After stealthily observing long-term care professionals in the wild for the past 15 years or so, I've come to see you as a perplexing and elusive study in contrasts. Perhaps you haven't noticed me. I've been conducting my research from a camouflaged duck blind in the lobby.
Here's what I've decided. Canada is the long-term care employee of the world.
Those Germans. They're even hungrier than caterpillars. After mastering the culinary artistry of Zwiebelkuchen, Schupfnudel, Maultaschen and Käsespätzle, which I'm not even going to bother defining because I'm so exhausted from figuring out how to type an umlaut, they've turned their prowess to creating 3D-printed food for residents in 1,000 German retirement homes.
Everyone struggles with who they are and their purpose in life. Whatever you do — whether you're a long-term care administrator, director of nursing, med aide or maintenance associate — you're pondering it. We all are. But some things aren't necessarily meant to get all figured out.
Nothing is clear these days — in long-term care or life. Everything's brutally ambiguous. We're living an endless good-news, bad-news life loop, where all the things we think are good for us will eventually also prove our demise. Coffee. Chocolate. Wine. They're our salvation, and our downfall, so it's impossible to know what to think or do. About anything.
Here's an innovative new way, and maybe the only one you haven't already tried, to make sure more people visit your lonely nursing home residents. Sentence them to do it.
The median annual cost of a nursing home room is now more than $87,000, according to a recent survey. To an uninformed member of the public, I'm sure that seems like a lot. But what the average person doesn't know is that the price also includes strippers, so it's actually pretty reasonable.
We hear a lot about drawing lines these days. And that's what long-term care employees need to immediately do — stand up tall to your facility overlords, muster your courage and draw a big, bold line. For anything short of an actual emergency, you're not going to be accessible after work any more.
First came the razor, deforesting small circles on my expansive torso. Then came the electrodes, streaming off my chest like ribbons from a departing ocean liner. I wasn't sure if I was being prepped for execution or a stress test, so seeing the doctor walk in instead of the chaplain was a huge relief.
It's been a rough day for good customer service, and since you live and work in a profession dependent upon it, I'm sharing these still raw and painful experiences because I believe they'll be relevant and instructive in your long-term care setting. Or else I just need someone to talk to.
Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in 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.