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Choosing to Speak to the Future

“No space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused” ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

Most of us know the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and how on Christmas Eve he is visited by three ghosts – one from the past, one from the present and one from the future. None of these momentary glimpses are particularly pleasant as the ghosts are trying to show him how his stinginess, greed and insensitivity set him on a path to potential doom.

Long ago he had much to be happy about but chose to turn away from his joy and forgo a life of friends and family.

In present day, he was shown how his disregard for others impacted real people and their lives to such an extent, if it continued, a family and many others would be heartbroken.

The future is just plain scary as Scrooge, shaking from the fear of facing his own headstone in a dark and forbidding cemetery, realizes he can change the trajectory of his life and therefore his death.

A Christmas Carol stands the test of time as its ultimate message is about how the effects of poverty, sickness, neglect and contempt can have on the lives of those who experience them and the difference we can make by just caring about our fellow human beings.

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You are Essential

I will answer that now and I hope our entire team remembers this: You saved lives, you brought happiness and relief during a time of fear and grief, you poured forth compassion for your residents and each other and you somehow found the energy and drive to show up every day for your families, your community and those dependent on your attention to their health and well-being. You share a mission with Focused Care and you are determined to see it through.

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Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.
—Henry Ford

It’s what we help our residents do at Focused Care. The ironic thing about that is that helping to heal others, heals us at the same time. We could be sad, angry or disappointed when we start our day, but when we help someone feel better, more comfortable, more hopeful, we also feel better. That’s a reliable reaction from the human spirit.

Life is complicated and our personal experiences impact the way we perceive and process what goes on around us. Can we all see eye to eye about everything? I think we know given human nature – that is not likely.

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What it Takes to Win

In golf, there is a game called Captain’s Choice. Captain’s Choice changes the spirit of the competition from individual accomplishment to “team performance.” We don’t generally think of golf as a team sport – it traditionally calls for acute concentration, silence by the crowd of onlookers and announcers, and a solo achievement shared only with the caddie if the player is gracious enough.

In Captain’s Choice – you take the best from your team and that is what drives the score. Let’s say you have a team of four. Each person takes a swing, and the next swing by all is taken where the best shot out of four is positioned. Each person on the team benefits from the best stroke taken on a given shot – be it the drive, the approach, the putt or in between. Consequently, the end result is a much better golf game than any one individual could have played. Captain’s Choice highlights the best of everyone.

This is a light hearted analogy to providing long term care to our seniors. But it is still illustrative of how we can achieve excellence and successfully fulfill our mission.

Hurricane Laura and COVID-19 have taught us more about working together under harried and fast-moving conditions as well as how much we truly rely on each other to carry out our individual and collective responsibilities.

We are better together.

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The Real Test

How will history record our response to COVID-19? No one in the health care field has time to think about that right now but it’s hard not to notice through news reports and even our own chance observations, that we are not yet collectively coming together as a country to manage this pandemic, stanch the infection rate and save lives.

While we are relying on diagnostic outcomes that identify positives or negatives, isn’t our conduct, our decision-making, our commitment to our families and to those we care for – the real test?

Our health care workers can be likened to soldiers at war, too often seeing illness and death, exposing themselves to the enemy in order to save others, and showing us all what it means to have real courage and real character.

For those who shun science-based precautions, can it be enough to see that protecting yourself in turn, protects others? If it seems you are sacrificing your freedom by wearing a mask, what if you are protecting the safety and care of another person by keeping your distance and shielding your nose and mouth? To protect others takes character. Shifting your priorities and your perspective to reflect the safety of others – takes courage.

This is the real test.

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Facts Amidst the Unknown

This virus that insists that mankind not become complacent or overly confident continues to vex some of the smartest scientists on our planet.  We still don’t know if contracting and weathering COVID-19 makes us immune to a repeat infection. Do masks protect us from getting the virus or if we have it, from spreading it to others? Is six feet of physical distance really enough? Laboratory diagnostics have at once become extremely vital and in some cases, grossly inaccurate, the latter causing great concern with false positives and false negatives. A cloud of confusion surrounds antibody tests, their accuracy and what we can use them for.

