Providing Quality Care Begins With Listening

Every quarter, we survey 25% of the people who live in our retirement communities or their families to determine their level of satisfaction. It gives us a consistent flow of feedback to incorporate into our operations. I read every survey and every so often one person will write, “Did anyone really read this?” on the bottom. So, I give them a call. We really do want honest observations and comments so we can be responsive to the people we care for and their families. Over the years, many improvements have resulted from comments received by our customers and their families. 

Every time I read the surveys, I’m reminded that we manage thousands of personal preferences every day. Our days are made up of many, many details for people who have developed preferences and favored routines over many decades of living. For example, I once read, “Whoever heard of putting celery in tuna fish?”  I thought to myself, “Me.” You see I come from a celery-in-tuna family. My husband comes from a dill pickles-in-tuna family. 

The comments we receive cover a broad spectrum, from topics like tuna fish recipes and ideas for activities, to heartfelt thanks to a specific staff member for something done in the course of a work day. Respondents include people who have been with us for some time to those who have just moved into a community recently. I just finished reading our most recent surveys. This anonymous comment was particularly rewarding.   

Shortly after mother moved into Wilkinson Woods, she would often say, "I like it here, but it isn't home." She had raised a family and lived in the same house for 63 years. About a year ago, we returned her to her apartment at Wilkinson Woods after a family gathering and upon entering, she said, "It's so good to be home - I feel safe here." I never thought she would call Wilkinson Woods home, but she does now. Nothing I write herein can be a greater compliment or higher praise.

Keep those comments coming. Positive or less so, we take each one seriously.