Senior Care Staff: Evaluating Compassion and Competency

Posted by Senior Solutions Management Group on Apr 29, 2014 11:48:58 AM | 3 minute read

Before your loved one moves into a senior living community, you have many important decisions to make. Obvious criteria to consider include proximity to family members, distance to healthcare facilities, availability of specialized rehabilitation skills, community cleanliness and impressions of  residents’ hygiene and happiness. However, one other factor merits your close attention as well: the senior care staff.

Your loved one will be spending significant amounts of time with people who may help with bathing, ambulation, eating, medication, and other daily living tasks. Moreover, these are likely the people who will communicate most frequently with your loved one. You want to ensure the staff is friendly, kind, supportive, optimistic, and responsible.  Here are some helpful tips for evaluating senior care staff.

How to evaluate senior care staff

As you begin your assisted living community visits and interviews, be sure to talk to all the staff members you can. Furthermore, you shouldn't rely on what residents may share, as they could be afraid to offer criticism.

#1. Do you have time to ask questions and have a non-rushed conversation?

You have lots of questions, and you need answers from the people who will be interacting directly with your mom or dad. If staff seems hurried or anxious to get the interview over, you may wonder if that behavior translates to the care that your loved one will receive. Are they genuinely interested in you, your loved one and your questions?

#2. Do staff seem empowered and motivated by a deep connection to the people they serve?Image of resident with senior living staff member

Studies show that well-trained staff empowered to do their job are likely to stay on the job longer and have a higher level of job satisfaction. The assisted living community’s executive director (ED) is ultimately in charge of creating and modeling the behaviors and practices that lead to a motivated and caring staff. For this reason, it is important to interview the ED during your decision process.

#3. Did you like the employees with whom you spoke?

Obviously, sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling about people. Trust your instincts when
interviewing staff. In addition, you might think about the following questions: Do they have a pleasant demeanor, or does it seem forced? Do they look you in the eye when talking to you? Are they well-groomed themselves? Do they smile when they don’t know you’re watching?

#4. What sort of staff-resident interaction occurs?

Do they interact warmly with residents? They must know them by name and treat them with compassion and respect. Additionally, keep in mind that a good staff knows when to step in and when to respect the resident’s need for privacy.

#5. staff is transparent about how the community is run

Make sure staff members talk freely and knowledgeably about activities and policies that exist at the assisted living community. Red flags include reluctance to share information, or ignorance about procedures.

#6. Do they thoroughly understand emergency procedures?

If an emergency situation occurs, or your loved one falls, it is crucial to know that competent compassionate care will follow.  As a result, it is important to ask staff to explain how they handle emergencies, both medical and facility-related. Moreover, you might request examples of how staff has addressed some specific incidences.

After visiting communities multiple times, you’ll feel confident in selecting a community that’s the best fit for your loved one. Furthermore, you will feel confident that the senior care staff in your loved one's community is the best fit for your loved one.  Contact us at Senior Solutions today to visit one of our communities and meet our wonderful staff.

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