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The Activity Department's Role In Enhancing Customer Service

Clint Maun, CSP

Activity programs must address both medical and behavioral issues. The successful activity program cannot exist without integrated cooperative efforts from other departments in the organization. An enhanced approach to providing a successful activity program encourages the development of an individualized plan that meets the needs of each resident.

For such success to occur, a team effort, particularly between the nursing and activities departments, must be in action. Turf or territory issues only serve to cause stress between the departments and should be prevented.

The activity department can foster a team atmosphere by launching a marketing campaign to educate other departments about the benefits of coordinated efforts with the activity department. The campaign should highlight ways in which the activity department serves the facility by:
  1. Being a vital component of the care planning process.
  2. Being a critical aspect of complying with the survey process.
  3. Providing a break for nursing staff while activities are in session.
  4. Providing a sense of accomplishment and enjoyment for the resident.

Customized activity programs are necessary for today?s residents. Each resident enters a long term care facility with a variety of needs. Our residents may include very cognizant and active 80-year-old as well as a frail, wheelchair bound 60-year-old who suffers from dementia? and every level of ability and cognizance in between.

The activity department plays a vital role in developing a customized care plan and then working with each resident to ensure goals are met. Additionally, activity department staff can take advantage of the relaxed atmosphere and make observations about a resident?s mood, behavior, and aptitudes and report any deviations to clinical staff.

Oftentimes, activity staff is privy to complaints or problems that residents have with other departments in the facility. Instead of just listening to the complaints, activity staff should relay any concerns to the appropriate department. By doing so, activity staff take an active role in enhancing the overall customer service within the facility, thus becoming change agents for positive outcomes.

Customer satisfaction is always enhanced when team members learn how to integrate services and openly communicate across departments. Moving toward a blameless, solution-based mindset is necessary to provide the most benefit to our residents.

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Peters, T.J. (1984). Common courtesy: The ultimate barrier to entry. Healthcare Forum Journal, 27(1). 10-16.

Reichheld, F., & Sasser, W. (1991). Zero defections: Quality comes to services. In Harvard Business Review. Service Management. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing Division.