Engagements and Long Term Relationships in Healthcare

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tammy L Marshall
Chief Experience Officer
The New Jewish Home

When we hear the word “engagement” our minds often conjure up images of diamond rings and marriage proposals.  At the heart of the proposal is a request for commitment. In the West, the engagement process implies a shared agreement between two people, built on a foundation of trust and loyalty. When couples uphold, cultivate and nurture their engagement agreements, a long-lasting marriage often follows.

So true are these engagement principles in long term care–whether you are a provider or employer, agreements are made and relationships established. They are both dynamic and evolve to the degree in which they are developed. There are countless articles written that showcase the positive outcomes from high engagement environments. In healthcare it’s clear that when organizational trust is high: they are more profitable, grow faster and have excellent satisfaction scores.

While it is critical to understand how the notion of engagement impacts the margin, it is equally as important to understand how those same promises apply to the mission and brand. At The New Jewish Home, our purpose statement reads that we are “committed to transforming eldercare for New Yorkers so they can live meaningful lives in a place they call home.” That is the operating agreement we make with our clients. Ideally the engagement process and relationship building happens even before a client arrives, through visits to our website, campus tours or meetings with a field nurse in the hospital.

Consider what the relationship would be like between the client and the organization if the pre-admissions (move-in) process was considered the “engagement ceremony” and the “admissions (move-in) agreement” as the “marriage certificate.” Would we ever leave our clients out of key communications, not respond to their cries for help or forget to notify them that plans have changed? If you’re married and have ever been in those situations before, there are no good outcomes. In those times we move into restorative measures. Fast apologetic action to restore trust, assuring it will not happen again. Our clients deserve that level commitment and application of engagement principles too. Not only is it humanistic in approach, clients are paying customers who are in contract with the operator. As with all “good marriages” our clients also deserve a high level of commitment and application of engagement principles.

The goal ought to be that each party is better off for having committed to each other. As the season shifts from summer to fall, let us recommit to harvesting long lasting relationships with those we serve.