When Residents Become Experts of Their Care Experience: Defining CX in Aged Care

1 year ago
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Client Experience (or the lack there of) significantly featured in the findings of the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care. Radical improvement to resident experience was one of the key recommendations made to the sector.

I think it is pertinent to define client experience within the Aged Care setting. Resident experience for an aged care provider is the sum of every interaction with a consumer (resident) and their person responsible, no matter how big or small. The experience starts from the first phone call/email with admissions and includes the entry, settling and ongoing care and living experience. The journey often doesn’t end until well after the resident has departed care.

CX reflects the consumer’s experience… from their perspective! It is NOT your organisations reflection on the experience you offer. It is THEIR (resident) understanding of a situation, interaction, or series of moments. It is THEIR experience and opinion that will greatly impact your organisation and ultimately the brand. Client experience is the responsibility of every staff member employed by an organisation; it is not delivered by one department.

Staff experience is often underestimated when reviewing client experience within an organisation. Having engaged teams directly relates to the level of happiness our residents feel and is a major contributor to the overall client experience. Even if you feel an interaction with a staff member was experienced back of house or that a staff members personal life can’t be seen by a resident, the attitude and emotions connected with that activity affects staff engagement and ultimately is conveyed to residents via a staff members impatience, rudeness, or intolerance… there is always a ripple effect.

Superior client experience engages staff and increases overall efficiency and retention. Engaged teams are generally happier and consider work a place of security. Teams perform better when each member is engaged in meaningful activities and feel a sense of belonging. Residents ultimately experience exceptional service when staff are invested, committed and happy.

Aged Care providers, put so much effort into “pleasing” their residents. While it is a significant factor in the overall client experience, listening to our residents and assisting them in finding real solutions to concerns they have is ultimately what leads to customer satisfaction. Too often organisations make processes slow, complicated, and difficult which leads to a failed client experience. Our instinct as humans is to enjoy what feels easy. If something is hard or difficult to do, then we are less likely to have a positive outcome. Making residents feel heard and ensuring processes are easy, transparent, and non-confrontational becomes our aim in creating an incredible resident experience!

Organisations need to ask themselves: Is our resident experience the same great experience every time? Do our staff offer consistent, predictable, and superior service across the business? There is no greater frustration then having resolved something for someone, having met their expectations, and the next day, week, or month it reverts. All the effort that went into delighting the resident can be undone in the very next moment.

People don’t respond well when there are too many steps in a process or when handed off to others to complete the task. Checking in with our residents and families and ensuring we have resolved their concern or feedback is critical to a successful client experience.

Standard 6 of the Aged Care Quality Standards, “Feedback and Complaints” is integral to client experience, however consumer feedback is more than just a compliance activity. Consumer feedback is essential to consider if continued improvement to resident experience is the goal. As an organisation, are you regularly asking residents and their loved ones about their experience with your organisation? Are you actioning resident ideas, feedback, and thoughts for improved services? Are you reporting back to your residents? Do you provide opportunities for residents to give feedback in a way that is accessible to them? To place the resident at the centre of your continuous improvement planning, you should be able to answer YES to all the above.

There is a wonderful cartoon on the internet that encapsulates client experience perfectly. It depicts two dogs eating at a restaurant and the one dog says “you can pretty much get bones everywhere. I just love the atmosphere here”. Ultimately, client experience is the feelings and emotions a resident and their family are left with after experiencing care… it is how we make our residents feel which has the greatest influence on their experience.

Montefiore’s philosophy of care provides residents with “Choice, Dignity & Wellbeing”. This philosophy underpins all our strategic and operational decisions and ensures our resident centric experience is embedded across the organisation.

Gabbie Budai
General Manager Client Experience & Marketing