Does Your Organization Have the Magic Touch?
by Debi Tyler Newsom, OTR/L,
PAC Client Relations Director
This month we are thinking about touch. We are all impacted by touch and respond to touch experiences in different ways. Touch can also be a word to describe the effect we have on others through our interactions. Employees represent the organization they work for, and they impact others constantly with their interactions.
Why is it important to think about how we touch (impact) others? How many of us prefer to be part of an organization that values positive interactions and seeks to develop more skill? What outcomes do organizations have that strive for the right touch?
Think of some expressions we use to describe touch as a meaningful interaction. How many of those apply to the work we do in care facilities or other organizations?
My list included first touch, light touch, soft touch, gentle touch, and magic touch.
Here are some examples of when that touch is used:
· A visitor first enters the building, and a friendly employee takes the time to help them find their way.
· A caller is greeted professionally by the receptionist, listens patiently, and directs the call to the correct extension.
· A hesitant new resident acclimates to an unfamiliar environment with the help of staff who ease them into place.
· A distressed home health client answers the doorbell, and the aide seeks permission to enter the home and provide a sense of calm and support.
· A patient resists taking a shower and the staff uses skill to reflect his emotion, lower his fear, and help him get clean another way.
The first two instances listed above are typical of what marketing directors and administrators set as a standard of practice in their facilities. The other situations require awareness, knowledge, and skill. Not just thinking there must be a better way, or knowing what to do differently, but having skills that have been practiced, refined, and are automatic. The techniques and skills used by Teepa Snow and Positive Approach to Care are not complicated, but can make a big difference in outcome.
Skills such as:
· Reflecting distress and using non-verbal expression rather than a barrage of questions
· Pausing long enough to be acknowledged or get permission even when the silence is awkward
· Collaborating with family and staff to learn an individual’s likes and dislikes and then actually doing something different with that information
· Communicating with the team (even the night shift) when a change is observed with an individual
· Successfully detecting unmet needs and understanding that refusals are a form of expressive communication
· Maintaining a sense of calm. Responding, not reacting to situations that are alarming or even offensive in order to help lower amygdalae levels of all involved
I’m sure there are many other examples of skills that could be added to the list. What training does your organization or care facility need for that magic touch? Contact Debi at PAC Training for information on how your organization can have the magic touch.