Home Office: The Power of Person-Centeredness in Long-Term Care: A View Across the Continuum


Power      In an effort to expand the overall discussion on experience, this paper explores the perspectives and practices of the patient, resident and family experience in long-term care. It examines that while there are clear and distinct differences at the various points in the care continuum, there is also a much stronger connection than we might consider as we look at the efforts and concepts driving person-centeredness and the patient, resident and family experience. Through engaging with the voices of practice from six leading organizations committed to excellence in long-term care – Beatitudes Campus (AZ), Breckenridge Village (OH), Carolinas HealthCare System (NC), Commonwealth Care of Roanoke (VA), Jewish Home Lifecare (NY), and Vetter Health Services (NE) – the paper looks to identify key motivations and practices, support and roadblocks and the impact a focus on experience has in the long-term care setting overall. By taking a cross continuum perspective, grounded in the voices of real experiences in long-term care, the paper provides not only insights but also inspiration for actions that can have a positive and lasting effect on those receiving care in all segments of the care continuum.

An excerpt from Miekka Milliken, CSW, NHA, Social Services Coordinator, Vetter Health Services…

Accommodating Individual Interests and Hobbies – Social activities in the long-term care setting have evolved in recent years, partially driven by the emergence of baby boomers into the mix with different expectations. While there are still group activities, those group activities have evolved from bingo nights and board games to more popular things like wine and cheese events with live entertainment. Many organizations also bring in massage therapists and nail technicians to provide spa services. The team at Vetter Health Services works with each individual on what their particular interest and desires are. “We’ve had residents set up sewing machines in their rooms to make gifts or items to sell at the facility hosted boutique, and we help them with those individual activities—or woodworking, or whatever their social history included that they would like to continue to do,” said Miekka Milliken. “We really work hard to meet those needs and to work with them to set up the very best situation for each person.”

Swimming       Swimming 2      Changing the View

Milliken shared the story of a resident with Parkinson’s disease who wanted to go swimming: She really wished she could go to the swimming pool. The team said, ‘Well why couldn’t we do this? Why can’t we figure this out?’ So together the interdisciplinary team – the memory support coordinator, the life enrichment coordinator and the maintenance director – led the charge. They called home office and asked what they would need to do to make this happen for residents who want to swim. The home office life enrichment coordinator and nursing team worked together to make a checklist of what the team would need to do to ensure safety before they could take residents to the public pool for an open swim night for adults. Then they went around and asked who wanted to go. They even had residents in the late stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and most were wheelchair-bound. They took eleven individuals the first time, went back for a second adult swim night, and are planning for several trips in the coming year. It was a public pool with zero depth entry. They wheeled people in and let them slowly float out of their chairs. Each resident had at least one support person with them. They were safe and protected with life vests and it was a fabulous experience. It was all because a resident said ‘Gee I haven’t been swimming in a long time. I’d really like to go.’ There are unlimited possibilities for what we can do if we put our heads together and listen to what the residents are requesting of us. And the word has gotten out! New inquiries have included questions about swimming. One gentleman said he can’t wait; he hasn’t been swimming in years!


Complimentary access to the paper. Simply use promotional code: LTC_2015

Submitted By: Dani Hearron, Public Relations Coordinator Vetter Health Services, Elkhorn NE

Great Place to Work logo
Best Workplaces in Aging Services logo
AHCA Awards