Encore Keynote - November 2021

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- Encore Rehabilitation’s monthly publication, designed to give you updates on trends we are seeing in the SNF/LTC industry. - 

Attitude of Gratitude


By Kimberlee Hooker

For as long as I remember, my family gathered around the Thanksgiving table, filled to the brim with turkey and all its fixings, and talked about what we were thankful for in that moment. “Family, comfortable home, high school friendships, good health and upcoming vacations” topped the list. When we closed the day, we tucked away our gratefulness, not to be seen again until the following year

What if gratitude means more? What if a daily practice can literally change the course of your life?

This concept was adopted decades ago by spiritual types but has gained immense traction now that scientists have weighed in. We have all heard how gratitude impacts our emotional and social wellbeing but did you know that practicing gratitude on a daily basis has amazing health benefits? People who are grateful sleep better, have reduced stress, demonstrate less symptoms of depression, present with reduced inflammation, have increased energy and develop stronger immune systems. Gratitude can be a powerful tool to help fight off disease and studies have shown it will literally rewire the neuropathways in our brain. 

Practicing gratitude daily requires about 2 minutes of your time. The following list provides some simple ideas:

  1. Morning reflection. My friend Kristen shared that when her feet hit the floor, she speaks the words “thank you” with her first two steps. She’s trained herself to have thankfulness be her very first thought.
  2. Post-It note on the bathroom mirror.
  3. Gratitude rampage. This practice can be done anywhere. Simply say thank you out loud for everything you see or hear. Thank you for this car, thank you for Adele’s voice, thank you for the sky, this tree…...you get the idea.
  4. Keep a gratitude journal and list the first few things that come to mind.
  5. Reframe your thoughts from “I have to” to “I get to”. Changing your perspective from "I have to" clean this house to "I get to" reminds you that there are over 500,000 people in the US that don’t get that chance.
  6. My personal favorite (because I even like my gratitude to be efficient) is to use an app. The one I use is called the Five-Minute Journal. This particular app asks you to list three things you are grateful for and three ways to make today great. It also gives a daily motivational quote and affirmation statement. Five-Minute Journal even prompts you to check-in at the end of the day should you choose. 

To our dynamic employees and loyal customers, we are so very grateful for you!


For many, holidays such as Thanksgiving do not feel quite as festive and celebratory when we cannot share in the traditional foods and meals that we are accustomed to.


This time of the year is tempting to steer away from eating plans for those with swallowing difficulties. It is critical to keep our dysphagia residents and patients safe. With a few modifications, enjoying those favorite foods can make the holidays a bit more pleasurable!


  • Remind those on mechanical soft diets to take small bites of soft-well-cooked foods.
  • Mini food processors are powerful tools! Utilize the food processor to puree those more difficult textures while mixing with gravies, broths, and thickeners to get the appropriate texture for pureed diets.
  • Slurries (adding liquid) to bread and stuffing can make these foods into the correct pureed consistency.


We can make the holiday feast enjoyable, reduce isolation, and eliminate some frustrations and challenges with a little extra effort.



November is National Family Caregivers Month

With much heartfelt appreciation, we thank everyone for their part in providing excellent care for the residents at their skilled nursing facility. 

Trained healthcare professionals provide our loved ones with the immediate medical care and attention they need. However, there is often another chapter to the care provision story when residents with long-term medical conditions go home and continue to require care for extended periods of time. That “next chapter” in those residents’ stories are played out by their family members who are doing their best to provide the much-needed care long after the SNF stay has ended and the resident has gone home.


During November, we celebrate those family members who give themselves to being the primary caregiver for their loved ones. Even before the onset of COVID and its ripple effect, family caregivers were quietly working in the background to give whatever they could to sustain the highest quality of life for the ones they love. 


Without structured medical training, family caregivers have learned how to monitor medications, address wound care, establish routines for family members with failing memories, use suction machines, monitor life-supporting equipment, and selflessly give themselves to providing care to others.


The national observance of National Family Caregivers Month is spearheaded by the Caregiver Action Network (CAN), a nonprofit organization that provides free education, peer support, and resources to family caregivers. The 2021 National Family Caregivers Month initiatives encourage family caregivers to celebrate the passions and interests that enrich their lives.


Many family caregivers do so 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, with no respite or time for themselves. In addition to the CAN organization, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living has recognized the need to support family caregivers and has created the RAISE Family Caregivers Act. RAISE stands for Recognize, Assist, Include, Support & Engage. 


The RAISE Act has spread awareness of family caregiver burden, increased access to services and support to assist family caregivers, increased financial and workplace protections for caregivers, and performed better and more consistent research data collection on this topic. 


To learn more about National Family Caregivers Month and available resources, click on the links below.


• The National Family Caregiver Support Program: https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers/national-family-caregiver-support-program

• The Lifespan Respite Care Program: https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers/lifespan-respite-care-program

• RAISE Family Caregiving Advisory Council: https://acl.gov/programs/support-caregivers/raise-family-caregiving-advisory-council

• The University of Pittsburgh National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center: https://www.caregiving.pitt.edu/

• Caregiver Action Network: https://www.caregiveraction.org/



For more information:
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