Have you ever entered a workplace and heard the employees complaining about some facet of their employment or the organization in general?
How did this impact your experience and overview of the business?
Suddenly the entire dynamic is changed and one is left to consider the value that the organization brings to you as the consumer.
First impressions in Long-Term Care homes and Retirement Residences are no different.
As you schedule your tour and enter the home for the first time, be acutely aware of the reception. After all the tour is their ultimate form of advertising
My first impression of a home is always based on the response I get when calling for the tour arrangements and schedule.
What was the response of the individual who answered your preliminary request for information about tours? Were you treated like a prospective valued client or was there the sense that the call had interrupted the flow of work for the day?
The culture of an organization is reflected in the attitudes of the staff.
Was there flexibility in arranging a tour?
I spoke with a family member recently who could never coordinate with a home to meet their rigid tour schedule. Subsequently they were told to "just arrive sometime and tour by themselves;" anytime they wished.
Although I identify with the difficulties in offering numerous tour times, I wonder about the security of advising people to show up and poke around the home at their leisure. In my view visitors should be made welcome, but the staff should always question individuals who arrive on site that do not appear to be visiting, or actively engaging with a resident.
Is there no one on site with authority to take the time to provide a brief, impromptu tour after hours?
On an added note, should a loved one live in this home, would accessibility to members of the care team be hampered by the home's adherence to their personal work schedules?
Did the tour guide speak to the residents on the tour route?
This is the Resident's home and if the tour guide bypasses folks on the tour without so much as a nod or greeting, how does this reflect the value and respect for the individuals in their care?
Who is the most important person in the home...the Residents!
Always ask to see an additional Resident home area when the tour nears completion.
Were you taken on a predictable route where the setting was picture perfect? Does the entire home have the same standards regarding cleanliness, odour control, appearance and room sizes?
If the tour guide denies access to alternate areas; one would wonder:
Does the home operate with transparency in all matters?
Are standards equivalent throughout?
Is the tour guide inexperienced and lacking direction?
If you suspect the issue rests with the tour guide: ask if there is a member of the management team available on site, or to contact regarding an additional home review. There should always be someone in the building 24/7 with decision making authority.
These are just some of the tips offered in the tour review portion of the Elderpilot Long-Term Care and Elderpilot Retirement Mobile apps (free) for touring LTC homes and Retirement Residences.
Becoming an informed consumer during your tours has the power to change the dynamic of service provision.
Does the tour experience matter?
That depends...do YOU or a loved one plan on living there?
(Picture Credit: Blue Jersey)