I am a physician trained in geriatrics. While in fellowship training, I discovered a nursing home with a remarkable spirit. The administrator, Maxine, was unlike any leader I had met. She was innovative, made great things happen with very few resources, and had a remarkable ability to allow her staff and residents to blossom – a gardener of the spirit.
I was fortunate to become the medical director in this facility, and every day I walked out of the building with a spring in my step. Yes, we were knee deep in regulations like every other building but invariably there were bright spots. Whether it was a big, comfy recliner that she had moved into the breakroom so staff could relax fully on breaks, or a remodel she had authorized to build a tranquility room where our new massage therapist would have a space to provide treatments to residents and staff, there was always a buzz of goodness in the facility. I never saw her become discouraged, and I never heard her speak of anything but possibility despite what most would perceive as limited resources in a building that was funded almost entirely by Medicaid.
Unfortunately, Maxine was taken from us far too soon, but her energy lives in those halls and in those who had the privilege of knowing her. I continue to be inspired by her ingenuity and equate the spirit of long-term care with Maxine’s unflappable spirit. She was everything PALTC can be, and I sincerely hope we continue to cultivate her spirit and allow the blooming to continue for many years to come!
Cari Levy, MD, PhD, CMD