Hospitality Lessons from a Funeral Home

We hear a lot about how people don’t want to move to nursing homes and we’re all familiar with the stereotypes. Funeral homes are another place that aren’t high on people’s priority lists. And they, too, have plenty of stereotypes that aren’t too uplifting. It’s interesting, though, how things can change when you look at things differently. Jim Bradshaw, who founded and runs a number of funeral homes in the Twin Cities, set out to change the perception of funeral homes. He called it setting out to "create a new conversation." He sought to create the IT we talk about, to reposition, to innovate, to create hospitable places and experiences that leave no doubt that you are "WELCOME." When you walk into the Bradshaw Funeral Home in Stillwater, it is bright, airy, there are big windows that look out upon soothing birchtree gardens, there are children’s play rooms, everything is so clean and fresh … people actually get married there. The Bradshaw tagline is: Creating Meaningful Events That Celebrate Life (don’t we do that a lot in senior housing and long-term care?) . And they have a number of interesting "Promises We Keep" that could be tailored for the senior housing and long-term care profession also. Here they are:

  • When you walk through the doors, we promise to welcome you.
  • We promise to make your concerns our priority.
  • We promise to clear explanations and thoughtful answers to your questions.
  • We promise to be generous with our time.
  • We promise to anticipate your needs.
  • If it’s never been done before, we’ll find a away.
  • We promise to follow through on what we offer you.
  • We promise to treat the deceased with dignity and compassionate professionalism.
  • We depend on each other for good ideas and thoughtful solutions. You can too.
  • We promise the value you receive will be greater than the bill you pay.