Bundle for warmth
As the weather turns bleak and cold, the prospect of mandatory bundled payments gets more attractive all the time. Meanwhile, the flu virus is out jumping in the puddles, shrieking with unbridled joy now that acetaminophen has been shown to be powerless against it.
Every year about this time, we're viciously reminded that we're really just a bunch of fragile, vulnerable organisms trying to survive in a hostile world. The fact that we also work in a long-term care profession that desperately needs us to stay well makes our endurance all the more critical.
I wish I had a prescription to defeat the armies of winter-born disease, but I grew up a shivering waif in ice-covered Canada, catching a cold every four minutes, burning broken hockey sticks for warmth and watching emaciated wolves wait just beyond the firelight for my inevitable demise. So I have very little useful information to share, beyond some basic, common sense guidelines that can help us all safely navigate this perilous season:
• Stay warm — Stand closer together during stand-up, perhaps holding hands while carefully observing all applicable HR guidelines. Obviously, do not cough, sputter, sneeze or breathe for the duration of the meeting.
• Wash your hands — Do this not only frequently, but repeatedly and often. If you want to take hand hygiene best practice to the next level, wash your hands immediately after washing your hands, paying special attention to your thumbs.
• Eat properly — Until further notice, your diet should especially include increased portions of chocolate, coffee and alcohol, since studies show irrefutable health benefits.
• Drink more water — For maximum benefit, mix it with chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
• Get plenty of rest — Normally, I'd advise watching a presidential debate as a foolproof cure for insomnia, but now they're far too frightening to be helpful. So just go to bed at a reasonable time and hope for the best. If you have difficulty falling asleep, try harder.
• Accept the inevitable — Remember that even if you survive the cold and flu season unscathed, you're still working in one of the most dangerous professions in America. After realizing this, enjoy some hot chocolate, coffee and alcohol.
You may think I'm preaching to the choir here, but a recent study shows that healthcare professionals aren't very good at walking the walk when it comes to healthy living. So take my advice — or if you don't find yourself warming up to it, ignore it at your peril.
Things I Think is written by Gary Tetz, a national Silver Medalist and regional Gold Medal winner in the 2014 Association of Business Press Editors (ASBPE) awards program. He has amused, informed and sometimes befuddled long-term care readers worldwide since his debut with the former SNALF.com at the end of a previous century. He is a multimedia consultant for Consonus Healthcare Services in Portland, OR.