By Susan Saldibar
Admissions can be a tricky business. On one hand, you have the resident and their family right in front of you, ready to move forward. But there is also this sort of nervous undercurrent running through the process as your staff strives to make the transition smooth so that everything that has to happen prior to move-in actually does happen.
One area that shouldn’t be a hassle (although it is) is the process of filling out forms. Yes, there are dozens of them and, yes, they require careful reading and understanding and, yes, many of them may require signatures of individuals who may live far away. But, according to Darren Mathis, CEO of LincWare (a Senior Living Foresight partner), this is no longer a valid reason for the process to lag while you wait for documents to trickle in.
I spoke recently with Darren about LincWare’s Admit+ digital admissions platform and asked him if he could boil down the admissions paperwork process to the “essentials” that are expected in today’s world by younger, more tech savvy residents and family members. Here they are:
- Keep your admissions forms as simple and streamlined as possible. This is for those of you who are still dumping a pile of paper on the desk in front of your soon-to-be resident. Darren has seen everything, from stacks of loose papers to forms that have been photocopied so many times they are virtually unreadable, to staff unable to even find a form that has been tucked away in someone’s file cabinet. “It’s hard to organize all these forms,” he says. “This is why we created Admit+ in the first place.”
- Make it easy for all necessary parties to complete the forms. How are you helping remote family members who need to sign? The best way is to use electronic forms that can be completed by family members in their own homes at their convenience.
- Make sure all your forms are up to date. Darren reminds community leadership that centralizing access to forms is key to making sure you are always using the latest version. Don’t let communities “do their own thing” or you’ll end up with out of date, photocopied forms that can become a serious liability when an auditor comes calling.
- Make sure all forms are completed. How do you know that all fields have been completed? Forms not filled out completely can come back to haunt you, according to Darren. This is where automation, like Admit+, really helps by not allowing you to move on from a form until you’ve filled out all appropriate data fields. Automated systems can also flag the paperwork that is incomplete and lagging behind so that staff can stay on top of it.
- Capture all pertinent information in a database so that you can use it downstream if necessary. In other words, you shouldn’t be asking a new resident questions they have already answered multiple times in their admission documents. I didn’t realize that it was possible to create reports based on all the information entered onto admission forms. But Darren tells me that you can if you are able to store the input data in a database. This could bring added value on the back end, especially if you had a question about a preference or other specific request from a resident.
Do you have the essentials covered? Or were you not able to get past essential #1?
“When we talk with communities about the expectations of new residents and family members, they quickly become aware of the gaps within their own admissions processes,” Darren says. “Your prospects are now well aware of the power of automation to make their lives easier. If you don’t provide the level of automation they expect, they may well turn around and look for a community that does.”
Some food for thought as we head towards 2020.
For more information about LincWare’s Admit+, please visit their website.