In an effort to enhance its staff’s compassion for the people in their care, this Clinton County nursing home took a very unusual step some years ago: It held a contest, dubbed the Through the Looking Glass project, to see which staff member could last the longest living as a resident of the facility.
The first year's winner managed to make it for eight days, taking home a grand prize of $500–apparently not all that much, considering that only four employees accepted the challenge the first year, and only five the next. I was unable to find any details about subsequent years.
But I think this idea is absolutely brilliant. And the home's administrator seems to feel it has legs; she has published a book entiteld What Living as a Resident Can Teach Long-Term Care Staff: The Power of Empathy To Transform Care.
I hope this idea catches on. Just think what would happen to the quality of care–and the level of compassion–that nursing-home residents would experience if their caregivers really understood, from personal experience, exactly what they were going through each and every day.