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Culture Change Now

Action Pact Newsletter

February, 2011



We hope you enjoy our newsletter! You are receiving this newsletter from Action Pact because you have requested it in the past. If you no longer wish to receive them, see the link at the bottom of the newsletter. 


In This Issue!

Liberty Dreams

Spark Change with the Little Things

Megan Lends the Pioneers a Hand

Conversations with Carmen-The Latest on Altered Consistency Diets

Action Pact's 2011 Workshop Calendar


For a printable version of our newsletter:

 Culture Change Now Newsletter February 2011


Liberty Dreams  


For decades, the purpose of nursing homes has been merely sustaining life for frail elders. An important part of culture change, however, is to help elders realize their continued desires, goals and dreams so that they may continue to grow in experiences as individuals. It is hard to imagine a time when any of us would cease to occasionally think, "Boy, I'd really like to..."

From good crab cakes, to a pedicure, to a trip to a special event, the folks at Presbyterian Homes and Services in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa have recognized that fulfilling residents' desires is essential to their well-being. PHS calls the policy of finding out residents' special wishes and then trying to grant them "Liberty Dreams." However, most are modest requests. One of the first "dreams" fulfilled was a resident's desire to make snow angels. The resident was frail and dependent on an oxygen tank and her family was skeptical. But staff bundled her in a snowmobile suit, took her outside, and helped her to lie down in the snow and make angels.

Some requests require more coordination and effort. A group trip to an orchard got one resident reminiscing about the farm where she and her husband raised six children along with chicken, pigs and cattle. Not long after, PHS Mill Pond staff took the resident and her husband in the facility's van on a trip to their farm - 140 miles round trip. They were able to see the threshing in progress and stop in town for their favorite meal at their favorite restaurant.

A resident at the Lake Minnetonka home really wanted to attend her class reunion. The facility van took her to the reunion where a staff member accompanied her, taking pictures and providing assistance as she socialized with her high school friends.

Sometimes being aware of residents' desires is just part of really knowing them. But PHS encourages staff to really seek out these "dreams" as well by asking questions of residents such as:

* What brings joy or fun in your life? (i.e. fishing, a Twins game, the cabin, a boat ride)

* What have you done in the past to bring joy or fun to your life?

* Is there something you think a lot about doing lately?

* What are you most passionate about?

* What wish do you wish for?

These questions are great ways to start conversations with elders about improving their lives. Joy, fun and the things we are passionate about really make the difference between surviving and thriving. Helping our elders thrive in long-term care is what culture change is all about.



Spark Change with the Little Things 



Physical renovation and organizational redesign of the Household Model takes time and a lot of effort from a lot of people. The commitment to this goal is powerful, important and exciting. So much so, however, that we can feel antsy about wanting to see change and benefit now. We need not wait. There are little things that everybody in every nursing home can do today.


After attending one of Action Pact's "Homeless to Home" workshops, a staff member went back to her house and realized no one was asking residents if they want to sit in a chair in the dining room and were instead just pushing them up to the table in their wheelchairs. So, she started asking residents if they would like to sit in a chair or remain in the wheelchair. When one resident got into her chair at the table, she got a big smile on her face and said, "Now, this feel like home."


She asked another resident who normally sits slumped in his wheelchair at the dining room table if he would prefer a chair. The resident said he did want to sit in the chair and when he did, he stopped slumping.


The same staff member realized that in her house, no one was knocking on the doors before entering a room. She gathered the team together and pointed it out, asking them to remember to knock. Later she knocked on the door of a resident who hardly speaks and waited for a response. "Come on in!" the resident said with a smile on her face.


Just like that, some dignity is restored and residents respond in positive ways. It is not everything thing needed for true home for elders, but it is a very important something - and something we can do right now.



Megan Lends the Pioneers a Hand


While the Pioneer Network continues its search for a new Executive Director, Action Pact consultant Megan Hannan has agreed to lend her leadership skills to the organization during the transition. Pioneer Network Board member Anna Ortigara said, "The Pioneer Network thanks Action Pact for their generous support of Megan Hannan who will add part time duties to serve as the Interim Executive Director while continuing to fulfill her role as Lead Consultant there. Megan will function to coordinate the staff and board to make sure all projects stay on course. It is of great benefit for the Pioneer Network to have the knowledge and experience of the board president to support a seamless and effective transition."

For more information about the Pioneer Network's search for Executive Director click here:   


Conversations with Carmen



Guest: Dr. Karyn Leible, Chief Medical Officer Pinon Management and incoming President of American Medical Directors Association

Topic:  The Latest on Altered Consistency Diets 


Dr. Leible will take the time to flesh out the latest thinking and research studies regarding altered consistency diets, something that has the interest of many desiring to figure out how honor choice in this area.


The hour-long Conversations with Carmen webcast is an educational talk show where you can join in the conversation by asking questions of Carmen and her guests. Webcasts are held the third Friday of every month at noon Mountain time (11am Pacific, 1 pm Central, 2pm Eastern). Certificates of participation will be available to participants as well as handouts for each show.
The $99 fee is per site, so get as many folks as you can together and be ready to be inspired and informed! To register or for more info: you can call our office: 414-258-3649.


Action Pact's 2011 Workshop Calendar



Upcoming Workshops and Intensives:



Creating the Climate for Vibrant Living

May 18, 2011 - Village Health Care at the Glen, Shreveport, LA


Honoring Personhood - The Art of Enhancing Well-Being in the Frail Elder

Feb 17, 2011 - Oklahoma Methodist Manor   

To Be Announced - Foulkeways at Gwynedd, Gwynedd, PA


Household Leadership Training

March 15-17, 2011 - Pennybyrn at Maryfield, High Point, N.C


A Tale of Transformation

April 7, 2011-Cross Keys Village - New Oxford, PA


Nurse Leader Training

April 11-14, 2011  - Perham Memorial Hospital and Home, Perham, MN


Food for Thought

May 5, 2011 - Whispering Heights, Rock Valley, Iowa


June 19-24, 2011- Milwaukee, WI


June 19-23, 2011- Milwaukee, WI   


To register or for more information, visit: http://www.culturechangenow.comor call 414-258-3649. If registration is closed, please email:  

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