The tour is the optimum time for the home to “shine” and show why their location is the number one choice for Residents. Think about your first impression, from the initial call.
Tours are the home’s opportunity to attract new clients and provide a window to future care. Often secretarial staff provide the first response regarding the tour information. Did the response provide the feeling that you were a valued, potential client? If a message was left, was there a prompt return to your call?
Was there flexibility to offer alternate tours, on either days or evenings, or to meet the caller’s needs?
Flexible tours are often difficult for a home to arrange as there are prescheduled times, and staff booked to complete the tour. However, there are some instances where potential clients or their families cannot attend the home on the scheduled tour day. The desire to accommodate in these circumstances reflects a standard of customer service.
I always ask the tour guide to make a deviation outside of the regular route. Think about it; this tour is in some respects staged, because the home has a preplanned route. You will be shown the most predictable area that provides the most favourable impression of the home.
So ask to see an alternate area during the tour. Wait until near completion of the route and then request the detour for comparison and contrast.
Are the rooms shown of equal design and size?
Are the lounges and resident home areas comparable to the original route?
How is the cleanliness factor, are there any noted deviations?
Are the residents equally comfortable, groomed, and engaging in activities?
Is the same number of staff visible?
Is the area odour free?
If there is resistance to deviating from the tour route, you may request to speak with the charge nurse or administrator. Offering to wait until the end of the tour to be shown the area independently from the group can also be an option. Absolute resistance to accommodate a deviation from the route, leaves one to question: Why?
There are individuals who conduct drop in tours to visualize the home "in action". Should this be your mode of entry, it will be interesting to see if care staff stop and ask your intent. Well-trained staff should be ever vigilant for strangers wandering in their corridors.
Bonus points for the home if someone notices that you are a stranger wandering about in the midst of vulnerable seniors.
Think of the tour as the ultimate form of advertising. Did the tour provide the tourist with a sense of well-being, reassurance and confidence that this was a place called home? Would you choose this as a "forever home" based on your first impression?
Download the free Elderpilot: Long Term care or Elderpilot: Retirement mobile tour apps (iPhones and Androids) for more information. The resource section is full of tips and strategies. The apps will guide you on your tours, providing prompts, recording your observations and creating a report to share with others. Looking for more help? Visit us at www.elderpilot.com.