patient experience

Improving Patient Experience in Nursing Homes

The long-term healthcare industry is growing exponentially in the United States. With a rapidly aging population and increased need for advanced care, this sector of healthcare is a highly competitive market. Nursing homes continually seek ways of adopting new approaches and amenities to stand out. Patient satisfaction is paramount; improving the patient experience lays the groundwork for success. The patient experience is also a risk management strategy, helping to protect residents and staff while lessening the burden on nursing home workers compensation plans. In this guide, we will explore some of the ways nursing homes are managing risks by improving both quality of life and quality of care in their facilities. 

Consumer Expectations: Influencing Nursing Home Resident Experiences

The growth of the long-term healthcare sector has spurred the development of a wide array of facility options for seniors. Traditional nursing homes have expanded their services, while specialized memory care centers and senior living communities have been established in nearly every corner of the country. As customers, these potential residents and their families have certain preferences and expectations factored in as they research a care facility. 

One of the emerging expectations facing the healthcare industry is that of personalized, high-touch experiences. This ultimately influences the facility itself; Hospital Consumer Assessment of Health Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) surveys are tied to Medicare reimbursements, giving nursing homes an incentive to improve patient experiences. Surveys to gauge quality of services are also related to health plan accreditation; requirements by the National Committee for Quality Assurance are mandated in order to receive or maintain accreditation. An added benefit of improving patient experiences is that it correlates with improved outcomes, reducing risks for residents and caregivers alike. A reduction in risks can also reduce expensive claims on nursing home workers compensation.

Strategies for Improving Resident Experiences

As illustrated above, resident experiences are more important than ever, shaping the direction for success in the long-term healthcare field. Improving the experience of residents does not always require top-to-bottom revamping; several critical steps can be implemented with minimal effort. Painless improvement strategies include:

Giving clinical leaders the tools they need to thrive – caregiver managers are keenly aware of the problems and challenges they face in healthcare delivery. By empowering them to find and share creative solutions, partnerships with outside experts or facility owners to overcome challenges become vastly more possible. 

Facilitate communication between stakeholders – every department in a nursing home has its own unique operational challenges. By improving communication between departments, ideas can flow between them, ultimately producing a smoother, more efficient operation. This risk management strategy has the added benefit of protecting healthcare workers from operational risks, slashing the number and severity of nursing home workers compensation claims. 

Brainstorming solutions – related to improvements in communication between departments, brainstorming sessions with stakeholder participation can greatly improve patient experiences. Collaboration must include care managers, support staff, and owners; each of these groups has their own preferences and concerns that must be shared in order to develop solutions. Set aside regular staff brainstorming meetings to facilitate improvements. 

Empower residents and their family members – healthcare satisfaction and quality surveys only tell nursing home managers so much about what residents like or dislike about a facility. To supplement these surveys, speaking directly to residents and their family members can reveal ideas that can improve patient experiences. By getting perspectives from empowered residents and their families, caregivers and facility managers can use that information to create improvement programs. 

Studies have shown that nursing homes with a higher level of resident satisfaction are also safer places for residents and staff members. While nursing home workers compensation benefits are designed to support staff members in case of injury, creating safer workspaces can reduce claims on these programs. Facilities that improve resident experiences also strengthen the foundations of business, allowing these nursing homes to stand out in a competitive marketplace. 

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.