As a consulting psychologist, my official job is to provide psychological services to the residents of the nursing homes in which I work. Occasionally, though, I’m asked by a department head to informally assist a staff member in distress and, more frequently, a teammate comes to me for a referral for herself or a family member.
In most of my long-term care career, I’ve witnessed short-term rehabilitation residents housed together. But not always. I don’t know the reasoning behind dispersing residents, but from my perspective, dedicated rehab units work better.
After writing about turnover in my last column, I wondered what might happen if high marks were also awarded to facilities for strong staff retention, which has been positively correlated with better care. From there, I began to imagine an entire rating system based on my view of long-term care. Quality of life, not necessarily care, would be rewarded.
I once rode down a crowded afternoon elevator with the CEO of a managed care company. “It must be 5:01,” he commented wryly. I heard a measure of scorn for his employees’ lack of dedication to the job. What I saw was a group of people fleeing from utterly uninspiring and unappreciated work.
There’s a lot of stress in our buildings. I’m not suggesting nightly “primal scream” sessions, but we could add into the rotation some activities where residents get to be “bad,” or at least aren’t expected to be so darn good all the time.
Our work is important and the attitude with which we complete our tasks matters. If your vacation break is behind you, or so far ahead that you wonder how you’re going to make it, try these ideas to re-energize and add zip to your workday.
As I prepared for this article, I realized that we don’t hear much in the industry news outlets about suicide among our staff members. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.