Should Patients Decide Nursing Home Policy?

If nursing home patients could make decisions on how their care facility was run, what would change? Would they have more say on when they woke up? On when they ate and more importantly, what they ate? One nursing home is focusing on patient-centered care and is achieving surprising results.

One resident of St. Camillus Health Center in Whitinville, Massachusetts, loves where she lives.

Alice Hallinan has lived at St. Camillus for 15 years. She said, “My daughter wants me to move closer to her, but no way would I leave.”

St. Callimus prides itself on giving person-centered care. This is the kind of care considered the gold standard by both medical and aging professionals.

Ruta Kadonoff, the director of the Pioneer Network, has been pushing for changes in the institutional nature of nursing homes since 1997. She says, “Person-centeredness is a step in the direction of larger organizational culture change.”

St. Callimus was not always so person-centered. Ten years ago, the administrator, Bill Graves and nursing director Sandy Godrey received a grant for quality improvement. The grant was funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services.

Utilizing guidance from culture change experts and exchanges with others who had received the grant, they began to take steps to formulate more person-centered care.

At first, there was push back. When they decided they wanted consistent assignments so that the residents would work with the same staff daily, some staff members weren’t certain of the plan. They were under the impression that you didn’t want to get too close to people. This now sounds foreign to us.

Soon, those that pushed back became converts. The staff realized that when you work with the same patients every day, you can begin to anticipate their needs or wants.

Although some nursing homes are moving towards person-centered care, the institutional mindset still holds sway. Many have toured St. Callimus as an example, but feel that providing such individualized care would raise costs.

That’s not the case. Overall, there are cost savings because doing things the right way the first time means you don’t have to do it over again. It also is not prohibited by rules or regulations to provide person-centered care.

If you believe that you or someone you love has been a victim of neglect or abuse while in the care of a nursing facility, contact the law offices of Schenk Law. Our attorneys will help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us today.