“My Day at Memphis – Driving Spirituality into the Core of the Possible” by Dianne H. Timmering, Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs

insertYou can find the Permission To Pray video for it on the Spirituality YouTube channel HERE.

Signature HealthCARE of Memphis is a special skilled nursing facility with a legacy of intergenerational love between the child and the grandparent, the bonding of time span by a look and a smile into the eye of one who wants to receive it.

The Bridges of Memphis was started by Corky Rodman, Administrator extraordinaire –one with a vision to define what quality of life could be, not what it was. A jewelry factory of purpose, an industry where residents sold their goods; the products, the fruits of their creative work.

Purposed again. I had not been to the Memphis market in a couple of years, healthcare a changing world from then to now, with the constraints of federal policy and state restrictions imposed upon those who actually take care of the sickest. But this visit was less about the new constraints of healthcare, though the chronic sickness grows. It was about the splendor of the healthcare workforce, the ‘can,’ the frontline clinical fighter, the warrior inside the battle. I walked around and got to witness their beauty – their indelible timelines, in that their lives commingled with the walls of the place because they had just been there so long. Others were newer.

The courses they had to take and practicums experienced were nothing like the actual experience of taking care of the sick and vulnerable who are simply beautiful folks who can no longer take care of themselves. On my visit, several of the nurses met together in the Signature Chapel; God called us in. We stood short and tall, uncertain of what would happen next, and the words began to flow as God directed them to operationalize their spirituality. They were called to activate their legacy of abundance, “pressed down, shaken together” to overflow.

Some began to cry. I told them we had compassion for them within the jewel of our Sacred Six, respect and love for the hard convictions of their work.

We showed them dignity and hope, patience for a bad day, renewed joy in a good one. We surpassed the spiritual core, dug deep, asked God to rid of us the hurt, to take away pain, to heal family members, to “bring” husbands in some cases, to bless, to protect, to favor, to open the package of opportunity because each was beautiful and brilliant. Each was worthy.

How do we drive the beauty of spirituality into the core of who we are, who each one is? How do we not forget that one shining moment of faith when we actually believed that the rain of blessings could happen? Spiritualty is, after all, about sustainability. It’s not just one moment but many, an anatomy of a thousand atoms connected so that belief and favor can happen in the life of the person impacted by torment, suffering, hardship.

The Signature Chaplain Tom continues the spiritual renewal that we witnessed that day in early February. Through engagement, prayer huddles, and in partnership with many of the department team members, Tom continues to drive the sustainability of abundance for this beautiful Memphis team. And we continue to see if it enhances stakeholder satisfaction and retention in the marketplace.

Leveraging hope impacts all around is like a stone on a gentle pond with concentric rings. If the stone falls, the rippled contagion happens and it keeps going, hardwiring spirituality into the nucleus of the possible—uncorked, day to day and very real.

Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs
Signature HealthCARE Consulting Services, LLC
561.301.7401
Twitter: @Dhtimmering

Louisville Innovation Summit October 14-15, 2015

The Louisville Innovation Summit was held on October 14 and 15, 2015 at the Kentucky Center for the Arts in downtown Louisville. Dianne was one of the panelists for one of the “Aging With Vitality” segments entitled “Compassion As Innovation In Healthcare Delivery”. Below are details of the event with highlighted quotes from Dianne as well as pictures from the event. Panelists: Dianne Timmering (Signature HealthCARE) James Doty (Stanford University) Joseph D’Ambrosio (The Institute for Sustainable Health & Optimal Aging; University of Louisville, School of Medicine) Description: This is the era of disruption for the aging! What is now, what is possible. Never old-growing, perfecting living. Quotes from Dianne from Summit panel on Compassion Operationalized! “Compassion is specific. We at SHC have activated, operationalized the intention of compassion.”  “Compassion is an instinct.”  “I know an organization’s compassionate when talent approaches, specifically because they’re allowed to practice compassion.” “Don’t assume compassion is a one-way action.” “What do you think about asking for compassion?”  “Compassion is already there. It just needs to be unleashed.”  “Compassion is not altruism. It’s the point of listening, of touch. It’s very specific.”  “The center of pain and suffering isn’t solved with meds but compassion. It’s how our species will survive.”  “Compassion is the power of intention.”

