In our imperfect world things can and will go wrong. It is simply the nature of our existence. Sometimes, even in small-scale assisted living programs things can sort of “bum-rush” us. Maybe in one-day you have multiple events that test your patience, professionalism and soundness of mind.
I can recall 2 deaths in one morning in my assisted living program in 1996. One of them was a young woman with Huntington’s Disease. I knew her sister and primary caregiver was in Vegas for a much needed vacation as we provided respite care. I had to decide whether or not to call and disrupt this vacation or wait. Decisions, decisions, decisions!
Perhaps you have faced similar challenges. How about if a nursing home discharges a new resident to your home before you were able to arrange accommodations for another resident who was occupying that bed, who you thought was moving yesterday. How would you handle it. Here is how I would:
1. Complete an Incident Report and acknowledge to licensing I may be over-capacity due to no fault of my own for a few days.
2. Work to ensure the care manager or whomever is arranging new accommodations for the person being discharged has my help and support to expedite the move.
3. Order an extra bed to be immediately delivered as a rental even at my own cost so all residents are comfortable and have ample privacy even while I am over capacity. I would already have the extra bed stored somewhere on the property.
4. Keep everyone happy and not alarmed during this time, including providing any required additional support to my staff.
The minute you, as the team leader, becomes excited and unglued which can easily stand in the way of effective problem solving the matter only gets worse.
How about this one: Its the 10th of the month and a resident’s daughter has not dropped off or mailed the check that normally arrives by the 3rd of each month. Does she become an enemy in your mind, someone who does not respect your obligations? Or, do you first see it as a likely slip-up, which affects all humans, and you send a courteous email asking if maybe it was lost in the mail? Being able to calmly solve problems will endear professionals to you as it makes them look forward to meaningful dialogue with you regardless of the severity of the situation you both may need to resolve.
Of course being able to solve problems also rests with your knowledge of other resources in your own community. This is why you cannot run your business as a hermit locked in a box. If you need to be able to call on equipment suppliers and others to help you solve problems, you first must know who they are and have a relationship with them.
Our temperament is a large issue that none of us can ignore the necessity of managing. The minute you become more important than the ultimate resolution or you demonstrate that problem solving is not your strength, you may end up watching your business fade away right from in front of you. So let’s calmly solve problems, for in the end everyone wins.
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