Things I think: Windmills of change

Share this article:
Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

I've driven up and down Oregon's Columbia River Gorge roughly 486 times, give or take a thousand, for the past three decades. It's a gorgeous drive from Walla Walla to Portland, and one icy winter, I even enjoyed all that rugged, natural beauty from a new perspective — hanging upside down in my top-heavy Toyota 4Runner. 

Over all those years, the view itself hasn't really changed — except for the windmills. They're everywhere now, like sentinels guarding the river from the hillsides and cliffs. Some people hate them and think they scar the landscape. But personally, I'm growing quite fond of those towering turbines. To me, they symbolize boldness and imagination, the utilization of wasted space, the triumph of form and function. I could go on, but should probably keep my eyes on the road.

That's also the way I see the best long-term care providers these days — like windmills dotting the landscape of America. You're the thinkers and doers with minds constantly spinning, people who haven't cowered under a broken system or waited passively for reform. You struck out boldly, investing and innovating in areas from technology and quality improvement to facility redesign. Now the ideas you've pioneered are hitting the mainstream, transmitting through the power grid for the betterment of all.

Your staff are windmills too, a thought that crossed my mind frequently at the recent LeadingAge national meeting. Individually, long-term care employees can too easily see themselves as disconnected and alone. But at
an event like this they ask questions of experts, share challenges and swap solutions with peers. They realize, maybe for the first time, that they're all in this together, and can be a vital collective power source.

I'm sure that convention budget line item is an easy one to cut, but I hope you don't. Why? Because your people will come back home energized as tireless windmills of commitment and change. 

Gary Tetz writes from his secret lair somewhere near 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.




Share this article:

More in News

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate arrested

Double homicide at Houston nursing home; victims' roommate ...

A double murder occurred late Tuesday night in a Houston nursing home room shared by four men, according to local authorities. Police arrested Guillermo Correa on suspicion of beating two ...

$2 million HIPAA settlement highlights mobile device risks facing healthcare providers

Laptops and other mobile devices containing personal health information have been stolen from long-term care ombudsman programs and other healthcare organizations, including from Concentra Health Services and QCA Health Plan Inc. Now, Concentra and QCA have agreed to legal settlements totaling nearly $2 million, federal ...

Long-term care nurses often 'scramble' to get family members' blessing for palliative ...

Nursing home residents might not transition to full palliative care until they are very near death, at which point nurses and family members act in a state of crisis, suggests recently published research out of Canada.