What does a 3-minute response time have to do with joy? More than you might think.

By Susan Saldibar

Three minutes go by fast for a busy care staff. But for a resident in need, it can seem like an eternity.

Just ask Glenn Barclay, co-founder and member of the advisory board for Blake Management Group (“BMG”), which operates a network of upscale assisted living and memory care communities located throughout the southeastern U.S.

Glenn sets high-performance standards for his communities. One standard is a 3-minute response time when a resident presses the call button. And it’s an aggressive goal (the industry average is 6-8 minutes). So Glenn isn’t surprised when new staff members raise their eyebrows at the idea of having to meet a 3-minute response time. Invariably, however, his response is, “Okay, imagine you have to go to the bathroom and you just pressed your call button.” Then he’ll set a 3-minute timer and sit in silence while the timer counts down. “Three minutes doesn’t seem so short when you need help does it?”

What does a 3-minute response time have to do with joy? More than you might think.

When leaders care about things like 3-minute response times, you get a good feeling about their communities. It’s one of the things that Glenn feels has made Blake Management Group properties successful. He’s managed to create a culture that works hard to tie their operational goals to their core values. And one of those values is what Glenn refers to as “joy.” Wow. How many leaders talk about joy?

One of the goals Glenn ties to “joy” is a fast response to residents’ needs. Not only does a short response time minimize resident anxiety, but it will also bring peace of mind to family members. And staff members can feel great that they are contributing to an environment of joy.

The technology behind Blake communities’ 3-minute response times is Vigil Health Solutions (a Senior Housing Forum partner). Glenn Barclay, along with Vigil, put together a great case study on how they are using the Vigil Integrated Care Management System to help drive their high quality of care initiatives.

Here’s a summary of their story:

The challenge: BMG was seeking a solution that would support an aggressive companywide target of 3-minute response times. And, since assessments can be somewhat subjective, they were looking for an objective measurement that would provide tangible data. They also wanted to be able to benchmark performance across their communities. Their goal was total transparency, by having a method to share their data in a way that encouraged input from residents, staff, and families.

The solution: The Vigil Integrated Care Management System™ was installed in 12 Blake Management Group communities. It is a non-intrusive, sensor-based alert system, paired with a comprehensive performance reporting to monitor, track and benchmark resident safety and response times across all communities. The solution consists of three key modules:

    • The Vigil Vitality Care System, deployed in their assisted living areas. It consists of bedside call stations, bathroom pull stations, and wireless pendants for residents.  

    • The Vigil Memory Care System, deployed in their memory care areas. It uses sensors and sophisticated software to alert staff when a resident’s behavior is outside his or her normal or safe pattern. So, if the resident is restless, spending a long time in the bathroom, or is incontinent, the sensors will alert a staff member.

    • Vigil View Dashboard Reporting software, accessed through the cloud. Snapshot reports with key call data are automatically emailed daily to the VP of Wellness and Regional Directors of Operations (RDOs) for their respective sites. They can also use the View Reports daily to drill down into the data further as required.

Each community receives response time reports. Any calls with a response time longer than 6 minutes require an internal quality assurance report to be completed. All reports are reviewed by senior leadership. Leadership works with the team to give accolades for the best response times.

The results: BMG communities have dramatically improved response times.

But for Glenn Barclay, the results strike a deeper chord. It’s all about being able to demonstrate to prospective clients how technology can be used to provide the highest level of care and bring peace of mind to family members. And Glenn believes that demonstrating their commitment to using advanced technology, along with their openness to share their results have contributed to their high occupancy levels.

Finally, it’s about leadership. “We define senior housing excellence by developing upscale communities while simultaneously staffing and operating with the best-trained teams in the country,” Glenn says. “In every market we serve, it is our distinct objective to be the very best at both team and assets, setting a new tradition in care.

You can download the full case study here.

For more information about Vigil Health Solutions, you can visit their website:

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