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Goal of changes at Good Sam is to improve care

By Staff | May 14, 2011

National Nursing Home Week is time to celebrate what nursing homes do for our loved ones-whether it’s providing skilled care for those at the end of their lives or providing skilled nursing to help someone back on their feet after surgery.

Over the past couple months, the Good Samaritan Center has gone threw a few changes to improve the quality of its care.

One simple component is in the cafeteria.

Dietary supervisors Megan Huntley said they have changed the serving process to more of a restaurant style.

“There’s a different special every day and we also offer ala Carte,” Huntley said.

CNA Diane Frerichs said the change is seeing residents eat better.

“Some people are overwhelmed by a big meal, so they don’t eat as much,” Frerichs said. She said for some, a bowl of soup and a sandwich is enough.”

Good Samaritan Administrator Ashley Clark said plans are to have a short order cook in the morning in the near future.

Dietary aid Melissa Radmaker says residents like the different choices.

“If some have a late breakfast, they’re not hungry for a big lunch,” she said.”

Nursing supervisors Darial Weisman said the goal is to provide residents with total care.

“We want to make them feel like all aspects of their life are important and that we care about comfort and quality of life,” Weisman said.

To do that on a personnel level, Good Samaritan has created “neighborhoods” within the facility so residents have consistent staff.

While nurses have always developed a close relationship with patients, the goal is to extend that feeling with the rest of the staff.

Housing manager Jo Planting said even family members are excited about seeing the staff when the same nurses are involved in the day to day care of a loved one.

“Communication is so much easier,” Planting said.

RN Sandra Paulson said there might be fewer nurses, but the way the schedule is restructured, “We taken away some of this, but added that,” she said.

“With consistency, the day goes better,” said Frerichs.

Another added benefit is that when a resident isn’t feeling way, the nurses can notice the small changes more quickly and do something about it.

“It also builds teamwork within the staff and they have more trust and confidence in each other which reflects in the resident care,” Weisman said.

While change can take getting used to, overall the effect has been positive.

“Change is hard,” said Clark. “The perception is always negative when there is change, but we’re blessed with a staff for the willingness to do this.”

Activities director Brenda Dahl said growing old is not the same now as it was 15 years ago.

“We are now forever young,” Dahl said.

Years ago, there were party lines for phone, radio, “The Lone Ranger,” “Amos and Andy.”

“People were frugal,” said Dahl.

Medical advances have improved lifestyles and people are living longer.

“The baby boomers will not accept the way of life my grandparents conformed to,” she said.

Many of the baby boomers have embraced technology. Most expect to live 20 years or more after retirement.

“The Baby Boomers will want more and should expect more,” said Dahl. “we are changing to provide the more that the new generation of aging will expect.”

Dahl said the Good Samaritan Center has a great auxiliary program and many of its members offer hours of volunteer time and special programs.

Clark concluded the goal is making the nursing home the best experience for residents and staff.