Here at McKnight’s, we set out to fill each day’s newsletter with information, opinion and analysis that help skilled nursing operators do their jobs better.

Sometimes that includes shedding light on a way not to do something.

As a result, we all might wind up learning about — and from — a staff member creatively stealing opioids, a less than optimistic earnings call or an operator hit with a lawsuit from the Department of Justice.

Not to be overlooked, however, is the fact we love to fill this space with wonderful things you and your institution are doing to brighten up the lives of residents, employees and perhaps members of the community.

That’s why we launched our “The Brighter Side” feature last year. It’s a wonderful way to find out about those fun little stories that might otherwise get buried in each week’s news cycle.

The criteria for “TBS” stories are pretty simple. Whether it’s a continuing care retirement community that helps an old retired farmhand accomplish his dream of riding a tractor one last time, a new foster-pet program bringing joy to residents’ lives, or a particular employee helping the less fortunate in her facility’s community, it works in this space.

I’m particularly a sucker for anything that ties into the latest holiday. Just last week, for example, we featured a superhero CNA named Herlinda, who was honored by the parent company of her facility for putting in extra hours at its Thanksgiving dinner. “She’s the kind of CNA that administrators would cut their arm off to have,” Executive Director Randy Langford told me. “She’s very dependable. You don’t have to babysit her, and you don’t have to micromanage her.”

The Brighter Side is a year-round feature that runs every Wednesday in the Daily Update, so you can help us spread the good word(s) every week with it. By the same token, you can brighten up everybody’s work day every day by sharing items at any time at #BrightenUpLTC. 

I’m now particularly interested in operators doing something fun or unusual for the upcoming holidays, though we turn down no good ideas of any kind. Our only rules are that it’s occurring in or around a skilled nursing facility, it makes you smile and it’s something that your peers might be interested in reading about. Cute pictures are not a mandate, but if you can include any, they are a bonus and we know readers love them.

If you’ve see something that you think fits the bill, you can drop me an email (, or share it on Twitter with the hashtag #BrightenUpLTC. I’ll select some of the best suggestions to appear in story form in the Daily Update. (They’re all collected at The Brighter Side section online, incidentally.)

Oh, and one more ask: If your facility appears in the Brighter Side, or you see a grin-inducing story that catches your eye, please spread it around, via social media and otherwise! We often hear from readers that they’d love to see more stories about the positive things occurring in long-term care. But then when it happens, they drop the ball and don’t share good news themselves.

The Brighter Side is one way we do our part. When you pass along ideas for it or links to it, it’s one way you can do yours.

Follow Staff Writer Marty Stempniak @MStempniak.