I am saddened by recent reports about social media abuse in nursing homes. It is hard to fathom that people can be so insensitive. How have we failed?
As leaders, have we instilled in the staff the importance of their work? Have we made an effort to touch the hearts of those we hire? We must do so, not just for the care and respect of the residents we serve but to assure those we lead that we are responsible for caring for another human being. This is a person – a father, brother, mother, friend – just like those people in their own lives.
We must teach them to think with their hearts and to understand how this would feel if such abuses happened to someone they love. And if we are lucky to live a long life, to consider how it would feel if they were the victim when they need care.
It is a wake- up call for all leaders in long-term care and serves as an opportunity to change the perspective of some of those we lead.
There are multiple processes for consideration to determine what outcomes you will have in your facility:
- Do you hire anyone who walks in the door? Do you ask why they want to work in your facility and do you determine their intent? Do you get a sense that they care about older adults? Are they willing to do whatever it takes to be a team member, and to work and respect others?
- Are there expectations for performance that are clearly stated? Do you have a discussion about the specific expectations for your facility? Do you, in fact, hold them to those standards? Do you hold yourself to those standards?
- Is there an ongoing discussion about roles and responsibilities? Do you meet with the staff on a routine basis? Is there a means of planned, routine, communication and support for staff?
- Is there a thorough orientation and education program? Does your organization support continuous learning and growth for all staff? Have you provided opportunities for ongoing education internally and externally?
- What are you doing to care for your staff, as individuals? Do they know and see that you care as well? Actions speak louder than words, so do they see you supporting and caring for each resident as you expect them to do?
- Do staff feel valued and are they being cared for and nurtured as well? Does staff have ways that they, too, can relieve stress and do you allow/teach them how to do so?
- Do you emphasize the very important role staff play in another person’s life?
Yes, there is much for a leader and administrator to do on a daily basis which is overwhelming many days. Yet one day it may be one of us in the hands of a staff person who has not been guided by a leader who values every person under their care as they would their own mother. If we do not instill the importance of respect and dignity in those we lead, then we have done them and ourselves a disservice.