Is Gratitude a Part of Your Healthcare?

by Timothy Gieseke, MD

In Sonoma County, signs saying “Thank you, First Responders” abound in recognition of the vital help they provided during those early days of the Sonoma County wildfires.  As a first responder for healthcare in my remaining facilities, I was very grateful for employees who came to work despite losing their homes.  A wise rabbi in a sheltering facility told one of my good friends that he had not lost his “home,” but only his “house”.  This was a surprisingly helpful truth, for him to process.

At this time of year, I have been challenged by several theologians to focus more on living in gratitude as a measure of wellness.  As I think about the fires, I am grateful that my home was spared, but I also am moved to action to provide tangible help to those who have lost so much and are now under-resourced.

In our work in healthcare, most of our patients have lost much for them to qualify for nursing home care.  I am grateful for employees in my facilities that really care for their patients and are moved to bring them the best of care.  It’s wonderful to be a part of caring and competent teams that consistently help their patients stabilize and recover.

For those patients who continue to decline, I am grateful for the palliative care training available through the Coalition for Compassionate Care of California.  This has helped us walk with our patients and their partners, through troubled waters.

We care for medically complex patients.  I appreciate healthcare professionals dedicated not only to learning from their patients, families, staff, and external resources, but also for sharing what they have learned.

As I look back at this year, I am pleased that some physicians have become a greater part of the local post-acute and long-term care community.  Last summer, I began working with Dr. David Greene, a seasoned geriatrician from Kentucky.  He has greatly relieved my workload at my continuing care retirement community (CCRC) and brought new and helpful ideas for how to work more effectively and efficiently.  If your physicians don’t have an electronic medical record system, or are unhappy with the one they have, talk to us about gEHRiMed, a commercial product endorsed by Point-Click-Care (PCC) which surprisingly has been a “game-changer” for us.

Finally, I am grateful for the many leaders in this area of medicine who have mentored me in so many ways while challenging me to move from mainly a receiver, to one who finds great joy in giving back.

I hope as you reflect on how gratitude has affected your healthcare, you will consider becoming more involved in giving back.

At CALTCM, we appreciate your support.  Please consider joining all CALTCM’s board members in your year-end giving at and support our grassroots efforts to improve post-acute and long-term care in California.

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