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Meeting with the Governor of Florida

It started with a sheet of paper comparing Kentucky’s potential future economy with Florida’s existing one—their triple-A credit rating, tax reform, a better tort climate, “business infrastructure” and ‘right to work.’ It read like a businessman or woman’s opportunity to thrive in a climate which wanted them there. Or, if not thrive, have a reasonable chance to survive.

Kentucky doesn’t have ‘right-to-work’ laws and its potential economic impact for workforce expansion recently became such a relevant component of discussion that twelve creative counties have taken it upon themselves to change the law. It is now in court being challenged by a coalition of unions that it preempts federal labor law, outcome yet to be determined.

Florida Governor Rick Scott came and met with local and national KY business leaders with decades of legacy in the Commonwealth. With ears, they listened. It was a poignant moment that – when the state government fails to offer viable economic policies to keep its current businesses, secure the ties of legacy industries or have a standard baseline of good economic policies to recruit new business – there is pause of understanding why Gov. Scott showed up like someone who could save the day.

Draconian healthcare laws and excessive litigation …. The landscape for our once-affluent healthcare realm, is it weakening with the recent acquisition of Humana and nursing home companies handing over their keys?

So, I attend a political event a week later and KY senatorial leadership is discussing the real need for good economic policy, including tort reform, ‘right to work’ and workforce development. I bring up the fact that the Governor of Florida met with my CEO and me just the week before. The room heightened in intensity; the words, bullets of consternation.

Could it really happen? Might it take the power of one bold new governor to jumpstart these initiatives in a challenged and often hamstrung legislature? Is it time for a shift where tangible and brisk economic policy is the new fruit to battle the legacy of poverty that eats away at our workforce buoyancy?

In the end, in leaving the event, a senior political leader pulled me aside and said, ‘are you guys thinking of leaving the state?’ And I said, ‘no, we love Kentucky. We moved here because of Midwestern workforce values and the scale of healthcare depth. We want to stay! Be a part of a new healthcare legacy!’

And then the Governor of Indiana showed up the next week, on this side of the Ohio…

Team, if we are ever going to change our future inside the present moment it is now. VOTE!

“A Conversation With My Mom: An Introduction To Pallative Care”

I recently came across this conversation with my mom in January 2012 which I had written down at the time, just after she had passed away in one of our SNFs. I wrote it down to capture her voice. The white page with black ink breathes her immortality and is a true treasure to me. Just like a buried light, it gifts me with her memory and I feel her presence, alive and well.
I offer this conversation to everyone to serve as an introduction to our new palliative care core service line. Being able to relive this moment is a powerful example of just how palliative care can Capture a voice in every breath of life. A voice can live long, ring in your ear as a reminder of warmth, of home, of direction, of comfort. The voice is a reminder not to forget, and to live…
January 9, 2012 – Had a good conversation with mom today . . .
I told her sorry that she had fallen and broke her ribs, that convalescing was tough; from there we may have discussed the rottenness of the disease [for she had Parkinson’s]. I just don’t know.
“Hello precious girl,” she said.
She reached out to hug me. I’m so glad she did.
“It is good being with you,” I said.
“It is good to see you,” she whispered.
 “You look beautiful,” I said.
“Look at that pretty face,” she said to me. And then she admonished. “Fix your hair.” (She was always saying that).
Mom told me just how proud she was of me. It meant so much.
I prayed in God’s name and by His stripes she was healed across her body. . .
We studied each other twice like she had so much to tell me so I said, “there is so much going on in that head of yours which you just can’t say.” She knew . . . maybe she just knew.
“You’re the best mommy in the world,” I say, because she could barely speak.
“I love you,” she said with a deep guttural breath, like the gulp couldn’t get out of her way.
Why didn’t I take the time to lie down with her that Friday? Can I forgive myself?
“Hi mommy,” I say.
“Hi precious,” she would respond.
“Hi mommy.”
“Hi Di.”
“Trust Me fully,” God says.
The vacancy in her eyes – so much to say, or nothing, or just peace, like her voice and thoughts couldn’t connect anymore.
I can’t pocket away the grief. I can’t put it in a closet. I can’t do anything with it.
But God knew. Together the 3 of us, dad, my sister, and I assembled the most amazing and beautiful package of love – dad doing his role, Linda hers, and me mine. Not one did more or less. We just did as God orchestrated from above. But God then who was she calling? (She passed with the phone in her hand).
I don’t think she wanted to die.
Did we give her up too soon?
I picked my home over visiting my mom too many times, or was it just rest after a long day?
I wish I could look upon her again-her sculpted face and red cherry hair.
Why didn’t I know she wanted grapefruit and oranges . . . I could have brought her some. . .
The grief I suppose takes one day at a time to process and God sweeps it away behind us as we release it to a new ecosystem of life and survival.
The silence feels good.
Hi Mommy. . .Hi Mommy, Hi Di . . .
She could reach out and touch my face because she could see it; I hope it was a light to her. I hope she knew how much I loved her.

