March 31, 2017
Moore Mission Moments - The Watershed Group


by Patti Moore


Inspiration and great ideas for hospice management often come from surprising sources. For instance, what could we in hospice possibly learn from a top-flight New York restaurateur like Danny Meyer? As it turns out, plenty - especially if we’re looking for insight on how to find and keep great staff.


I shouldn’t have been surprised by how much similarity there is in our respective fields; after all, “hospice” and “hospitality” both spring from the same Latin root – and we’re both in the business of providing comfort and welcome to strangers. And, as is true in the kinds of high-end dining places Meyers has created – restaurants like Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, The Modern, and even The Shake Shack, - our patients’ experiences hinge on the quality of their interactions with our front-line staff. Truly, staff members are the face and heart of our organizations - and as Meyer puts it, “The trick to delivering superior hospitality (is) to hire genuine, happy, optimistic people.”


In his New York Times bestseller, Setting the Table (HarperCollins, 2006), Meyer examines the power of hospitality in restaurants, business and life, and comes to a simple, yet profound conclusion: “The interests of our own employees must be placed directly ahead of those of our guests, because the only way we can consistently earn raves, win repeat business, and develop bonds of loyalty with our guests is first to ensure that our team members feel jazzed about coming to work.” 


To keep them jazzed, Meyer puts his money where his mouth is, offering wages that are as competitive as possible, along with health and dental insurance. Why? Because he wants to attract and to keep the best in the business; people with intuition, imagination, and the ability to be creative under pressure or as he calls them “51%’ers”. As he says, “One of the core business lessons I have taken from the continued success of Union Square Cafe is that willingness to overcome difficult circumstances is a crucial character trait in my employees, partners, and restaurants.” How much more true that is in hospice, where an employee’s quick thinking and compassion can make all the difference between a disappointing or an extraordinary patient and family experience?


The trust and emotional bond your staff forges with patients and families are at the heart of what we do. The ability to be “thoughtful, caring, gracious and appropriate” in these delicate interactions is what your patient families will carry away with them long after their loved one dies – and what they’ll tell the world about how they were treated by your staff and organization.  Make sure your staff is dedicated to giving patients and their loved ones what literally is a once in a lifetime experience.


Patti and Danny Meyer in NYC 2008

Interesting Image

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the journalist who wrote this lovely, powerful piece with a purpose - to find her beloved husband a new wife - passed away March 13th: 

"I want more time with Jason. I want more time with my children. I want more time sipping martinis at the Green Mill Jazz Club on Thursday nights. But that is not going to happen. I probably have only a few days left being a person on this planet. So why I am doing this? 

I am wrapping this up on Valentine’s Day, and the most genuine, non-vase-oriented gift I can hope for is that the right person reads this, finds Jason, and another love story begins."


LOVE IN ACTION: When George Drummond’s wife was hospitalized with Alzheimers, he transformed her room into a 60’s-style living room - so she would feel more at home. After her death, he continues to renovate rooms to make them more welcoming and familiar for their occupants.


When your job is to save a life, how do you cope with knowing it may be the wrong thing to do? This moving account by an ER doctor is a must-read: "We never say much as we frantically try to save the life we know we can’t save or perhaps silently hope we don’t save. When it’s finally over and the last heart beat blips across the screen and we survey the clutter of bloody gloves, wrappers, masks and needles that now litter the room, you may catch a glimpse as we bow our heads in shame, fearful perhaps that someday we may have to stand in front of God as he looks down upon us and says, “What in the hell were you thinking?”


 Family Hospice and Palliative Care of Pennsylvania is holding their Annual Golf Benefit, Monday, May 22, 2017 at Valley Brook Country Club with Judge Dwayne Woodruff as emcee,  The Honorable Dwayne D. Woodruff is a Judge on the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County - Pittsburgh, presiding primarily in the Family Court Division since 2005.  During his professional football career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played 12 seasons, including Super Bowl XIV as a rookie in 1980.  He was named Steelers MVP in 1982 and served as team captain his final three seasons. The event will also feature a $50,000 Hole-in-One prize sponsored by USA Compression, and skill prizes including longest drive and putt, best score, and closest to the pin.  All of the monies raised are allocated to patient and family services.  Last year's event raised $70,000, directly benefitting the more than 2,700 seriously-ill people in their care annually.  Click here to register online.



The Murray Calloway Endowment for Healthcare’s annual Murray Half Marathon will be held Saturday, April 22, 2017 and will mark the seventh anniversary of the event. The Murray Half Marathon offers three races on a certified course, a 13.1 mile race, a 13.1 mile two-person relay race or a 5K run/walk.


All proceeds from the race support operations at the Anna Mae Owen Residential Hospice House, which opened last fall. The facility offers end-of-life care in a home-like setting to area residents in partnership with MCCH’s existing Hospice unit.  Runners interested in participating may sign up at and several discount levels are offered based on how early the participant registers. Learn more about the event here.


I will be in beautiful Cleveland in April and a couple of other spots across the US.  I also hope to see you at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's Management and Leadership Conference in Washington DC starting April 30-May 5, 2017.  I will be the guest speaker on Sunday evening for the Hospi Corporation's private client event.  Hope to see you in DC!


Don't forget, If you’d like to know more, check out my podcasts here – THE MISSION STRATEGIST- on hospice, management, and the future of hospice, among many topics. You can even subscribe to my ITunes Channel

Take a listen to my short podcasts

Pause, take a breath, smile and enjoy the early morning moon-set at our RiverCove Retreat Center
The Watershed Group
Phone: 352-495-2800  |  Fax: 352-495-1810
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