Welcoming new patients is an integral part of running a nursing home. Many of your clients have likely become so used to having guests come and go that they have forgotten what it’s like for new residents to enter a strange and unfamiliar environment.
But making new residents feel welcome is part of providing a rewarding nursing home experience. It can help enhance the reputation of a nursing care facility and encourage repeat business. And like nursing home insurance, it can secure the future of the nursing home and ensure its ability to continue operating well into the future.
Ways to make new residents feel welcome
Here are some tips that might make new residents feel more welcome in the nursing home. Your clients may implement them to ease the transition process and encourage guests to see the facility in a new light:
- Encourage more visits during early residency. During the first week or so, it might help to encourage more visits from friends and family. Nursing homes can even provide meal tickets, so loved ones can join the resident for lunch or dinner.
- Assign a welcoming committee for new guests. Current residents often make effective “welcome ambassadors” for new residents. They can also help introduce new guests around and answer questions about facility routines and activities.
- Hold an orientation. A more formal orientation might be in order if several new residents come in at the same time. If this isn’t feasible due to time or staff constraints, an orientation video could help clarify some questions for new residents and families.
- Host regular “meet-and-greets”. Meet-and-greets provide opportunities for residents to get to know each other and find out more about the nursing home and its staff. Depending on how often the facility welcomes new guests, these could be held weekly or monthly.
- Maintain staff consistency. It would be beneficial to maintain the same number of personnel to perform key tasks. Residents and families also often appreciate dealing with staff members they already know for any questions or concerns.
- Plan welcome gifts for new residents. Current residents may be encouraged to give welcome gifts to new residents if they are amenable to the idea. These don’t have to be anything fancy. Even a handmade knickknack or a small plant can work wonders in making new guests feel more welcome.
- Assign chaperones for new guests. Nursing home administrators could also approach current residents willing to spend time with new guests. These “resident chaperones” could show the newcomers around and keep them company while settling in.
Factors that make new residents feel less-than-welcome
The previous section details how your clients can help make new residents feel more welcome in their facilities. But it might also help to know some of the factors that may make them feel unwelcome or alienated in the first place. Have your clients consider these factors when developing a welcoming program for new residents:
- Lack of choice in the matter. The urgency of the situation may sometimes mean that the senior cannot decide on their living arrangement. This can be difficult for those entering a nursing home for the first time.
- Emotional upheaval. Living in a nursing home is often the result of an illness, injury, or other traumatic event. It can be an emotionally difficult period, and the patient can be further aggravated by moving into an assisted care facility.
- Reluctance to live with strangers. The prospect of sharing a living space with total strangers can be upsetting for anyone. For senior adults that have lived with their families their entire lives, this can be an especially stressful period.
- Lack of control over the situation. Older individuals that have to move into a nursing home often have no control over the situation. The thought of being unable to make decisions that will affect the rest of their lives can be troubling.
- Negative feelings about assisted living. Some older people have negative impressions of nursing homes and assisted living in general. If they have had a mistaken notion about care facilities for most of their lives, having to move into one can be an upsetting prospect.
Entering a nursing home can be a worrying and stressful experience for anyone. Hopefully, the suggestions above and awareness of the factors that make new residents feel unwelcome can help your clients ease the transition for their new guests.
About Caitlin Morgan
Caitlin Morgan specializes in insuring assisted living facilities and nursing homes and can assist you in providing insurance and risk management services for this niche market. Give us a call to learn more about our programs at (877) 226-1027.