Less Hospital, More Hospitality.

Posted by Dr. El - January 19, 2009 - Anecdotes, Communication - No Comments

I once dated a man who didn’t speak nicely to me. I don’t know when his endearments changed into negative comments, because, frankly, I didn’t notice them until I returned from a solo weekend vacation. “Hmmn,” I thought to myself after he threw a verbal barb at me upon my return, “they didn’t talk that way to me at the spa!” I recalled the pleasant demeanor of the staff and their courteous anticipation of my needs. We ended our relationship shortly after that.

I thought about this as I watched the scene unfold in front of the Nursing Station the other day.
“Did you hear what Carlos just said to me?!” his aide asked the staff members standing near the desk. The residents sitting in a row nearby looked up with curiosity. “He said he wanted to marry me and move to my house!”
The staff members laughed. “Carlos,” the nurse behind the desk called out, “I thought you were going to marry me?!”
Carlos glanced up at her, knowing he was being discussed, but not quite comprehending the subject. Smiling, the workers went back to their tasks.
I studied the faces of the residents across from the nursing station. None of them were smiling. What could be seen as good-natured teasing by the staff might easily be perceived as disrespect and mockery by the residents. No one would talk to them like that at a spa!

If we could marry the skills and expertise of the hospital model with the respect and philosophy of the hospitality industry, then maybe a nursing home might be a place I’d want to live.