When is retirement care a health care service, and when is it a hospitality service? There are, of course, aspects of both.
Episcopal Retirement Services has long pondered that question. And we keep coming back to the answer, "sometimes, and all the time."
Retirement care is sometimes health care. It's always hospitality. With service that’s personal.
The Platinum Principal Program
That's one of the driving thoughts behind the Platinum Principal Program, devised by ERS Executive Director Emerson Stambaugh, after he returned from what he called a Ritz-Carlton "customer service boot camp."
The program partially focused on the value, in the hospitality industry, of developing long-term relationships with repeat customers: by learning and eventually anticipating a recurring guest's needs, one might render service that crosses the threshold from expected to extraordinary.
"We have the same functions as a hotel," he explained. "Because of our deep relationships, we come to know residents’ individual likes or dislikes.”
Unlike hotels, though, we have more time to learn them.
“We have the luxury of getting to know people over the course of years," Stambaugh said.
So it's reasonable to assume that we have the ability to live up to our desire to ensure our residents feel like they're being cared for not by expert, caring professionals, but by people who seem like family.
“Platinum is more valuable than gold, and our residents are of utmost importance to us,” he said. “Our residents don’t live where we work. We work where they live. What an honor.”
Seek first to understand
All ERS employees — new hires and veterans alike, and at every level of our organization — regularly participate in our Platinum Principal customer service training classes.
Why? Because we all need to seek first to understand.
“We want our staff to use active listening skills, so they hear with empathy what residents are trying to tell them," Stambaugh said.
More than that, though, we should continually demonstrate our ability to do for our residents without being told.
“We want our staff to be empowered and perceptive," he said, "so that they can anticipate residents’ needs or desires before they verbalize them, or recognize life changes that need to be addressed,”
That gets right to the heart of our mission: to provide dignified, person-centered care to every resident, in every instance, regardless of circumstance.
“It goes back to relationships,” Stambaugh reasoned.
When a family member looks out for another, the care is personal. It's not a service at all — it's a duty.
And we know we've met our duty to them, Stambaugh said, "when we see the smiles on residents’ faces, or when we receive a handwritten note or heartfelt word of thanks from a resident or family member.”
The Platinum Principal Program's continual training — in empathy, in professional excellence and in person-centered care — helps us all to keep our skills sharp, and our ears and hearts open.
It's an honor to care for your senior loved ones.
Stambaugh's right: It's an awesome responsibility and an honor that our elders invite us into their lives, and trust us with providing care for them.
At ERS flagship communities like Marjorie P. Lee (MPL) and Deupree House (DH) in Cincinnati, Episcopal Church Home in Louisville, and at all our various Affordable Living communities, we ensure that seniors and their caregivers know we'll always care for them like family.
Would you, or your elder loved one, benefit from dignified, person-centered care in one of our Ohio, Kentucky or Indiana retirement homes? Click here to find out and schedule your tour today.
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