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 Back To The Basics

A focus on mission, customer service, and employee engagement fosters better quality care.

 


These are challenging times for skilled nursing care providers. Skilled nursing centers are being asked to do more with less, continuing to provide the same level of quality care they always have, even when disposable monies are not always available for upgrades and cutting-edge technologies.
 
Couple that with the need for specialty programming, a congested marketplace, and both employee and patient satisfaction, and skilled nursing providers have a lot of challenges to overcome.

Community, Hospitality, Compassion

Revera, a 29-center skilled nursing and rehab company, has not been immune to the varying obstacles in the skilled nursing field. Taking a hard look at what “more” the organization can do to continue to provide exceptional patient care in a challenged marketplace, the company has instituted a “back to basics” mantra.

Its focus is on three things that promote quality senior care: adherence to the company’s mission and vision proposition, customer service, and employee engagement.

Recently, as a result of ongoing discussions and peer groups, Revera introduced its vision: Celebrate the ageless sprit of people through service and innovation. By celebrating the “ageless spirit” of patients through service, the company is providing them with an exceptional care experience.

Revera is a firm believer in providing exceptional customer service to its patients and their families. Customer service is the backbone of any business and sets the bar for the company’s success. Much like with a hotel stay or a meal at a restaurant, satisfied customers keep coming back or they choose to share their positive reviews with others, which attracts more business.

At the end of the day, seniors want to stay well and they want to be valued. Happiness with the quality of their care plays a big part in the equation.

Aim For Excellence

Revera has instituted a customer service campaign known as Aim to be Excellent, and it has partnered with a third-party vendor, My InnerView by National Research Corp., to handle the patient satisfaction survey process.

The goal of the Aim to be Excellent program was born of the notion that every patient who walks through the doors of a center has the right to an “excellent” stay, and all staff must be equipped to offer patients an exceptional customer service experience at all times. Each center is armed with an Aim to be Excellent kit, which includes posters, flyers, and brochures that explain the program. The items are typically placed in the lobby of each center, immediately letting visitors know that the center is committed to excellence.

Staff are well versed in the program and are continually asking for feedback during patients’ stays in order to access their satisfaction levels.

Through the inception of the Aim to be Excellent campaign, the centers have committed themselves to providing excellent customer service on a daily basis. If a patient had a disappointing stay, staff take a proactive approach, asking the patient for direct feedback so that the problem can be resolved.

The Aim to be Excellent program ties directly into the patient satisfaction survey process. Surveys are sent out to discharged patients on a biweekly basis. Much like with a hotel stay, the company values feedback received on its patients’ experiences at the centers, and their recommendations are used to make changes to programming and quality of care.

Touch Points Matter

Each month, the centers receive an overview of their patient satisfaction scores; this is the chance for the centers’ senior teams to develop concrete plans and campaigns to improve their scores or to ensure consistency from month to month.

Revera has also adopted a customer service call representative that comes in once a week to call all discharged patients to let them know that a survey is on its way; this final touch point allows the centers one final opportunity to connect with their patients and to leave them with a positive, lasting impression of their stay.

The organization is always looking for new ways to connect with seniors and provide them with unique and informative educational outlets. The company recently unveiled its catalogue of Senior Snippets. No more than two and half minutes in length, these short videos provide useful tips for seniors, ranging from tips for a healthy diet and exercise to how to cope with stress and retirement.

These videos can be found on Revera’s YouTube Channel—an excellent source of information for the community. Through these videos, a Facebook page for each one of the 29 centers, and center-specific websites that are updated on a regular basis, the company has pushed the envelope to offer its patients unique outlets for customer satisfaction and feedback.

Engaging Employees

An engaged employee is a happy employee. Yet, the harsh reality is that 71 percent of employees are not engaged in their jobs. This disengagement can present myriad problems in the skilled nursing arena, as employees have an important job to do. They are being counted on to provide the appropriate clinical care and support for patients on a daily basis. When an employee is not engaged, it shows, and patients often comment on the perception of their caretaker during their stay.

Revera has done significant work over the past year through an overhaul of the company’s employee engagement process. Employees are provided with reviews on a yearly basis and are active participants in the yearly goal-setting process.

Gone is the pen and paper review, as the company has moved to a Web-based system to capture all of its employee data. Employees are encouraged to use the system throughout the year to track their progress and accomplishments (there is even an option for staff members to be rewarded for their work), and the company itself has taken the pledge to increase its employee engagement score by the end of the year.

What Does It All Mean?

Health care, and more specifically skilled nursing care, is at a delicate turning point. Government cuts will continue, and providers will continually be tasked with how to do more with less, all the while looking to out-perform and out-service their competitors.
 
While there is no solution to combat these changes, a back-to-basics stance represents exceptional customer service, an engaged workforce, and adherence to the company’s mission, allowing it to continue to expand its clinical capabilities portfolio and provide patients with the care, respect, and positive outcomes they deserve. ■
 
Dee Rossetti, vice president of human resources, Revera Health Systems, Meriden, Conn., can be reached at (203) 608-6133 or at Dee.Rossetti@reveraliving.com.
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