From “I” to “We”: How One Nursing Home Improved Communication

One nursing home in Alabama was facing a communications problem and it was affecting the quality of care they provided to their residents.

They needed to change the focus of their communications from “I” to “We.”

Doing so would show how it truly takes a team, working on every resident’s behalf, to ensure the highest quality of care. They would have to communicate constantly about their residents to understand how each team member contributed to the quality of care.

To begin, they brought everyone together—from families and caregivers to administration and everyone in between.

Leadership encouraged all to take part in creating and managing care plans, addressing and understanding behavior and participating in in-service training.

Nursing staff began holding weekly care plan meetings with all disciplines and families.

Activities staff provided training on non-medical interventions, such as providing activities residents enjoyed before entering the nursing facility.

All staff members were trained in how to use the communications tools the facility already had in place. These included reporting tools, taped reports and walking rounds.

Everyone was encouraged to take responsibility for improving resident care.

Once they began doing this, communications naturally improved, leading to an increase in resident and family satisfaction, which the facility now monitors.

The staff is proud to be a part of this positive change. They now refer to residents as “our” residents and not “my” residents, and that has made all the difference.

As a Quality Improvement Advisor dedicated to helping this facility and other nursing homes in Alabama improve care, I personally witnessed the change that took place. In fact, I see it everyday with those who participate in our collaborative.

If your facility is ready to improve the quality of life of your residents, learn how to join our free collaborative at www.atomalliance.org/collaborative. Nursing homes in every state of Qsource will continue to work together and help each other keep residents safe, happy and healthy.

Beth Green, Quality Improvement Advisor

Beth has been in the healthcare industry for 19 years, and currently works with AQAF, a member of Qsource, to improve nursing home care in Alabama. Her experience includes social work practice and quality/performance improvement in both the acute care and long-term care settings. Her experience encompasses quality improvement, regulatory compliance, strategic planning, business development and social services.