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Cherry Village Action Plan approved; residents benefit
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Bonnie Arnold, left, Cherry Village resident, talks with Administrator Pam Lewis about mealtime menus. Arnold asked if hamburgers could be grilled outside. The answer was yes. Dietary Department staff, along with other Cherry Village employees grill outside whenever possible. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

                Cherry Village Benevolence got its feet wet in the early stages of a specialized training program and now is going full tilt to ensure continued high-quality, resident-centered care, Administrator Pam Lewis said.

            The program is called PEAK, which stands for Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas. It is a joint venture of Kansas State University’s Center on Aging and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services.

            Cherry Village is a non-profit, short- and long-term-care facility at 1401 Cherry Lane. It has been involved in PEAK for a couple of years.

            “When it was nearing time to submit our PEAK Action Plan to K-State, our staff got together to focus on a few important issues,” Lewis said. “K-State has approved the plan and is helping us with suggestions on implementing it.”

            One priority is enhancing efforts to understand new residents’ likes and dislikes.

            For example, if someone wants to start the day with a cup of coffee and a newspaper, the staff will accommodate.

            “When someone asks for this quiet time before breakfast, we will make sure they have it,” Lewis said. “We have always sought this type of information and now our efforts have been enhanced.

            “If we don’t ask questions, we won’t know,” she continued. “We work with residents and families to find answers.”

            Since dietary issues also are part of the Action Plan, staff members have increased efforts to discover what residents want to eat. Nurses and aides emphasize to residents that they can eat what they want, when they want and where they want.

            “We offer three dining rooms to choose from,” Lewis said. “Now we are asking residents if they want any little extras in those dining rooms, such as a certain kind of coffee maker or readily available snacks.

            “Residents learn early on they can be part of day-to-day decision-making,” she added. “This is their home. Our residents have every right to make as many decisions as possible.”

A third aspect of the Action Plan is staff empowerment.

            “Our staff members want to be engaged with the people they care for,” Lewis said. “This adds to a sense of responsibility and personal connections.

            “Residents do not like disruptions in staff and we don’t blame them,” Lewis added. “Our goal is to keep turnover to a minimum.”

            Another step to empowering staff members is encouraging them to set their own schedules. “Rather than an administrator telling them when to work, they coordinate with one another,” Lewis explained. “They are accountable to their colleagues, which results in better attendance and longevity.

            “Our employees are the ones who best understand their jobs,” the administrator continued. “This collaboration allows them to know what their colleagues need. This results in better resident care.”

            Lewis noted that Cherry Village will participate in each step of the PEAK program. “All of us realize the value of continuing our education,” she explained. “Education never truly ends and PEAK has been and will be a great resource.”

            A local family has managed Cherry Village, a non-profit facility at 1401 Cherry Lane, since it opened in 1978.