I recently attended the Nevada Alliance to Transform the Culture of Aging (NATCOA) Conference and enjoyed the experience I had with 90+ skilled nursing, assisted living, residential and group home administrators across the continuum of care. At this conference “Culture Change” was the hot-topic of discussion. I laughed at myself throughout the sessions as discussions were made on how to implement culture change because we all know as Activity Professionals we were introduced to this “movement” over 12 years ago. Isn’t it funny that we are still talking about how to “implement” it today?
The “Culture Change” movement will become more relevant in the coming months as the second phase of the CMS revisions take place. NATCOA envisions a culture of aging where:
- Personhood is honored
- Each person is the primary authority of his or her life
- The focus is on living life to the fullest
- Accessible environments support continued engagement in community
- The body, mind, and spirit of each person are nourished
- Close relationships and authentic partnerships are at the core of compassionate communities
- All care partners have the knowledge and information, skills, resources, authority, and accountability to provide respectful, flexible and life-affirming care and support.
I know Activity Professionals are being tested daily to develop person-centered programs, individualized care plans, and perfect 1-1 visits to 150 different people with only 2-3 staff members. This can be extremely difficult to do and easily frustrating. BUT, I truly believe we can provide the programming our residents want and the above vision allows us to rethink what do. We need to roll with the times and not only think “out” of the box, but “in” the box, “on top” of the box, “under” the box, “over” the box, and “around” the box. Gone are the days of large group programs, turning on the TV, and guessing what the residents want without their input.
When completing assessments and learning more about the people you serve, consider the following questions from the elder’s point of view:
- People know and support my individual interests
- I stay well connected to my family and friends
- I can easily go outdoors if I want
- I get the privacy I need
- I feel like I matter
- I have opportunities to experience and learn new things
- I laugh often
- I have opportunities to do things that give me a sense of purpose
- I can do what I want when I want
- People ask for my opinion or advice
Taking this information into program planning will allow you to develop quality individualized programs and know that it is ok to create these types of programs for the people you serve to pursue. Activity Interest Surveys throughout the person’s length of stay will be extremely helpful in your program planning as well. When your population is engaged in programs of individualized interest they will be able to feel comfortable and at ease in their home away from home.
At NAAP we are working diligently to provide quality education through our conferences and webinars that can help you prepare for future populations and alternative programming ideas. We have also developed the “Activity Toolbox.” This resource is on-going with monthly programming ideas, in-services that you can utilize with your staff, and updated government relations. I encourage you to access the “Toolbox” that is available to all NAAP members.
I know we are all good and giving care, however, we need to become better care partners with those we serve.
Alisa Tagg, NAAP President