In yesterday’s “When Swing Was King” program, there were some very tense moments when one of the residents required medical intervention. The lady had slumped over as in sleep – sleeping isn't particularly unusual – but the staff members who were present were quick to notice that something was amiss. They intervened quickly and, motioning us to continue the show, they slid the resident's chair out the door where more aggressive medical care was waiting.
It was a sterling example of why we always insist that staff members be present during those presentations we do for audiences at nursing homes and at some assisted living facilities. In fact, we urge this because 1) staff are better able to discern when someone may need help, 2) staff are trained and experienced in medical intervention, and 3) Claire and I are not supposed to lend any aid at all. If someone suffers seizure or pain or a panic attack, if someone falls, even if someone needs to exit quickly to use the bathroom, they require assistance right then – assistance that we are not allowed to give. Therefore, staff being present during the program to provide oversight and help for the residents is a must.
Sad to say, however, this basic responsibility is too often ignored. And that puts Claire and I in a very tough spot. More serious still, it leaves the residents of the care facility vulnerable. That’s why we repeatedly remind staff to have someone present during our shows. And it’s why, over the years, we have had to actually drop certain facilities from our schedule when they continued to ignore our request.
But that certainly wasn’t the cast at Mable Rose yesterday. Indeed, there are always one or two staff members watching over the residents (usually 35-40 residents) and often more than that. And, as proved by yesterday’s quick action, those staff members are not just passively enjoying “When Swing Was King.” They are also keeping careful watch over the residents all the while. This is professionalism. This is compassion. This is the quality of commitment to duty that all care facilities owe to their residents. So a hearty thank you and “way to go” to go to Carol and Tina and all the rest of the Mable Rose team.
Postscript...Claire and I were on the last song of the program yesterday when the resident had to be taken away. But Tina slipped in and whispered to me, “As you know, we have a bit of a situation here and it would be great if we could keep people calm and out of the way for awhile longer. Could you guys keep going for a bit?” So, while Claire hurriedly inserted a new key into the computer, I announced that we had a couple of bonus songs for them today. Applause! And so on we went. As it turned out, you'll be pleased to learn, we only needed to do one more song before the woman had come round and been taken back to her room.
After the program, we visited with the residents as they left and then began helping Carol and Tina clean up and rearrange chairs. Always very encouraging, the girls were thanking us and complementing us for the way the program touches the hearts of the residents and for our taking the time to visit with them. We love to hear this validation of the ministry, of course, but we emphasized to them yesterday that we were the ones who had been profoundly moved by the alertness, skill, and kindness they had shown in caring for the people in their charge. They truly provided us fresh inspiration for which we were very grateful.
And I thought I'd pass that inspiration around, especially to those of you who do magnificent, important, but perhaps unheralded good works to the best of your ability. Never forget that God sees your efforts and, as they are done in the Spirit and in His strength, they will be abundantly rewarded in the life to come.