Letter from Ron Smith Care Centre
Everyday we are delighted and amazed by the changes that a conscious implementation of the Eden Alternative is making to our Care Centre. The Care Centre is changing from an Institution to a home, where caring relationships and recognition of the individual needs of each resident inform quality care. It is no longer about procedures, routines and time tables, but about consciously creating an environment that each resident wants to call home.
During the journey we have learnt so much and we continue to learn every day. So many things were previously done with good intentions and resulted in good care, but did not bring that extra spark in the eyes of residents and staff. One of the most important lessons was to see how we had been working in compartments and how important it is to integrate all care partners in one team. We are now starting to learn from each other on a daily basis and we understand and trust each other so much better. In addition, by working together we are achieving so much more and working so much more meaningfully. Things that we never thought possible are happening. At the same time we are practicing to listen and to learn from residents. After all, we are here because of them and our mission is to ensure that their lives are more meaningful and content. As an example, Eden assisted us to see our facility and our practices through the eyes of our residents. We never before saw our bathrooms the way the residents experienced them. The upgrading of our shared bathroom facilities was thus not about a pretty facelift, but about restoring residents’ dignity. Similarly, the new coffee shop was driven by the dreams of residents to have a place where they can entertain family and friends or be entertained. It is now a hub of companionship, a place where new friendships are forged and where family love is experienced. We cannot describe the feeling when visitors, first time or old, comment on the atmosphere they sense when coming to our home.
The list of what has changed since we have embraced the Eden Alternative is long. At the same time there is much work to do. It is also easy to fall back into old habits. We have to support each other to keep focused and not to let small disappointments mar a great experience. Personally, it has been most enriching to be part of the changes and to realise how we as individuals have changed and carry on changing. One is truly never too old to grow. From a management perspective it also makes perfect sense to embrace the Eden Alternative. It has enabled us to turn our home into a care centre of choice and rooms are in high demand. Recommendations by current residents and families delight us.
Eden is not a foreign concept. Once we realised that the principles are actually common sense and how it resonates with our mission to give our residents the best possible care experience, we were sold.
Zabeth Zuhlsdorff: General Manager Services and Advance
Helen Petrie: Complex Manager Elphin Lodge Complex