I have to be direct in asking – isn’t this every elder care community’s goal? After all, we should be in the compassion business, and sustainability is the hot topic today. Creating a sustainable culture of compassion – makes sense right?
As I write this I can see my readers head shaking. “It would be ideal, however…….”. And the list starts adding up quickly of all the barriers to creating a sustainable culture of compassion.
Let’s break this down a bit, starting with Creating. To create is to bring into existence; to bring about a course of action or behavior; to produce through imaginative skill. Creating should be a blend of many and in elder care, that means everyone from our residents, dining staff, front-line caregivers, housekeeping, clinical staff, administrators and right “up the line” to the CEO. It’s not a top-down mechanical procedure. We create things and ideas by listening to each other, churning ideas and then embracing it all with passion.
Sustainability if the ability to be maintained; In elder care, maintaining a high level of care for each resident is critically important. High levels of satisfaction from residents, families, and staff are benchmarks upon which our business either succeeds or not. Sustainability takes a strong commitment from leadership and perseverance to maintain standards even when the going gets tough.
Now we look at a Culture of Compassion. Wow, now we’re getting to the real meat here. Compassion is simply empathy and concern for others. Culture is the characteristics and knowledge of a group of people. It’s a collective whole that creates a certain environment.
Aren’t we in the compassion business?
Most certainly we are in the compassion business and I believe most of us found our way to senior or elder care because somewhere in our life experiences we found that this caring business is pretty dog-gone important to others and ourselves.
Why, then do we struggle with creating a sustainable culture of compassion? Are we not looking at the vision we must create as leaders? Are we not listening enough to those who are really doing the work that makes our business? And, goodness knows, are we forgetting to listen to the very people who live in our communities?
I believe that creating a sustainable culture of compassion is not only doable but essential. So many good things will happen when compassion cultures are created and maintained. It is a domino effect of great leadership, teambuilding, happy residents, staff and families. It’s getting down to the basics of why we do what we do every single day.
To coin a phrase, Just Do It!
Pam Brandon is President/Founder of AGE-u-cate Training Institute and a passionate advocate for older adults and those who serve them. She led the development of the Compassionate Touch® program. She may be contacted at pam@AGEucate.com.