Operations Best Practices

3 Reasons Why Skilled Nursing Operators Should be Concerned if Their Life Enrichment Team is Understaffed

September 5, 2023

In times of staffing shortages within skilled nursing communities, the life enrichment department might not be the foremost concern for operators. Often, communities face shortages in multiple departments at once and want to prioritize nursing. 

However, there are many reasons why skilled nursing operators should be concerned with supporting their life enrichment team through a shortage. Here are three ways that an understaffed life enrichment department impacts a skilled nursing community’s residents, brand image, and compliance. 

  1. Impact on residents

Skilled nursing community operators have a responsibility to provide their residents with high-quality care that promotes their well-being. Life enrichment programs play a key role in improving residents' physical, mental, and emotional health. These activities contribute to a higher quality of life, promote socialization, reduce feelings of isolation and depression, and enhance cognitive functioning. By neglecting or reducing these activities, the operator may fail to meet their residents’ needs and compromise their overall satisfaction and well-being.

  1. Impact on brand image

Skilled nursing communities rely on their reputation and brand image to attract new residents and maintain occupancy levels. In a recent blog, we discussed the importance of keeping your brand promise to help occupancy rates and attract future residents. However, for many residents and their families, when deciding on the right community, the quality of the life enrichment program plays a large role in their overall satisfaction. If a community gains a reputation for not prioritizing resident engagement, they may face negative reviews, decreased referrals, and increased resident turnover. Conversely, a community that excels in providing meaningful activities and engagement opportunities can enhance its reputation, attract more residents, and establish itself as a preferred choice among prospects and their families. 

  1. Impact on compliance

Skilled nursing communities in the United States are subject to various regulatory requirements by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This includes regulations for life enrichment programs and activities. For instance, CMS regulation F-679 states that every community must offer activities and programs that meet the needs, hobbies, and interests of all residents. To avoid an F-679 citation, life enrichment staff should ensure to properly document their residents’ activity preferences, attendance records, and level of participation in programs. Communities that fail to do so risk the penalties of being found non-compliant on their next visit from the state.

Skilled nursing community operators should consider the key role that life enrichment plays in their primary responsibility to provide residents with high-quality care. Life enrichment activities contribute to residents’ well-being, satisfaction, and overall experience. Maintaining a strong brand image and ensuring compliance are also critical for the success and sustainability of the community. By prioritizing resident engagement, operators can create a positive environment that fosters well-being, attracts residents, and meets regulatory requirements.

Check out a similar blog about how a resident experience platform can support resident engagement during a staffing shortage. Contact us today to learn more about how Welbi can revolutionize your approach and empower your life enrichment teams.

Katie Stewart

Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.

Holly Mathias

Holly is a member of Welbi’s Marketing team! She has a background in communications and marketing, and is a compassionate individual who loves team work, story telling, and wellness.

Wendy Riopelle

Wendy is a student in the Honours BA in English program at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.

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