Paul Contris – Mission Healthcare is Changing Our Minnesota Nursing Home Culture

November 13, 2008

If you have ever experienced a hospital stay, you know how it feels to be antsy to return to the comforts of your own home.  While you are being cared for, it can be hard to sleep in a different bed, adapt to new sounds, or adjust to having less privacy than you have at home according to Paul Contris.  

 

These struggles can be the same for some seniors living in long-term Minnesota nursing home facilities.  But today there is a movement that is helping these older adults feel more at home in their new communities. 

 

Many long-term care providers – such as Mission Healthcare – are taking a new approach called “Culture Change.”   With Culture Change, we strive to create warm, inviting communities that are different from traditional care institutions. 

 

One of the ways we do this is by empowering residents to make more decisions in their communities.  For example, at Mission Healthcare’s Bethel Care Center in St. Paul, Minn., we have a wide variety of ethnic foods on the menu to meet the needs of our diverse residents.  

 

We also create smaller “neighborhoods” in our communities where groups of residents with similar needs live.  At Evergreen Terrace, we have built smaller, one-level buildings that make up our campus.  Here, one building might house residents with memory care needs, while another has residents who need assisted living services or short-term rehabilitative care. 

 

Creating smaller homes is not always possible without major reconstruction efforts.  So we utilize this concept at our other facilities by dividing the buildings into neighborhoods by a certain wing or floor.  Then, we assign a team of associates to care for these specific neighborhoods.  This allows our residents to better know their caregivers and form stronger connections to their communities. 

 

With the Culture Change philosophy, we also encourage our associates – particularly those who provide the most day-to-day care for our residents – to develop ideas on ways we can provide better care and create more home-like environments for residents. 

 

For example, many of our associates wear business casual clothing instead of traditional medical uniforms.

 

At Mission Healthcare, we train our associates in a variety of areas instead of designating them to one particular department.  This way, our nurses can help if there is a housekeeping incident, our activities associates can do light cooking duties, and our community directors can assist with events and activities. 

 

Implementing Culture Change is an ongoing process, as we still need to adhere to federal and state regulations that ensure our residents and associates are safe and their rights are protected.  Mission Healthcare continues to find ways we can go above and beyond with our service.

 

For more information about Mission Healthcare or Culture Change, visit www.missionhealthcare.org.