Case Study

NHC Healthcare: A Few Degrees Can Make a Big Difference

When NHC Healthcare Tullahoma staff were first began using the Preferences for Everyday Living Inventory (PELI), the team heard a common concern from a continuing care resident. The resident complained that she often felt chilly — and the team decided to use this simple request as an initial opportunity to honor a resident’s preference and enhance her quality of daily life.

The team raised awareness among care partners across departments that the resident likes to keep warm. And together they instituted important changes.

By her thermostat, they put up a label which says, “Set at 74 degrees.” After completing other duties in the resident’s room, housekeeping and nursing staff make sure that the thermostat is set at her preferred temperature. Whenever the resident leaves her room, activity staff and certified nursing assistants know to offer her a lap blanket whenever she leaves the room for entertainment, meals, or recreation.

Positive Outcomes

Because of these efforts, the resident “knows that we care about her preferences and have made improvements to enhance her comfort,” administrator Jaine Colley says. The team no longer hears comments that the resident is too cold. Jaine says, “This is what some may consider a small request, but what a difference temperature can make!”

This simple case study illustrates basic steps to honor preferences: get to know each resident’s important preferences; share the information with the care team; collaborate on ways to meet preferences; and check back to see if the person is satisfied, which this resident clearly was!

Thank you to Jaine Colley, the Administrator at NHC Healthcare in Tullahoma, Tennessee, for sharing this story.