“6th International Conference on Ageing* and Spirituality” – October 6, 2015

On October 6, 2015 in Los Angeles, Dianne was a presenter at the “6th International Conference on Ageing* and Spirituality”, the first to be held in the United States. As described from the event’s website:

This International Conferences attract both those with academic interests and expertise in this discipline from around the world, as well as those with more practical experience through involvement in the aging services industry or as informal care partners.  The Conferences include a mixture of keynote speakers, workshops and papers of interest to those coming from a faith based approach and to those approaching spirituality from a secular viewpoint.

Dianne’s poster presentation for the event was entitled “The Deconstruction of Suffering: The New Elixir in the Care Continuum” and it’s theme as defined by the conference was to be “Paradox and Promise”. The program text of her presentation is below as well as a JPG of the poster she used for the event.

Dianne Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA is the Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs for Signature HealthCARE,  a healthcare and rehabilitation company with 126 locations in ten states and nearly 19,000 employees.

The vision of Signature HealthCARE is To radically change the landscape of healthcare forever. Signature’s organizational culture is founded on three pillars: Learning, Spirituality, and Innovation.

The Spirituality Pillar, serving through bold listening, hope and humility, strives to meet residents, employees and family members where they are, at the point of their very need. The results are impacting emotional and other clinical outcomes as well as stakeholder purpose and family satisfaction, foundational elements for real culture change in resident-centered pursuits. The pillar is founded on the emotional and  spiritual healing well of unconditional love for diverse cultures and faiths.

Dianne’s poster for the event is below and a hi-res PDF of it (22 mb) is available at http://media.wix.com/ugd/9c0ad0_9f8b09c522084db4b21b85b81608cabf.pdf

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*A note about spelling.  The word “Ageing” in the title is not a typo.  Since the Conference comes to us from other parts of the world, in the title and logo of this 6th Conference, you will see aging spelled as “ageing.”  In all other references it will be spelled as we spell it here in the United States–aging.

“The Power Of The Ask” by Dianne H. Timmering

My four-year-old niece Lola was on the phone with my sister Linda recently and was telling her about her day. While they were talking, Lola suddenly stopped and asked my sister how much longer did she want to talk because her favorite show was coming on and she didn’t want to miss princess Sophia’s slumber party with her friends. Linda paused, laughed inside, and then told Lola that they could be done talking so she didn’t have to miss her show.

And I thought about the power of ‘the ask’.

Lola’s ‘ask’ was honest, direct, and specific and yielded her the result she wanted. Do we do that when we are praying? I know I have found myself thinking healing prayers when I pray for someone on the prayer chain, but DO I ask? And I found that my answer was often no, I didn’t.

