1999-2000 Annual Report

Leadership Report: Have Pride

It's interesting how modest we have become both as a group of individual long term care organizations and as an association. For example, reflecting back over the past twelve months, at first blush it seemed there wasn't any singularly grandiose achievement to focus on as the core topic of this annual report -- nothing grandiose despite our successes with Medicare and Medicaid funding initiatives,
Simple Savvy , The Learning Network, employee recruitment and retention initiatives, and efforts dedicated to a multitude of rules and regulations. We have become so accustomed to successes and accomplishments that we sometimes fail to recognize our achievements. Yet, if we do not recognize and give credit to our great strides, how can we expect others to commend us on our efforts? Thinking about this, it became  evident that despite the hectic speed of life, all things do not change as quickly as we might think. That in itself became our focus.

Wherever two or more are gathered in the name of long term care, the mood almost instantaneously turns to panic, or frustration, or depression, or concern. Everybody is talking about the lack of funding for long term care, about the negative image of long term care, about the lack of quality employees who are interested in working in long term care, about the burgeoning pile of rules and regulations we contend with each and every day. And everyone is beginning to feel overwhelmed.

Remember the "good ole days"? The days when we had money pouring into our facilities? The days when everybody thought nursing homes were the
only place to live, work, and play? The days when consumer advocates were fighting to get an elderly individual the next available room on our waiting list? The days when legislators and administrative agencies refused to impose another regulation on long term care? The days when we had to chase interested employees out the door because we already were swamped with over-qualified employees? The days when reporters were waiting at our offices in the morning to cover the daily bingo party? Remember those days?

Of course you don't, because those days never existed. The point is, the problems we face today are not new problems. They are the same problems we have faced for years. Yes, the problems have perhaps become more acute, more pressing. And yes, we have fewer people in our facilities to help us overcome these problems. But, nevertheless, they are the same problems.

Since they are the same problems, what are the
new solutions?

First, we must all calm down, take a deep breath and relax. Let's remember that it is not only permissible but necessary to enjoy what we are doing. Have some fun. Allow your employees and residents to have fun. Let smiles and laughter become contagious throughout your facility. If you don't think there is anything to smile about, then take a break, take a walk, or go talk with a resident. Make it a point to find something to smile about. As the managers and supervisors of your organization, your number one priority should be ensuring your residents and your employees enjoy your facilities. Go share some smiles!

Second, we must wholeheartedly dedicate ourselves to new ideas and innovative strategies. If you are tired of the same old problems then make it your mission to find the new solutions. Nurture a spirit of adventure throughout your facility and celebrate every success you and your employees achieve. Be proud of your achievements, your successes and your celebrations -- proud enough to share them with everyone in your community. It is paramount that we begin telling our stories. WAHSA's developing programs on staffing and image enhancement will depend heavily on the local support you are building right there in your community.

Third, we must remember our mission. Just as our problems are not new, neither is our mission. As WAHSA's newly formed Task Force on Image Enhancement recently stated, "Our public relations efforts should focus on our
ministry. We are committed to quality. We face funding and staffing shortages, but we are dedicated to creative efforts that ensure our challenges do not impact our hallmark of quality. We believe in innovation. We believe in peer assistance to help facilities clean up their bad acts. We want to comply with the rules and regulations." That pretty much says it all. No matter what obstacles stand before us, we are dedicated to quality. If we always choose the option that leads us to higher quality, how can we go wrong?

Finally, we must get back to "no-nonsense" long term care. Let's face it. We have not chosen this profession because of any scheme to "get rich quick." We are not here because of an unquenchable thirst for power. And this is not our idea of an easy, "cushy" job.

We have chosen this profession simply because we are a group of caring professionals who truly do want to make a difference in the lives of people. It seems rather sad that there are individuals out there who question our motives, but there are.

If we have any words of advice or comfort to share with you as we close our 1999-2000 fiscal year, it is this: Be true to yourself and be true to your calling. Let's all get back to the basics of caring for people. That's what "no-nonsense" long term care is all about -- caring for people. Someday, somehow, somewhere, maybe somebody will begin to understand what we are all about. Even if they don't, we will always have what we started with -- a mission to care. That in and of itself is a reason for each and every one of us to stand proud. Our rewards are deeply rooted and cherished in the lives of those for whom we care.

Respectfully submitted,

Kyran Clark, President

John Sauer, Executive Director

Have Faith

Your association has never stood stronger than it does today. This strength is due to the dedicated membership and the support you so willingly offer to the association and to your peers. Take comfort from the strength of your association -- the strength we nurture from your support today means we will be even better equipped to represent your interests and to address your issues tomorrow. WAHSA's strength is well documented in the accomplishments during the past twelve months in the areas of administration and management.

Have Confidence

Your association's reputation as a recognized leader in long term care continues to grow across the state and throughout the nation. Members and staff alike have earned the respect we deserve from elected officials and administrative representatives. We have become known as a credible resource in the long term care profession. Take confidence in knowing our reputation serves us well as we continue representing your interests. This is readily evident in the achievements throughout the past year in the public policy arena.

Have Hope

Long term care is an honorable profession. It's about mission; it's about doing good for the sake of doing good. When a strong, credible entity dedicates its efforts toward creating a better future for a mission-focused profession, you know that entity will achieve outstanding results. WAHSA continuously strives to develop new services, new programs and new products that will enhance the future of long term care. Consider the past year's worth of highlights from the area of member services.

Wisconsin Association of Homes and Services for the Aging
204 South Hamilton Street
Madison, WI 53703
Telephone: (608)255-7060 FAX:(608)255-7064