An LTL classic: ‘The Night Before Christmas’

Editor’s note: An appreciative reader recently contacted Long-Term Living in search of her favorite Richard Peck editorial from a decade ago. Originally published in the December 2000 issue of Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management, we hope this piece of holiday history also brings you and your staff some much-deserved cheer.

’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the home,

Not a resident was stirring or venturing to roam;

All were tucked away safely in their crank beds with care;

Not a pager was blaring, not a scent in the air.

The charge nurse had settled down with her towering stack of forms,

To complete with perfection ’fore the break of the morn.

When suddenly was heard a frightening clatter.

The AA ran to reception to see what was the matter.

What to his wondering eyes should appear,

But four state surveyors calling “Ahem! We’re here!”

No sooner had the AA greeted them one by one,

Then all four assumed the position for an Olympic-style run.

“Now,” cried the leader, “now Jerry and Fred!

Now Mary! Follow me, since I am the head,

To the kitchen, the laundry, to the front office, too;

Check all that paperwork through and through;

Don’t disturb the residents, but see if you can detect

Whether this place is home-like or more like home-wreck!”

The AA peered at the leader, who was not particularly chubby;

His eyes didn’t sparkle, he didn’t seem “clubby.”

At least he didn’t put thumb and finger to the sides of his nose.

(Maybe the facility wasn’t perfect, but it wasn’t one of those!)

Even so, the AA watched the surveyors with a strong sense of dread,

And visions of F-tags danced in his head.

He ducked into the chapel and offered a prayer

That the DON and Administrator soon would be there.

Then the leader gave a nod and the team convened at the door;

The staff eyed them warily, awaiting their score.

But the leader called out as they sprang out into the night,

“Merry Christmas to all! You’ve got nothing to cite!”

(A Christmas dream—or is it?)

Topics: Articles