Monday, February 9, 2015

Creating a New Culture of Long-Term Care

When you walk into a nursing home, what do you expect to feel?  Think about the sounds, the smells, the atmosphere of the building.

Most people expect to hear the buzzing of bells, the whirring of machines.  They expect the smell of antiseptic and a very sterile environment.  The atmosphere is very institutional – more like a hospital than a home.  They imagine a place where the residents cannot walk, talk, or interact with people.  Most people are bed ridden, and those who aren’t bed ridden are unable to carry on a conversation. 

Now I want you to imagine what you would want if you were to go into a nursing home.  Imagine how you would want it to sound, smell and look.  Imagine children coming and going, live plants through the building being tended by the residents, pets that live in the home and that staff members bring from their homes.  Think about residents and staff members laughing together, crying together, and creating lasting relationships. 

At our homes we want you to be a person, not a number.  We want you to be known for your personality and your story, not your diagnosis or condition.  Just because someone needs to go into a nursing home for medical care doesn’t mean they want to stop living.  They crave companionship and the feeling that they can make a difference, just the same as anyone else.  They want to be able to do the things they did before living in a nursing home. 

We recognize that we need to care for more than the medical portion of a person – we need to care for his or her spirit or soul.  That’s why each of our buildings has a chaplain on staff.  They also hold weekly worship services that you are free to attend if you feel so moved.  Some of the residents in our homes are there for short-term, after hip or knee replacements, or receiving therapy for an accident.  We make sure to care for these people too. 

Would you like to help make life better for these residents?  Do you have a special talent you would like to share?  Looking for volunteer opportunities?  Call me (724.822.8324) and I will put you in contact with the Activity Director at a home close to you.  We would love to have you come meet our residents and get to know them!

Tabitha Sperring, Cultural Coach

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