Joe and I were so honored to be able to present our early research on the power of the ask and frankly since we did that livestream broadcast we have been more aware than ever of the intent of the ask and the power around it.

I am now asking for the healing of a chronic sickness for a resident…

I am now asking for the healing of a motorcycle victim’s broken bone and an ease of pain…

I am now asking that God zap a devilish cancer of a distant friend…

Let us be bold, specific and honest with God as to exactly what our requests are. It might take another few seconds to put our requests or thoughts into the form of an ‘ask’ but take the additional time up-front, in both mind, thought and deed, and see if the result isn’t faster, more complete and fully sustainable.

Ask…for God alone knows the desires of your heart and see if that doesn’t open up special dialogue. “Talk to me” He says, “I will meet you there.”

Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs
Signature HealthCARE Consulting Services, LLC

#shcspirituality; @DHTimmering

 

Don’t Run: A DON Clinical Revolution Reflection

Recently in November, SHC hosted our first-ever Clinical Revolution, bringing in all of our DONs across the 10 states that we serve. They are beautiful, inclined to think of others with the passion of their hands and the truth of their skill-sets.

In long-term care, we serve the sickest and most vulnerable, and even abandoned in some cases. Our DONs face cruel sickness on a daily basis…angry family members, stakeholders who are broken, fighting it out on a daily basis, taking care of beloved residents while coping with personal issues that sometimes seem like a tumultuous mountain that grows out of the earth – and they can’t keep up.

Our DONs came with fatigue, and maybe even some hopelessness. Our CEO Joe and other greats leaders, like Kathy O., listened with compassion, dissected their survey results, discussed new tools and clinical offerings, that it was, and would be, worth the wait.

God spoke too.

‘I see you,’ He said. ‘I hear you. I know your pains, and your soulful thoughts that only I can hear.’

He said to trust Him, to let go of the past hurts, regrets, mistakes and to let go and be all that was capable within.

“Don’t run,’ He said. ‘I appointed you for such a time as this. You are called.’

Nursing, after all, is a vocation; service to a population who helped build cities and communities, teach and raise us, farm the soil and fight in distant lands.

What if…

What if the power of the spiritual could heal when nothing else could?

What if we could defy pain through compassionate listening and tender music?

What if we could pray over pressure sores and the power to “heal thy wound” is real?

What if we could prescribe the spiritual of scripture and sew it into torment, or the physicality of what hurts?

What if we could stop a fall or prevent a negative act from happening because we encourage a patient to simply use her walker, because she is beautiful doing it and she just needs a little help?

What if.

What if the power of the spiritual and clinical together could reduce hospital readmits because the patient is just scared? And the qualified team of nurses can handle their physical ails, it was just a frightening moment…

What if we could comfort an angry family member, not because they are really mad at the care we give, but simply because they feel helpless to hope their loved one gets better?

What if.

And together that morning, we started to renew, restore, believe. Because a revolution takes a vision and the belief wrapped around it in the possible. Because risk is only failure when there is no risk at all.

So we let go, and we didn’t run, realizing we didn’t have to. A mosaic of peoples, skills, cultures, traditions, beliefs, fitting into the puzzle of a perfect mission, an army linked arm-in-arm on the front line of the care battlefield. Each one a fortress. Each one serving a pivotal role. Each one skilled. Purposeful and fulfilled, not because every day was absolutely easy, but because each day was powerful in the journey of the destiny of a real revolution.

I say we run toward the revolution of the possible now, for we are the future of what the world can only imagine. We are the intervention of hope, the innovation of true change, of really healing, of pioneering our way and shoveling toward figuring it out together.

Maybe turnover is related to fear of failure and not distress of the position. Maybe turnover can be overtaken and combated by simply believing that a new future for our people is worth the fight of a good revolution, and because we have the right tools, weaponry, armor. A new world awakens.

Imagine we control the regulatory world around us. When an adverse event happens, we can begin the “four step process.” Now.

What if.

That’s the song of a revolution: controlling our world, not waiting for it to sword our gut with the skewer of the sting so that we can’t fight anymore because the fight has left us.

