Make a Difference!

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Allen Yearick, MHA, NHA
Allen Yearick, MHA, NHA
How many times have we heard the expression “Please don't put me in that God-forsaken place to die” and then discount the reality of its meaning as something from our industry's past?

Do you adamantly defend your facility as being different or not at all like that? Do you take the opportunity to live up to a different “profile” today?

I'm reminded of the quote:

"It is in the act of confronting long-term care‘s shadow that we find the strength, courage and endurance we need to persevere in the work of change."

— Unknown

As professionals, we all have a duty and responsibility to make changes in our facility or organization. In today's environment, we have, indeed, come a long way.

But as the quote suggests, the shadow for many still remains. You must be an agent of change, or better yet, an agent FOR change! An agent of change is descriptive of what you've become while being FOR change suggests a predisposition or mindset to do so.

Start with a fundamental step to become that agent of change: Make a difference today!

A colleague of mine and I were talking one afternoon about first impressions. I had visited a nursing facility recently and told her I felt like an intruder. As I strode down the hallway I noted that of those people who looked my way, the interpretation I felt was, “I wonder who that is?” The other, more telling concern came from those who didn't look or care to acknowledge me at all!

My colleague's response was, “Why didn't you stop, smile and introduce yourself?”

I tried an experiment. I walked into a facility, had a bounce in my step and a smile while saying “hello” to every person in my path. Guess what? The response was reciprocated and the air was positive and alive! Suddenly, corridors seemed brighter and people seemed happier to convey a tone of life. Even grumpy Ms. Burke slowly navigating her wheelchair outside the rehab department doorway perked out a little smiling greeting. Pretty simple stuff, huh?

Get out of your office and “SMILE UP THE PLACE!”  This is your facility — a great place to come, live and be a part of something special … not to come and die!

Start right now. Greet everyone with a smile and acknowledge the day. Start a “Smile Miles Reward Card.” Stop and take a moment to genuinely speak with your staff and pass the upbeat fever along to set the example.

I'm confident it will take hold and create the kind of environment we need to ensure getting out of the shadow! Start becoming the change agent … Make a difference, today!

Allen Yearick, MHA, NHA, of AFY Management LTC, is based in Bradenton, FL.


Guest Columns

Guest columns are written by long-term care industry experts, ranging from academics and thought leaders to administrators and CEOs.