3 Keys to Combining Health Services and Hospitality in Senior Living Communities
A blog by Patrick Noonan, executive director, Glenview at Pelican Bay (Naples, FL)
Ensuring the best outcomes and environments for senior living residents has as much to do with senior living hospitality as it does senior health services. Communities across the country are taking a new approach to blending the two. But with resident experience, comfort and care in high demand, the best performing communities will be the ones that make senior health services feel “invisible” or seamlessly integrated within a hospitality culture.
Here at Glenview at Pelican Bay, a 5-star CMS-rated community managed by Life Care Services, we’ve become one of the most highly sought-after senior living communities in Florida by employing three key strategies. When implemented effectively, they can ensure every resident, visitor or vendor to your community walks out with a wow experience.
Design inspiring spaces
Mindful of senior living interior design trends, Glenview at Pelican Bay worked with THW Design to create physical spaces that feature all the comforts of home, in a resort-style community. Aesthetically, it starts with art deco-style décor that makes this “Hospitality Hotel” feel like a Ritz Carlton, which is very important due to our successful clientele coming here with high expectations.
The building design and layout affords a significant influx of natural light. Combined with an abundance of open spaces, it creates an inspiring environment. And for those residents who can’t get outside on their own, it helps us bring a feel of the outdoors inside to them. From common spaces that encourage both relaxation and stimulation to private rooms that promote comfort, we make every space aesthetically pleasing.
In senior living communities, experiences matter at every turn. Consider the difference residents would feel grabbing a coffee or tea at a corner café as opposed to pouring a cup themselves at a non-descript hallway dispenser. Or investing in exam chairs that could easily be mistaken for stylish, comfortable seats you might find in someone’s home.
But even small accommodations go a long way toward leaving a lasting impression with residents and visitors. At Glenview, we keep a printed binder of community services, like dining, salons, and fitness, with hours, phone numbers and prices.
Make personal connections with residents
Any community can invest in decorative and aesthetically pleasing spaces. But the true reflection of a senior living community’s hospitality comes down to one thing – your people and the service they offer.
At Glenview, our staff makes all the difference. Our business model has one goal – exceeding every resident’s expectations. When it comes to senior health services, we encourage all staff to stop and engage in real, personal conversations with the residents. Because taking an interest in people’s lives, their likes and their dislikes is good for everyone’s well-being.
To promote stronger connections, we created SPIRE (Service Performance Inspired by Resident Expectations) to keep every staff member focused on exceeding resident expectations. SPIRE ambassadors – select employees from across the organization, representing various departments including clinical, marketing, housekeeping, and maintenance – focus on resident relations as much as they do their regular responsibilities. We assign them to visit new residents upon admission and ask them their initial impressions of the community, including what we did well and what we could do better.
Like any internal initiative, holding people accountable is key. So, after each new resident encounter, ambassadors are required to report back to me with their findings.
Always seek improvements
As your residents’ needs change, so should your approach to serving them. Continuously look at your population and the new residents you’re admitting for opportunities to better your community and your staff.
We recently evolved our communications to better meet the needs of residents and their families. Contrary to popular belief, seniors are technology savvy. They text. They email. They’re online, and they use Facebook. We looked at ways we could use these channels to better serve our community. And it involved more than upgrading our bandwidth and introducing strategically placed public computers.
A few years ago, the idea of a family member texting our nurses to check on a resident was unheard of. Today, communicating via text is a standard way we operate with both family members and residents.
As caregivers, we measure and hold ourselves to a higher standard. From making sure we’re responding to call lights as quickly as possible. Or working with local urologists to identify new treatment methods that are happening outside our walls. To offer a variety of food that isn’t just healthy, but flavorful, too.
Focusing our efforts on these three key areas has helped Glenview deliver some of the best patient outcomes in Florida. Our length of stay and return-to-hospital rate are lower than the state average. Even more telling: Many of our return residents tell us they can’t imagine going anywhere else.
A clinical focus on health care protocols infused with a unique touch of hospitality has our senior living community well prepared for the future.
About the author
Patrick Noonan, executive director, Glenview at Pelican Bay (Naples, FL)
With a background in hospitality and hotel management that dates back to 1992, Patrick has vast experience in senior living and health services communities. He currently serves as executive director at the Glenview at Pelican Bay in Naples, FL, a 5-star CMS-rated community that’s earned the Governor’s Gold Seal Award for exceptional service and care. An accomplished speaker, Patrick has spoken on hospitality and senior living issues at both state and national conferences. He has been quoted in, and authored, articles in several trade magazines. Patrick has served as chairman of the Life Care Services (LCS) 2008 Symposium. In addition, he has been a member of the LCS Hospitality Initiative Committee, Extraordinary Impressions. Patrick also served as chairman of the LCS Operations Council (OC) from 2009-2012 and chairman of the LCS Lifestyle and Health Services Committee.