Is there any excuse for the person who sits at the front desk to have no training on what to do if someone walks through the front door wanting information?

It was Sunday morning, just a little after 9:00 a.m. and I guess maybe there aren’t too many people who go looking for skilled nursing care at that time of day. Yet if you knew someone you loved was going to need long term care or skilled rehab getting an early start on a Sunday morning would seem to be kind of a good thing to do.

The Visit

Over the weekend I was in the Mountain View, California area (think home of Google) where I lived until about three years ago.  When living there I, along with a bunch of high school kids, ran a homeless feeding program on Sunday morning, so this Sunday I stopped by to say hello.  When we were done there I went to visit a nearby 150-ish bed skilled nursing/sub-acute owned by regional skilled nursing company. I walked in the front door and told the receptionist who I was and what I wanted.  She was friendly and somewhat embarrassed, having to tell me it was just her and the nurses on duty: no managers or marketing staff.  All the nurses were busy and she could not leave the phones. I asked if she could tell me anything and she said they were just a pretty typical skilled rehab facility. I asked if she had any brochures. She said she wasn’t sure but, after shuffling through some papers in a drawer, came up with a couple of little brochures. Finally she said that if I wanted to, I could walk through the building, which I did.


  • Some things I really liked about the facility
    • They had lots and lots of designated visitor parking.
    • There was zero smell.  Too often at that time of the morning there are either unpleasant odors of human waste or masking antiseptic smells.


  • I know this to be a facility that provides excellent care and stays full or nearly so.  Perhaps they don’t really need to do better . . .
  • I found myself wondering if it  really takes that much more effort to give every staff member some training on what to say when someone asks about the community.
  • In truth, in a good senior community, every single team member should have a story that is their story about why they love working there. I am not talking about the kind of professional story that I would tell or the marketing director or executive director would tell.  I am talking about the story they tell a friend when asked why they like working in your building.
  • This is a power example of why telling stories to each other becomes so important.  It builds team cohesion and passions that overflow to the public.
  • How hard would it be to put together a little cheat sheet with some bullet points that highlight what makes your community special, that a team member, any team member can refer too? 20 minutes during orientation about “How we present our facility to visitors.”

My Challenge/Question

What is it like in your community or your company?  If you are a regional or corporate team member and you walked into any of the communities you are responsible for and asked this one question:

Why would someone want to place a family member here?

What would they say? Same question for you if you are a local manager?  How many of your team members would know what to say? Steve Moran

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