July 9, 2018
Dare to Deinstitutionalize

Have you embraced the culture change movement?

Learn the latest practices proven to improve long-term care outcomes

For decades, facilities across America have integrated measures to make their environments less ‘institution-like’ and more like a care community. Such transformations are backed by countless studies, but despite our best intentions, implementing a complete culture change is exceedingly difficult. Putting care aside to promote a sense of ‘home’ may improve residents’ quality of life, but is it economically
viable?

LTC Culture Change by the Numbers

Fortunately, many elements of culture change require very little monetary investment, as evidenced by the overwhelming 74% of U.S. nursing homes that are using some semblance of a ‘homelike’ model. By embracing certain attitudes, encouraging communication, and reworking some basic procedures, it’s possible to improve your facility’s outcomes without putting your business (including staff and clients) at risk.

So, what exactly does the ‘change’ entail?

It’s likely you’ve already introduced similar measures in some form or another. But for those unfamiliar with the term, the ‘culture change’ model affects facilities on a number of levels. From an operational standpoint, staff must consider each individual’s preferences above all else, recognizing them as people as opposed to patients. For instance, residents are encouraged to decorate their rooms, choose their meals, forge relationships with staff and even enjoy private time, as if they were living at home.

From an environmental standpoint, culture change could also mean dismantling the institution-like areas of your facility in favor of a cozier, more inviting atmosphere. A fine starting point is providing a warmly decorated common area where able-bodied guests and visitors may mingle. According to research, settings that support the spirit result in a more positive experience for seniors who may feel depressed or despondent, especially when coupled with quality medical care.

Make a change for staff too

Even better, culture change empowers caregivers and has been proven to reduce the rate of employee turnover in the majority of participating facilities. Focusing care on residents promotes a team mentality among staff. As daily operations become less predictable, staff must work together to coordinate tasks, make decisions and connect with residents on a deeper level. It’s a simple way to invigorate the workday.

Surrounded by people they know, clients enjoy a familiar, dependable support system, which boosts both body and spirit. As you consider your facility’s philosophy in practice, keep culture change front of mind. Most importantly, be inspired to invest in these modifications knowing the outcome is bound to be positive.