I was touring with a family yesterday and as we were walking the halls, I stopped to say hello to all of our beloved residents as they were going about their routine. This one was heading off to an activity, the other one was on the way to physical therapy.
Everyone was doing something and everyone had smiles on their faces. I called out to each one by name and they warmly responded in return. There was nothing contrived about this pursuit, only genuine and reciprocal love and affection between myself and our residents.
This was duly noted by the family and when we got back to the admissions office, they mentioned this and expressed their amazement at the palpable energy, love and happiness which exists in our building.
They juxtaposed this with their previous visits to other facilities, where the air was thick with morbid sadness and depression, both on the part of the residents, as well as the caregivers.
They asked me to explain in my own words, why I believe this discrepancy exists and to what I would attribute our exceptional and warm ambiance with which they were completely enveloped.
I had a very quick reply and summed it up in 3 words:
I went on to explain as follows:
Regency Nursing Centers are completely different from your typical nursing homes and post-acute rehabilitation facilities.
Go to a typical nursing home and you will instantly experience a void in Leadership.
You won’t ever see an Owner and/or an Administrator. These places are rudderless ships afloat in a stormy sea. There is no visible captain and the net effect is a lack of compassion and accountability on the part of the caregivers, who seem to just be along for the ride.
Regency is different.
We are different because of our leadership at the very top.
Mr. Gross who is the Regency Owner and Founder is a true Leader and a visionary in the world of Senior Healthcare.
Under his stewardship, he had defined the Regency business model by his own example.
Specifically, he has taught several overarching lessons for his Administrators and staff which has set us apart from all other centers and which has resulted in that very special dynamic noted by the family I toured with.
• A good leader and employee must teach by his/her own example. It isn’t enough to know what to do intellectually and academically. Healthcare is a hands-on profession where we care for people, not widgets. You are constantly being watched by your residents, their families and your fellow employees. Illustrate what it means to be a Regency employee by your own example.
• Develop your style and approach with an eye on compassion. Mr. Gross has taught that it is never contraindicated to be your own person with your own style. In fact, he encourages individualism on the part of his employees, so long as the resident comes first and the objective is compassion before all else.
• See the forest for the trees. Regency employees are well versed in the art of discerning the all important nuances and protocol of care for each individual patient. There isn’t a ‘once size fits all’ mentality when it comes to patient care.
• Set high standards. I’ve often compared the Regency Founder with the singularly iconic and legendary GM of the New York Yankees, George Steinbrenner. Mr. Steinbrenner set high standards. He didn’t care which team someone previously played for. The minute a player donned the vaunted Yankee pinstripes, he was held to a higher standard than before. So it is with Regency employees. They are held to the highest standards in the industry.
• Delegate but don’t assume. Employees that are responsible for delegating work to others must be responsible to ensure the work gets done. Never assume something will be done just because you’ve delegated. Stay on top of things and take ownership.
• Love your job. Mr. Gross is passionate about Healthcare and demands the same from his employees. Senior Healthcare isn’t for everyone. It isn’t easy to care for an elderly person as you would for your own parent. Those who are entrusted with senior care can only be successful if the love what they do. Regency employees love what they do.