Topics discussed include:
– The inspiration for Buffy’s book, “BROKEN, How the Global Pandemic Uncovered a Nursing Home System in Need of Repair, and the Heroic Staff Fighting for Change.”
– How she had to change some names in the book because the industry can be very punitive.
– Her surprise at how the industry reacted to the book and the number of times she was thanked for telling people’s stories.
– How the nursing home system was broken and how it can, and must, be transformed.
– The positive effects the industry can take away from facilities that put the residents first and take care of their staff.
– How the knowledge that Buffy was writing her book for the workers inspired her to keep going.
– Simple changes that can be implemented to improve nursing home conditions.
– Looking at the truth behind what happened during the pandemic to learn from it.
Rapid fire Q/A
How did you approach the writing of your book?
I wanted to highlight my experiences working in over 200 nursing homes during the pandemic. The general public I don’t feel really understands the whole scope and picture of what occurs in long term care. I just really wanted to highlight the heroic and amazing workers that are dedicated and showing up every single day, and the challenges that they encounter, and why it is almost impossible to actually deliver high quality care in this setting.
What do you think the industry learned from going through the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, people simply crossed their fingers, hoping something like that would never happen to them. Now we’ve all been through an outbreak, and we’re much better prepared to handle the next one.
What was it like emotionally to write the book?
It was a way for me to process the trauma I was seeing every day in my work with nursing homes. It was a difficult book to write.
What surprised you most about the reaction to your book?
I wrote the book for the general public, but much to my surprise, the industry latched onto it. I was told many times, “thank you for writing our story.”
How can this broken nursing home system be fixed?
It can’t really be fixed, but it can be transformed. We need to help our people. They’re wounded from this pandemic. Many are operating short-staffed, and their workload is even more severe. We can’t even begin to talk about high quality of care for our residents if we don’t take care of those who are caring for them.
What are some simple changes you would like to see in the industry?
I can’t start to talk about big changes until I start talking about the little ones. Can we get hand sanitizers in every single building? Can we train our housekeepers to clean from the cleanest to the dirtiest? We have to start with the foundations of infection prevention and control, which can truly reduce harm and save lives.
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