Come back with me to November 22, 1995. I'm standing next to the bedside of one of the most beloved people in my life... my brother Michael, and he's dying.
It's painful to watch him wasting away. The sense of helplessness is profound. And yet he is surrounded by this wonderful group of people in this hospice facility who are making the experience of death one of dignity and grace instead of fear and despair.
On that day in 1995, I had been a Hospice Administrator for over 10 years. I could tell you the rules and regulations, the staffing patterns, and the budget. Hospice was in my head. It was my job.
But on that day... that day in 1995, standing next to my brothers bed, hospice came into my heart. And I have never been the same.
In my three decades of working in hospice, all across the U.S., I've discovered there are certain things that separate good hospices from great hospices. And it usually doesn't have...
Image Above: Danny Meyer on Hospitality...the root word of Hospice
In my last newsletter I introduced Danny Meyer the famous NYC restauranteur with radical ideas about "enlightened hospitality". His commitment to extraordinary customer service begins first with an excellent staff. How do you hire - for skills, or for people smarts? My philosophy has always led me to look first for personality, a sense of mission, and cultural fit, because the rest can be learned.
Danny dealt with a similar situation in staffing his first restaurant. As he describes the process, “My brain was looking for people with restaurant skills, but my heart was beseeching me to cultivate a restaurant family. The job application form I wrote was idiosyncratic: I typed questions like, “How has your sense of humor been useful to you in your service career?” “What was so wrong about your last job?” “Do you prefer Hellmann’s or Miracle Whip?” If...
Image Above: Patti and Danny Meyer NYC 2008
Inspiration and great ideas for hospice management often come from surprising sources. For instance, what could we in hospice possibly learn from a top-flight New York restaurateur like Danny Meyer? As it turns out, plenty - especially if we’re looking for insight on how to find and keep great staff.
I shouldn’t have been surprised by how much similarity there is in our respective fields; after all, “hospice” and “hospitality” both spring from the same Latin root – and we’re both in the business of providing comfort and welcome to strangers. And, as is true in the kinds of high-end dining places Meyers has created – restaurants like Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and even The Shake Shack, - our patients’ experiences hinge on the quality of their interactions with our front-line staff. Truly, staff members are the face and heart of our organizations -...