Senior living facilities generate the lion’s share of their new residents through hard-fought referral networks. Reputation, therefore, is a key factor for administrators to consider. There is often a delicate juggling act between meeting your residents’ needs, keeping their family happy, and ensuring the greater community of residents are satisfied with their environment and their care. Happy residents means more word-of-mouth referrals, and better esteem from referring physicians.
What unites residents’ experience on both the good and the bad side of things is their memorability. Both wonderful and awful experiences stick in the minds of everyone involved. That is why it is important for senior living facilities to create an environment that will foster positive interactions and experiences, and raise overall satisfaction in care. The following are 3 ways communications technology can improve your residents’ experience with your facility.
Fast, easy-to-use communication systems
While many seniors profess their distaste for new tech, the number of tech-savvy residents in senior living facilities is increasing. Moreover, their children and other family members are also likely to be tech savvy. With savviness comes a certain set of expectations that are a direct product of the increasing fast-pace of our world. Senior living facilities with sluggish communications technology may be setting themselves up for an unpleasant surprise.
A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that nearly three-quarters (74%) of Americans ages 50-64 are now smartphone owners (a 16-percentage-point increase compared with 2015), as are 42% of those 65 and older (up 12 points from 2015). This dramatic increase in technology use among older adults in the U.S. is a sign that senior living facilities need to upgrade the communications technology they offer to their residents in order to meet their residents’ rising expectations.
Consistency is key
As more residents make use of newer technology, they become more reliant on them for more things. A communications system that experiences frequent outages or delivers spotty service will frustrate residents. Particularly if they make use of Telehealth services, or nurse call systems, consistency of service is of the utmost importance.
To deliver outstanding reliability of service to residents, senior living facilities should first partner with an outstanding provider of communications technology. These services should be employed in such a way that they deliver a consistent resident experience across every touchpoint. It is important to create a transition plan for any new services, as well as develop a plan to ensure all systems are functioning appropriately. In these cases, it is a good idea to bring on consultants to help set up the communications technology systems.
Anticipate Residents’ needs
With advanced communications technology comes the ability to collect data on residents. This data, which is collected through residents’ use of the facility’s systems, can help administrators identify trends of use, as well as anticipate future needs. This can be helpful when planning facility events, training new staff, and anticipating a new resident’s needs based on broader trends.
Unified communications technology can be integrated with many other systems, including resident rosters and CRM’s, to help streamline the delivery of quality care. Residents’ needs can be met before they even have to ask, which will lead to far higher quality patient experiences. So long as these services are integrated into an advanced communications technology platform, your senior living facility will deliver fast, consistent, and quality experiences to your residents.
Senior living facilites that effectively marry their communications technology with data and care will deliver high-value resident experiences that will improve their reputation, increase word-of-mouth referrals, and instill more trust in referring physicians. All of this will drive more referrals to your facility.