The well-known prayer of St. Francis says, “Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love than to be loved.” Steven Covey’s bestselling book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” borrows part of the prayer as Habit #5. Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood.

It sounds simplistic. It is not. I recall having a disagreement with one of my children and her saying, “Dad, I have some things to say; just let me say them and do not say a word.” It may have been the most difficult 10 minutes of my life. I was viewed quite differently than I saw myself. Though not easy to hear, these insights can be incredibly valuable. I suspect many of you are like me. I have strong opinions that are always correct, and I am always eager to share them! Again, speak to my beloved family for confirmation!

The digital age has made “understanding” even more difficult. We criticize others online and seldom listen. While social media has many benefits, I do not believe it enhances communication. I listen to the folk singer Carrie Newcomer’s song, “Don’t Press Send.” It is an excellent reminder to be less impulsive and slower to respond.

MMC’s leadership team is responsible for listening to (and hopefully understanding) over 600 residents. Residents have wants, desires, and needs; it is the responsibility of the leadership team to listen and understand. And, to recognize that depending on the season of life, the conditions vary considerably. A resident on hospice is experiencing different needs than a resident who just returned from a cruise to Europe.

In light of this responsibility, residents had the opportunity for their voices to be heard through the Holleran Satisfaction and Engagement Survey. I am pleased to share that we had an 80% response rate. According to Holleran benchmarks, this is a great response rate. We celebrated this outstanding response on Monday, September 12, with an ice cream social. 

There was a lot of great information gleaned from the responses. Several themes stood out and most frequently mentioned were the restricted dining hours and access to health care services. In addition to the executive summary, there were over 37 pages of comments. Overall, it was evident that residents are satisfied and happy to be living at MMC, and our team received numerous comments of affirmation.

As we seek to understand and make improvements, there is much information to absorb. It was rewarding to note that MMC’s overall resident satisfaction was in the 89th percentile (rated against Holleran’ s national database). Over 90% of residents said they would recommend MMC to a friend or relative. Thanks to all of you for your support of our ministry. I appreciate your honesty as we seek to understand.