That is our calling. Together, we are the future of what is possible now.

The Spirituality Framework in a Corporate World

The essence of the spiritual is within. It means that you can be your own spiritual entity of light. We have brought God inside the workplace, inside our for-profit culture, and have been blessed with significant essence of that which is about the presence of what is real, in the light of matter.

Many people ask about and yet fear the spiritual realm in the workplace for real reasons, although through education and the deliberate intention of respect for another’s practice or faith tradition, we have created an environment where we can thrive in the roundness of who we are, un-watered down, spiritual skin intact, just not rubbed off on someone else, so to speak. Simply said, it is a modeling of dignified compassion. It is a new awakening of what being spiritual means with discernment and decision-making in the realm of profit, where humankind and profit-making find themselves inside the same sentence, and a spiritual injection into the fabric of a culture begins to look at the co-worker as a neighbor, a colleague and a friend, someone to care about, to rejoice with, to pray with, to cry for, all wrapped up in the thumb of life, because life flows at work and need never stop, and kindness has its place, and a profit is stewardship, the best of its kind, so that people have purpose and place together in market-borne demands.

Money is good. Unabashed courage of the inner life is even better. Mastering one’s own solitude is boundless.

But most companies are just not ready for God in the workplace. The misnomer that God cannot live where we spend so much time making critical decisions based on profits and margins and people, while untrue, has a well-tuned media life in that the fear is real even though the cause is often based on the assumption that spiritual air cannot come through the door from 9 to 5 because the world says it can’t. But the First Amendment allows the free practice thereof, as does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, where religion has its place of consideration in the workplace. So, we have opened the door to the experience within a framework – and why not? The rules of the workplace operate within policies and plans, systems and processes, so why not spirituality? Our framework around the model has given it the freedom to flourish and everyone within the walls of employment the right to worship or not to worship, but the freedom to choose.

But even if simulating our model is not happening for you any time soon in your workplace, remember this and weld it to your heart: the spiritual resides in you. The spiritual essence is in you, even in the workplace, where you can practice in the crevices and taffy of the soul who you are in thought and mind, and in deed. While faith can be a sensory experience, faith is a decision, and you can make that decision right there at your work table or office desk. Attach affection to reasoning. Reduce hatred with the practice of forgiveness. Embrace your religion, respect a non-believer. Love those in the world because they are worth it – many in the challenged matrix of life where noise pounds like incessant drums. And they can’t hear. Hear for them and help battle the weapon of dissonant beats, for the world is full of noise and booby traps. God guides around and through. The Divine is fearless. No one can take the Spirit from you; no one can hide your light, for brilliance is made up of quantum particles which seep through any darkness and the thickness of battle. Shine forth, and Seek. Knock. Find.

“God: A Quantum Physicist?” by Dianne H. Timmering

Is there a miracle formula? Is faith always enough? If God were a physicist, would He be a quantum physicist, dissecting the universe in nanoseconds of time which go away and never come back? Would He say, “Live, rejoice, have peace because I’m holding what hurts you.” He pinches it between his fingers and it disintegrates into space and it doesn’t exist and then there is no hurt or pain or even heartache of mourning which can linger with a longing of dotted suffering on a landscape of flat terrain.

Is God a God of patterns and systems, process and notion, formulas that we may or may not see, we may or may not understand? A quantum theory is a formula with enough probability of certainty that something happened, that something is real. But it is not exact science, it is a science based on the probable. Is the probable the quantum leap of the unknown, a leap of trust that His hands are wide in the universe of your existence? Inside His formulas of time is His notion of mystery, the mysticism of His essence, His character inside your miracle of need, hope of presence. This mystery He gives to us because it is His way to stay attached to His people, His ironclad tentacle to you, His heart coiled with yours, His soul embedded in your dreams. If we could crack His code, would we still need Him anymore?

