Covid-19 drastically altered the landscape for families and long-term care organizations, as lock-down restrictions forced many to seek new options of staying in touch with loved ones. According to one survey carried out among 198 family members of residents in nursing homes/assisted living in 2020: 27% of the families expressed dissatisfaction over communication with the facilities, in terms of receiving inadequate information regarding how generally things were going at the facility.
Communication among families and the facilities is clearly very important, and the lack of it has had a pronounced, negative impact on families. What matters most for the family members of residents in long-term care facilities, is trust that their loved ones are in safe hands. Therefore, family satisfaction in long-term care is a key concern for providers, as they strive for better trust and engagement with their residents’ families in the post Covid-19 era. For all long-term care providers, the best way to achieve that goal is ‘proactive communication’, as this makes families happier, more invested in their loved one’s care and will eventually create greater trust between providers and the families.
Through better communication tools, long-term care providers can easily bridge the gap in care needs, by timely addressing family concerns and being a trusted source of information for them at all times. Long-Term Care providers are increasingly incorporating affordable technological solutions into their practice, which streamline the flow of information between staff at the facilities and the families.
What leads to a higher level of family satisfaction in long-term care facilities?
One research study found that family-staff interaction is a key factor in terms of their overall satisfaction with the facility. Interactions between families and staff at the facility lagged and could be addressed with more consistent communication strategies. One way for improving family satisfaction, is providers reaching out to families with general updates regarding their loved one at the facility and not just in case of an emergency.
Family perceptions of quality and satisfaction with the facility are being shaped through constant interaction between them and the providers from pre-admission of residents all the way through discharge. Happier families means positive feedback for the long-term care facility, which will amplify their facility’s image and result in future referrals.
Research shows that feelings of empathy matter a great deal for family members of residents at long-term care facilities. How do caregivers express empathy? By becoming active listeners when it comes to families’ concerns, and giving the resident and their family respect by communicating to them that what they say is of value to the provider. Families must be given the confidence by the care facility that their relative is well looked after. Long-term caregivers can do this quite easily by being empathic, being more reliable and being responsive towards family members. This is bound to increase satisfaction among residents’ family members, as more of them will feel secure with the care being provided.
However, the same study found that family interaction with the staff was still not behind in terms of proper communication channels over their relatives’ well-being. This can very easily be overcome with the right communication tools that immediately notify families about any important changes in the resident’s health condition.
Staff members at long-term care facilities must work to prioritize family complaints first and foremost. Providers should look for opportunities where they can turn this space for complaints into opportunities for better quality care. Care models, with effective communication in between staff and families ensure quickly identifying, responding and resolving any family concerns.
Communication, without a doubt, is a key component of healthcare delivery across long-term care facilities. The greater the interaction between families and providers, the more likely it will be for family members to be satisfied with providers and the services they provide at the facilities.
Regular Communication and Benefits for Long-Term Care
Regular Communication between providers at long-term care facilities benefits the whole trifecta: the staff, the resident and the families. When the staff actively communicates with family members, they keep them continuously in the loop over important information concerning the resident’s physical or mental health. This simple exchange of information can limit fears, lower complaints and build on the efficiency of visits when family members pay the facility an in-person visit.
Caregivers can help families overcome personal barriers in communication and actually support them by clearly communicating to them the condition of their loved one.
Families are much more relaxed when they are fully aware of the resident’s condition in long-term care. They are far more content through regular feedback from caregivers at the facility and feel that their loved one is being looked after in the best possible way.
Regular communication facilitates this process, makes families more involved and more likely to pay the facility a visit. This will obviously make the resident feel more comfortable and relaxed, and will improve the overall quality of life for the resident. Better communication between staff and family will make it easier for the resident as well. For instance, residents need not worry over informing their families of medication changes in the case the staff already actively stays in touch with them as they can simply rely on them to do so.
Regular means of communication stands to benefit everyone involved in the process of delivering care and is a key determinant of top-notch services provided to residents at facilities.
Use Hucu.ai To Better Understand Resident and Family Needs At Your Care Facility!
Communicating effectively remains a key challenge for a number of long-term care facilities across the country, and is a barrier to effective patient/family engagement.
In today’s world, healthcare facilities achieve the highest level of patient care with the use of technology. Healthcare messaging applications are now more common as they allow healthcare providers, patients and their families to stay connected with each other. Modern care facilities opting for communication platforms are well-aware that communication has the potential to increase patient/family satisfaction.
Hucu.ai’s digital platform increases patient/family satisfaction in long-term care facilities, through open channels of communication among caregivers, patients and their families.
Patient/family chat rooms in Hucu.ai allow health caregivers to directly communicate with patients and their families. This creates space where family concerns for patients can be addressed in a timely fashion by caregivers. This will make both caregivers and families happier as it expands positively on the resident’s overall journey at the facility.
With Hucu.ai, long-term care facilities have the ability to increase family engagement and eventually show how satisfied families are with the level of care residents receive. Schedule a demo today, to learn how Hucu.ai can help your care facility in achieving greater family satisfaction and better patient care!
(1.) The Family Experience in Long-Term Care During the Covid-19 Visitation Restriction. Jane K.Straker & Mi Sun Choi. June 2020. https://sc.lib.miamioh.edu/bitstream/handle/2374.MIA/6646/straker_covid-19-survey-visual.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y&_ga=2.52250601.1706958479.1677775916-114862304.1677775916
(2.) A 3-Step Guide to Family Satisfaction in Long-Term Care. Jack Silverstein. January 24, 2023. https://skillednursingnews.com/2023/01/a-3-step-guide-to-family-satisfaction-in-long-term-care/#:~:text=Proactive%20communication%20is%20a%20long,trust%20and%20mitigating%20reputation%20damage.
(3.) Strategies for Improving Family Satisfaction with Long-Term Care Facilities: Direct Care and Family-Staff Interactions. Sarah E. McVeigh, Rita A. Jablonski and Janice Penrod. April 2009. https://www.hmpgloballearningnetwork.com/site/altc/content/strategies-improving-family-satisfaction-with-long-term-care-facilities-direct-care-and-fami
(4.) The Importance of Communication Between Long-Term Care Community Staff and Family Members. June 21st, 2022. https://optimaliving.ca/hamlet-archives/the-importance-of-communication-between-long-term-care-community-staff-and-family-members(5.) Enhancing Patient and Family Satisfaction in Skilled Nursing Facilities with TigerConnect. Tyler Peterson. February 28, 2023. https://tigerconnect.com/blog/enhancing-patient-and-family-satisfaction-in-skilled-nursing-facilities-with-tigerconnect/