What Living as a Resident Can Teach Long-Term Care Staff


The Power of Empathy to Transform Care

ISBN 978-1-938870-45-3
6 x 9 paper
approx. 152 pages
© October 2017

Product Description

Transform staff and resident relationships with this innovative program called Through the Looking Glass. Created by an administrator struggling to jump-start culture change in her care community by changing staff attitudes and teaching the importance of person-centered care practices, the program puts staff in the shoes of residents—with remarkable results. Staff experience first-hand the challenges residents face by actually living as a resident, including simulating a diagnosis and living alongside residents. The lessons learned create more empathetic and compassionate caregivers, improve care practices, and enhance well-being for both staff and residents. The author provides tips for how to set up the program in any residential care setting, as well as ways to address high turnover through the hiring and orientation process. Through the Looking Glass is a journey for staff and management to foster person-centered care and the well-being of their residents.

Measurable benefits of this program include: 

  • Eliminate personal body alarms
  • Decrease falls
  • Reduce use of psychotropic drugs
  • Increase staff retention and satisfaction

Coming soon!

About the Author
, by Zoe Dearing, BME, MT
Foreword, by William Keane, MS, MBA

Prologue. Through the Looking Glass

Part One. A Lesson in Empathy

  1. Setting Goals to Change the Culture of Care
  2. Meaning and Purpose in Our Lives: Darlene’s Story
  3. Maintaining Safety as well as Dignity:
    Leah’s Story
  4. Being a Care Partner Instead of a Caregiver: Chris’s Story
  5. Loneliness in Long-Term Care: Katherine’s Story
  6. Honoring Choices
  7. What’s Going to Happen to My Body Next?
  8. Every Resident Has a Voice: All for One and One for All
  9. How Long Does It Take to Learn about Empathy?
  10. My 24-Hour Stay

Part Two.Lessons Learned

  1. Changing the Way We Hire and Orientate New Staff: A Person-First Approach
  2. It Only Takes One Candle to Light Another Candle

Epilogue. If You Want Culture Change, You Have to Take a Risk


  • How to Set Up Through the Looking Glass in Your Care Community
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Coming soon!

Since 1994, Leslie Pedtke has worked as an Administrator at Aviston Countryside Manor, a roughly 100-bed independently owned and operated skilled nursing community that offers both long- and short-term care programs. She is a member of the Illinois Nursing Home Administrators Association, Illinois Health Care Association, and the Southwestern Illinois Pioneer Coalition Leadership Team. She has also served on the board of the Illinois Pioneer Coalition since 2010 and currently serves as the President-Elect and Summit Coordinator. She completed the Certificate for Non-Physicians in Geriatrics in 2007 as well as the Person-Centered Care Dementia Certificate Program taught by the Alzheimer’s Association, St. Louis Chapter. She graduated in 1994 from South Illinois University—Carbondale with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication and is a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.

Pedtke has presented statewide in Illinois and nationally about the Through the Looking Glass program, best hiring practices, eliminating personal body alarms, and decreasing falls.


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