I say God likes the power of quantum physics; He is the probable in the likely of time. He is the unknown in the leap of faith; He is the hands in the universe of your existence and even if you can’t see Him, He sees you. His mystery is His pursuit of you; the quantum is our pursuit of Him.

In our efforts to reveal some of God’s limitless activity in our service here at Signature HealthCARE, we have challenged our chaplains to develop case studies on their work. You can see examples of these case studies here.

 

Dianne H. Timmering, MBA, MFA, CNA
Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs
Signature HealthCARE Consulting Services, LLC
dtimmering@signaturehealthcarellc.com

Twitter: @Dhtimmering

Faith and politics intertwine as Timmering drives LTC change by leading legislative efforts

It’s no secret that sweeping change is taking place in health care, with both delivery and payment models in a state of upheaval and uncertainty, demanding that health care operators not only take note, but take action.

Signature has long worked to build relationships with lawmakers, with Director of Legislative Affairs Kathy Gallin making considerable headway during the past few years. Gallin has drawn numerous local, state and national officials to Signature events, helping residents and stakeholders voice opinions about pertinent issues to their elected representatives and exercise their ability to push for positive change.

Now the company is expanding its government relations efforts, a process that is being helmed by Dianne Timmering, now Vice President of Spirituality and Legislative Affairs.

“We are more than 80 percent funded by the federal and state government – they control our reimbursement stream,” she said. “We have to be involved.”

Signature has quickly aligned itself with other providers in the fight for an improved and more efficient health care system, and a friendlier climate in which those providers can operate. The company has joined or has plans to join various state and national health care organizations, including the American Health Care Association this year and the Kentucky Hospital Association in 2015.

“We’re not just skilled nursing anymore, and we’re not just long term care,” she said. “It’s next-level integration.”

As further evidence of the need for deeper involvement in the political process, she points to several examples, such as the shift away from a fee-for-service model and toward a bundled payment system, along with states transitioning to a case-mix system and legislation that would pave the way for a site-neutral payment system between inpatient rehab facilities and skilled-nursing centers.

“Being on the forefront of a good site-neutral bill, for example, could tip the reimbursement quotient,” she said. “Not overnight, but in a couple year period of time.”

Given her background, Timmering is more than equipped for the job. She spent several years in Washington, D.C., as a policy enthusiast and political fundraiser, even working for Bob Dole and later serving as a lead advance representative and messaging expert for Pres. George H.W. Bush.

During this time she traveled the world, developing messaging on policy impact and creating events for the president. Timmering worked with local embassies and met with global political leaders alongside the president as he worked to strengthen diplomatic relations between warring nations, among other efforts.

An entrepreneur first, she later became a self-proprietor and worked as a fundraiser – helping drum up millions of dollars in support for various political and trade organizations, associations and not-for-profits – before venturing into the private sector.

Dianne joined Signature (HQM at the time) late in 2005 and co-created, alongside Signature President Joe Steier, what would become the company’s Spirituality Pillar. The unit now employs more than 100 chaplains and support staff, operating a $4 million annual budget.

Timmering, who holds Master’s degrees in Fine Arts (Writing) and Business Administration, vows that while her new role is demanding, it does not come at the expense of the Spirituality Pillar – and that the two are more intertwined than they might initially appear.

Her policy vision is to take the outcomes of several qualitative studies now being conducted by her chaplain army in the field, and to show CMS within five years the efficacy of spirituality in the integration of overall care where it has reduced anxiety and depression, or the power of prayer over a stage 3 pressure sore.

“There is a spiritual essence to the political piece, and that is ensuring the survivability of an industry to take care of the most vulnerable, the sickest and the least among us as good stewards of our people and the government funding provided.”

“Spirituality is such a movement now within the company and embraced by so many,” she went on to say. “It’s not because of any one person that it’s successful at this point. The power of spirituality is the freedom to choose to be, to plug into individualized spirituality, whatever that means to them. That’s the culture and climate we’ve been able to create here.

“And now it’s this explosive effervescence that we live and breathe as a company, and therefore spirituality kind of walks around the halls with us. And that’s exciting.”