Many of us think of nursing homes as are dismal, institutional places. Sorrowfully, this stereotype has proved to be genuine. And in light of this reality, numerous people are working towards the complete and total redesign of nursing home operations. This movement is known as culture change, and it is a revolution in thinking about how care is provided to the individuals residing in nursing homes.
Spearheaded by the Pioneer Network, culture change involves some ideas that appear fairly simplistic. Rather than operating a nursing home based on a schedule of tasks, which may involve one employee running up and down the halls to bathe a resident or change sheets, nursing homes would schedule staff according to the individualized requirements of residents. This approach puts the patient's needs in the forefront, permitting for the highest possible quality of life. Working with a smaller group of patients, staff members would have greater one-on-one time, allowing them to be aware when a resident would like a bath, in contrast to simply giving a bath at a certain scheduled time.
Just as care becomes more flexible and individualized and less regimented, so too should the physical environment appear less like an institutional facility and more like a home. This may entail changes in layout and appearance. One noteworthy example of this approach is the Eden Alternative. Several hundred homes across the country have been "Eden-ized," implying they are jam-packed with plants, animals and children. So instead of surrounding the elderly with an environment that reminds them that they are approaching the end of life, they are surrounded by things which emphasize life and living. Preliminary studies of this method prove that residents and their families are happier.
As you might imagine, modifying the look and feel of nursing homes is not an inexpensive undertaking, and given that many people are already anxious about how they'll afford a nursing home now, there is no way to know how long it will take to see these ideas implemented.
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