From the Community Mentor
Recently, our managers and I reviewed scores, comments and satisfaction levels of the employee satisfaction survey, one of three such satisfaction surveys completed in the latter half of 2017.
When we previously completed Resident, Family & Employee Satisfaction surveys in 2015, our scores were high and residents gave us the highest scores (97%). Families scored their level of satisfaction with The Neighbors somewhat lower (93%) and while there may be one or two things in common with the residents, most often the reason for the lower scores from families are different from that of the residents. Employee satisfaction and the basis of their satisfaction is different from that of either the resident or family level of satisfaction, but in 2015 we scored high at 88% compared to a peer average of 67%.
Beginning the second-half of 2017 we did the satisfaction surveys and we knew the likelihood of scoring as high or higher than 2015 was going to be a challenge. It was a challenge partly because in order to make the financial situation of The Neighbors better for the community, we had to take the advice of consultants and change the way were doing things. We thought those “things” might have an effect on satisfaction levels. For example, we looked at outsourcing our food services to a third-party vendor to reduce our cost-per-meal, during which the Dietary Manager resigned in October of 2016. In the end; between vendor savings and cost-saving ideas from the dietary employees we avoided outsourcing and we were able to re-hire a Dietary Dept. Manager in January of 2017. Now, our Dietary Dept. not only saved significant dollars in 2017, but operates a licensed restaurant (Red Cedar Bistro) and this February became the food service provider for the Dunn County Senior Meals Program!
Another recommendation from consultants hired to review The Neighbor’s financial position was to reduce the number of employees including RNs, CNAs and/or Homemakers. Throughout 2016-2017, we have reduced RNs and RN wages were also reduced by a grade on the county’s pay grid. Additionally, many of our long-term nurses retired during 2017. We did not reduce CNAs initially, but we did begin in 2017 to reduce the number of homemakers and the hours they work per day. Prior to these changes, we had 11.5 hours per day of homemakers for each household. Originally, we planned to reduce those hours via attrition to about 5.5 hrs. per day, per house. Later in the year it became apparent that to keep our houses clean and to provide necessary food services, we needed to increase the homemaker hours back up to 7.5 hrs. per day so that work could be accomplished appropriately in the houses and this increase took effect in November of 2017. Unfortunately, we had to offset the increase in homemaker hours by a permanent decrease in several CNA positions.
So, in 2017 – 91% of residents said we did a good to excellent job of meeting their satisfaction, with families at 86% while just 76% of employees were satisfied. I am not real surprised at the results. I believe we can make improvements in those satisfaction scores for the next round of surveys. Our managers and I are working on those improvement plans to be completed soon. I am very proud of our staff because we received a lot of positive comments from residents and families about the wonderful care provided by all of our employees. Not all nursing homes complete satisfaction surveys or the kind of surveys in which they can compare their facility scores to national or statewide average scores for other nursing homes. We do it because our Standing Committee, Board of Supervisors and our managers care to make sure we are staying on top of the things that make life worth living, in a sustainable, accountable and sensitive manner. There is nothing easy about operating a nursing home these days, but we look forward to a great year in 2018!
– Anthony Manzella, NHA/Community Mentor