An old expression has it that people only have “one chance to make a
Indeed, truer words were never spoken, with specific regard to the
health care field.
One of the first “rules” for any administrator of a skilled nursing care
center is that the day of admission is when residents form their first and
arguably lasting impressions.
It is for this reason that the first 48 hours are crucial in
facilitating a sense of comfort and belonging for the resident (and for the
family). Residents are at their most vulnerable during this period.
Although there may not be too much personal information about the
resident at this early juncture, there are certain basic truths that may be
Regardless of whether they have just been discharged from an acute stay
at a hospital, or arriving from home, they are typically physically and
emotionally compromised. They want desperately to achieve their prior level of
functioning, whether they will ultimately be returning to home, or transition
to long term care at the facility.
They often arrive feeling scared and apprehensive, and their families
aren’t faring much better.
What they collectively and desperately wish for is for someone to “make
This article is designed to highlight several “do’s and don’ts,” which
should aid all caregivers in properly navigating the vicissitudes of this
transitional period for the resident, so that the chance to make a positive
first impression is not squandered.
Admission Day Do’s
- Many nursing and rehabilitation facilities
feature a concierge service. This valuable service is designed to help make
resident feels comfortable in their new environment. Facilities should
designate a “greeter” who will meet the new resident at the door upon their
- New residents should be escorted to their new
room in a dignified manner.
- Inquire immediately whether there is anything the
staff member could do to make the resident comfortable and welcome.
- Be sure to offer refreshments and a good meal to
both the resident and family.
- Reassure and comfort the resident until they
- Try to remain with the resident (if possible)
until the nurse arrives to do the initial assessment and evaluation.
- After the assessment has been completed, return
to the room frequently just to “check in.”
- Make sure to have an admissions day kit
available with practical items for the resident, such as padded socks and basic
Admission Day Don’ts
- Never leave the newly arrived resident alone for
an extended period of time until sure that they have comfortably acclimated.
- Don’t ever assume that the resident and their
family will familiarize themselves with the protocol and other vital
information without a staff member’s help and explanations.
- Do not engage in “sensory overload” with the new
resident. Instead, answer each question carefully and patiently.
Of course, in addition to the initial admissions process, it is
important to properly follow up with the new resident in the days ahead. It is
always a good idea to return the very next day to inquire on their welfare.
Have one of the facility ambassadors explain the various procedures,
assessments, and care plans for the upcoming week, and then have them reach out
to the family as well. Be sure to explain all of the various options for both short
and long term care at the facility and alleviate any concerns the family may
First Impressions With Lasting
In the final analysis, the benefits of a positive experience on the day
of admission cannot be overstated. Residents who are well treated on their
first day will be much less likely to complain or speak negatively about the
facility. They will essentially become a walking, talking testimonial when they
return to the community, or if they choose to remain at the facility for long
term care. Happy residents are the center’s greatest asset and referral source.
Judah Gutwein, LNHA, is director of
corporate marketing and business development at Regency Post Acute, Rehab &
Nursing Centers, Somerset, Dover, Hazlet, and Wayne, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (732) 873-2000.