a call light or question. If they don’t know the answer they can ask for help. We empower everyone to take it upon themselves to get things done. All staff are mandated reporters. There’s a hierarchy of alerts and processes to notify the appropriate parties on our team. We communicate as a team the best way to move forward and take action. We follow abuse reporter training and have monthly staff in-services. We don’t assume somebody else is going to handle something. We ensure that no one is going to get into trouble for whistleblowing. Our staff is trained to look out for the best interest of the residents.”
Matt Fischer, Bethany Home
“We are all first responders. We do grievance training on a regular basis with our staff so that they know what our expectations are when responding, even to patient requests that may not be necessarily realistic. We train our staff to refrain from judgment and stick to the facts. They do what they can in the moment and then ask a charge nurse, manager, or me to take it from there.”
Leann Curtis, The Dalles Health & Rehabilitation Center
CULTIVATE YOUR CULTURE
Continually Improve – Be proactive to avoid problems. Look for opportunities to improve.
“We feel we can always improve. The day we can’t improve is the day we should walk out the door and not come back. That being said, everybody is charged with trying to handle problems that comes their way. If they can’t resolve an issue with a patient or family member, then they need to find someone who can.”
Corey Wright, Vienna Nursing and Rehabilitation Center
Focus on Individuals – Customer satisfaction focus. Consciously created culture. Person-centered care. People are held accountable.
“I think as much as anything, residents want to be heard and they want to know that their voice is heard. Even if you don’t have the ability to fix it or help, you hear them and make the effort. They want someone who cares enough. I think the residents know that when they have a problem, it’s going to be taken seriously. Even if we can’t meet their need or fix their problem, they know we will give it our best effort and they are going to be heard.”
Dan Kennick, Buena Vista Health & Rehabilitation
Build Trust – Staff introduces themselves to all residents and family members. Guest relations. Communication. Taught to treat customers and family members the way we would want to be treated. Introduce yourself to everyone. Building relationships helps people trust you with their problems. Treat each resident like they are our family members. Communicating with the family whether there is a problem or there is something good.
“We want all of our staff, whether they are housekeeping, an aide, or dietary, to know family and guests of all of the residents that are coming in. You build that relationship right at first and then they trust you to come to you with their problems. My office is the first from the front door. If someone comes in the building I don’t know, I always go out and meet them. I have a sign outside my office that says, ‘We are proactive on any kind of problems, so if you have anything you want to talk about, feel free to stop in.’ They feel like we are responding to them, so it builds trust. They know we will do what we can to take care of problems if they have any.”
Michelle Gardner, White Pine Care Center
“We have to know about problems so we can solve them. We try hard to get the staff to feel comfortable going to us before something is a major problem. The communication is fantastic here. Problems are communicated.”
Dave Egbert, Fairfield Village of Layton
How do your internal operations help you respond?
Management – Hire right. Build relationships with staff so they are comfortable coming to managers with problems. Provide positive top-down leadership. Lead by example in management team. Hold yourself and your staff to a high standard of accountability. Have an open-door policy. Look at grievances as a positive opportunity for growth. Review customer satisfaction daily. Provide a non-threatening environment for staff, residents, and family members to share problems. Let family members know they can reach you day or night. Offer a hotline number to go above the administrator. Administration should be on the floor, available to patients and families. Encourage lots of communication throughout the day.
Staff Attributes – Hire highly involved and dedicated staff who sincerely care about the residents. Bother to care, see what needs to be done, respond. When the staff has personal relationships, they are better equipped to handle problems. Tenured staff.
Training Programs – Understand residents’ rights and when management must intervene. Know when and how to ask for help from your management. Take grievance and complaint training. Review policies and procedures. Begin in orientation, reinforce through training. Require training to maintain half of staff raises. Remember the customer is always right. Assign extra courses to staff who are having trouble. Hold a full interdisciplinary meeting to discuss the patient’s progress so everyone is on the same page.
“We demonstrate old fashioned customer service. It’s part of our culture and orientation that the customer is always right. Is that always the case? No, but that is the approach we utilize. We do our best to be accommodating. Our staff is empowered to make decisions without having to ask for permission.”
Rory Williams, Central Utah Veteran’s Home