Nursing home mixes disco and dancing to rally enthusiasm

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Faced with flagging morale due to looming Medicare cuts, one nursing home operator came up with the answer: let's dance.

David Gendel, director of special projects for Chicago-based NuCare Management — which operates about 15 long-term care facilities in Illinois and Arizona — said his team hatched a plan to choreograph and film a video set to the Gloria Gaynor classic “I Will Survive” at a staff retreat in Itasca, IL.

It reflects how “we're going to persevere in the face of important changes in this industry,” Gendel told McKnight's.

The team drew inspiration from another viral video, The Pink Glove Dance, which raised awareness for breast cancer. “That was our model for this — the idea that we're going to fight and have some defiance and hope about this. This is what really made an impact on people's attitude going back to work after the retreat.”

NuCare provided the props and colorful T-shirts for attendees, who had no idea they would be filming a music video when they signed up for the retreat.

A NuCare marketing staffer, Erica Cruz, who moonlights as a Chicago Luvabull, a.k.a. a professional Chicago Bulls cheerleader, choreographed the dance routine, which was taught and filmed in less than two hours. Another NuCare employee, Cherese Williams, recorded the adapted lyrics, such as “Even though they've placed new requirements/We're still going to be there to take care of our residents.” Reel Sweet Productions was enlisted to edit the video.

To see the video, click above or here.