An Often Missed Ingredient in Adult Foster Care

I Have Always Been Committed to the “Thank You” Letter

While this is not a blog about karma I am sure some will seek to take it there.  The reality is that many people believe what we do impacts what happens to us.  Now when we use the term adult foster care we are referring to those residential environments used to house and provide important services to the mentally ill, those with developmental limitations, the medically fragile elderly and others.

It is by no means unusual for providers of this care to sink into the mindset of entitlement.  In some cases this care is for the severely mentally ill and others who present both behavioral and physically clinical challenges.  In instances where public reimbursement has been sought, i..e community mental health funds – subject to repeated adjustments including reductions in per diems paid – tons of providers have turned themselves into victims.  As a result they feel that just deciding to be in the business makes them worthy of special praise or acknowledgment.

The problem with this thinking is that it can – without your even considering the possibility – impact the quality of care you render and the level of dignity you accord the residents in your charge.  Why does this matter and how can a sincere provider overcome this thinking?

It matters from a business perspective for one large reason:  In a capitalist society there is always someone, some business doing the same thing you are.  Most would likely welcome the chance to serve those you serve.  They are, in fact, your competitors.  Accepting this reality will turn us into more customer focused entrepreneurs.  We need to accept that regardless of the emotional commitment our efforts involve we are running a business and we are getting paid.  If we are not getting paid enough then its simply time to close shop or alter our approach to work and earnings.

PIC - THANK YOU NOTESecond is utilizing best practices that train and manage our own thinking.  Step I in this process is the “Thank-You” card or letter.  I may have mentioned that every person served by my companies receives a personal thank you from me, signed by me and not some pre-printed stamp.  I probably signed 20 today.

Now maybe its true the person you serve in your residential care business was placed there by an agency and your contact with their family has been minimal.  You can still thank them for the opportunity to be of service to someone they care about.  You can still ensure they know that you understand you are running a business, even though it happens to be one that comes with the challenges of serving humans with a variety of special needs.

Yes the all too often missing ingredient in adult foster care is the simple phrase, “thank you”.  Its usage reflects a balanced view toward our efforts and a thought process that contributes to quality care and an appreciative approach that benefits everyone, including the provider.

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