Never has the time for separating fact from fiction become more important.

Since this is our first foray into the world of a global pandemic, we can perhaps be somewhat forgiving when considering mistakes made be they in public policy, health care provision, and even journalism – that’s if we accept the premise that all of us are trying to get this “right” – in the course of our respective responsibilities.

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We Are at a Juncture

“For … those in positions of public trust, I have this message: Yours is the duty to bring about a peaceful change in America. If your response to these tragic events is only ‘business as usual’ — you invite not only disaster, but dishonor.” — President Lyndon Johnson, address to the nation, July 27, 1967

We are at a juncture.

Make no mistake. And this is not about a global pandemic.

This IS about something that is sickening and deadly and if not treated properly has the potential to kill our nation like no virus can.

This is not about politics – it is far bigger than that. We have to ask ourselves. Are we a nation built on freedom or fear? Do we truly share the same American experience – and I mean as an American who is proud to be a citizen of a durable democracy that affords us the opportunity to build an enriching life? Many of us know but perhaps not all of us would say the answer to that is no.

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Taking Care of Yourself While Taking Care of Others

People often cite the airlines instruction when applying oxygen masks – put your own on first and then assist others – as a pretty good rule to abide by throughout life. I agree. Our value to others is dependent upon our self-respect, integrity, compassion, and yes, our own health.

Health care providers, parents of young children and school teachers tend to build up immunities to illnesses because they are often exposed to various ailments and develop a resistance. But none of us should take for granted any unseen defense system within our bodies. Particularly, when we care for vulnerable individuals.

The current virus wreaking havoc globally is certainly disturbing and every one of us must take sensible precautions moving forward. But those precautions are no different than those we have in place every day – as a rule. Keeping our Focused Care team members healthy – whether it’s the seasonal flu or the common cold making the rounds – is of utmost importance so we can continue to protect the health and well-being of our residents.

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April 2020 Founder’s Message

April usually brings to mind the renewal that spring ushers in – fresh colorful blooms as nature comes out of hibernation to remind us of the rich beauty that is always with us – just hidden for a while when the cold sets in.

I think it’s important for all of us, in the midst of what can feel like a very frightening time, to stop and notice and take in the sounds, the fragrance and the feel of spring. This virus can’t take away the breeze, the warmth of the sun or the fresh air we breathe. We may be challenged in ways like never before and fear and sorrow and desperation can drag down our spirits if we let them. Physical and emotional exhaustion can wreak havoc on our perspective and the weight of responsibilities many of us bear can crush us if-we-let-it.

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A Month of Commemoration

Life as we knew it a month ago has dramatically changed. We are all rising in the morning with an acute awareness that things are different. We take our mask when we leave the house. We have hand sanitizer with us or maybe have Clorox wipes in the car. We only see the eyes and ears of faces we pass. Taking a daily walk for many has become a necessity.

The loss of life due to COVID saddens us all, but we have also collectively albeit temporarily lost many of the meaningful traditions in our society. We cannot experience together as families unless limited in number, the births of babies, weddings, funerals, graduations, birthdays – celebrations acknowledging some milestone or a life well lived. We may feel robbed of the common commemorations that unite us in joy or grief and allow us to share a moment together.

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Happy 3rd Birthday Focused Post Acute Partners

Happy 3rd Birthday Focused Post Acute Care Partners!

Walking the walk and talking the talk. Haven’t we heard those phrases so often? We celebrate the hero in movies who lives by his convictions that eventually overcome the bad guy.

We happily cheer for the hero who beats the odds and rises triumphantly while his foil who chose to compromise his ethics sees his plan fall apart.

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Looking Back on the Last Year

Bringing in a new year can give us reason to look forward – for some – a clean slate, for others finishing work to be done, and perhaps for many of us, meeting new goals, taking on new challenges and raising our own standards to reach new heights in our quest to be a better human being.

This time of a new year can also be constructive in looking back on what brought us to today.

Who was Focused Care in 2019 and who will we be in 2020?

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