Surprise! Guess what?

You’re not in the healthcare business. Yes, you read that correctly. For emphasis, read it again…

But wait! You’re likely thinking…. CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) surveys us with a heavy emphasis on healthcare. Some states even go so far as to only hire RNs as surveyors, so the focus on healthcare is kept as sharp as possible.

Here’s the thing to remember my friend.

Long Term Care Survey image

The rules and regulations by which we are surveyed are only “minimum standards”.

Don’t confuse doing the bare minimum as the way to succeed in the future of healthcare.

Achieving the bare minimum should not be your end goal.

CMS and the general public expect us to provide great healthcare.

CMS and the general public expect us to provide great healthcare. And certainly outstanding healthcare should be a major part of your goals.

But what if great healthcare was just a starting point?

A jumping-off place instead of an end result?

What if you dared to exceed the expected minimum standards?

What if you developed something so innovative…so revolutionary…so outside-the-box of ho-hum, status quo thinking…that it’s capable of turning the entire concept of “long-term care” or “senior living” on its ear?

Think about it for a moment, in a different context…

When you take your car in for an oil change, you expect to get, well, an oil change, right? And you’re probably relatively pleased when that’s what you get and they’ve done a good job. After all, that’s what you paid for.

But what about when they also perform a 21-point inspection on your car, clean the windshield, give it a quick vacuum and send you on your way with a cold bottle of water? With a little bit of extra effort, they’ve exceeded the minimal expectation.

They added a “WOW” factor. They took the concept of the ultimate customer experience and pushed it over the top.

They made sure the next time you need an oil change, you’ll come back to them. They got your attention and impressed you so much with their additional services they know you’ll talk about them later and will likely encourage friends and family to use them.

What do you think might happen if we apply that incredibly simple marketing concept to the business of senior living facilities?

When a resident comes to your facility due to their medical needs, what if you did more than just provide the minimum standards of healthcare?

What if it went far beyond merely providing adequate ‘healthcare’?

For instance…

Let’s say you’re considering promoting Sally, a beloved CNA and a valuable member of your team, to handle the responsibilities of Activities Director.

What if instead…you hired a professional, experienced Event Planner from your local community?

Do you think you might end up with an events calendar where Bingo was the least favorite activity? Don’t you think participation in the activities program might escalate with the introduction of new and different activities?

I can assure you, they will…because I’ve seen it firsthand.

I know what your first thoughts may be…

‘But EVERYONE loves Sally! She did a great job working the floor, the residents and families love her, she’s energetic, knows how to lift everyone’s spirits and she does a great job getting the support of her coworkers. And what about giving the existing staff an opportunity for advancement…I like to promote from within!’

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating you call Sally into your office and give her the axe. I am using that as an example to suggest you start re-evaluating your operation and the way you run it.

Start looking at it differently. Begin thinking of ways you could do things differently in each department.

Make your way of management more different than your peers. Define and expand on what makes you different…really different…from the way every other facility in the country operates.

You may be reading this with a side-eye. If so, get over yourself and put aside your daily obsession with key factors, census and metrics.

Yes, feel free to reread it again. I said to Get. Over. Yourself.

As mom used to say, that certainly took gumption. But it needed to be said. And I can’t wait for the emails to start flooding in!

Answer this: Why does your facility exist? Is it really designed to serve the residents?

Or maybe it’s a great place where you’re just marking time…while you wait, hoping to score that ‘sweet’ promotion to regional.

(FYI, it’s only ‘sweet’ if you’ve never been a regional… being a regional, or being in any corporate role, ain’t glamorous).

So, if I say you’re not in the healthcare business, what business am I suggesting you’re in?

You are in the Entertainment and Hospitality business.

Yep, you read that right.

Your residents tolerate the clinical aspects of your facility and are only there because they must be, since they require the clinical care.

But what they long for and want to live for is to have a purpose. To really enjoy life. To be engaged on a real level with others. To eat delicious, homemade food. To learn how to play the ukulele. To speak a foreign language… even just a couple words. To juggle… no, seriously, to juggle. To delight in the whimsical. And yes, to be entertained and served.

If you had a loved one who needed the extra assistance that long-term care facilities offer…aren’t these the same things you would want for them? An active life, over and above having vital signs taken and meds given? Aren’t these the same things you’ll be hoping for yourself if some day you’re seeking senior care services?

Still reading? Then welcome to my tribe. You are most welcome here.

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