Ahhhhhhhh, there's the rub

Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

In all the tumult over the Time magazine expose of pervasive and obscene healthcare billing excesses, you might have missed the almost as exciting discovery that foot massages at work lower blood pressure and anxiety for dementia caregivers. At least one snippy McKnight's reader irately claims this isn't “real news.” He or she definitely needs a lengthy foot rub, and possibly half a Xanax dissolved in a cup of chamomile tea.

But I do have a concern. Submitting to any sort of invasive foot procedure is a lot like having your teeth cleaned. The eyes may be the window to the soul, but how you care for your feet and mouth says a lot more about your true character. What must a dental hygienist think if you claim to be an entrepreneur and philanthropist who loves opera, but have the gums of an 87-year-old British carnival worker? She thinks you're a lying fake, that's what.

So here's my suggestion for successful implementation of a caregiver foot massage program in your long-term care building. Make them unannounced, just like the effective and ever-popular facility survey model. This will force your staff to be ready at all times with clean socks, trimmed hooves and freshly pumiced heels, and will protect the masseuse from actual physical harm or immediate psychological jeopardy.

Public shame being such an effective and underutilized motivator, an employee should be cited for any foot-care deficiencies at an all-facility exit conference. The reprobate would sit sockless with feet elevated, while the masseuse identifies areas of gravest concern with a laser pointer. A Plan of Correction would need to be submitted by the offender within 10 days, and compliance would be measured on the next surprise massage visit.

On the positive side, in the spirit of carrot over stick, employees who come through the inspection with high marks for cleanliness, grooming and ambrosial excellence would receive bonus visits from the foot master. Now if only there was an obvious, groan-inducing pun about who's going to … pay the bill for all of this.

Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, who cobbles these pieces together from his secret lair somewhere near the scenic, wine-soaked hamlet of Walla Walla, WA. Since his debut with SNALF.com at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.

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