When five Cherry Village Benevolence staff members signed up for a recent seminar, they assumed they were already leaders in many of the agenda categories. They assumed right, Director of Nursing Diane Olsen said.
“Even though we know we are a step ahead of some other long-term-care facilities, it was nice to have this reinforced,” Olsen said. “However, some new ideas caught our attention and we will pursue them.”
The sessions focused on “culture change” during the one-day event in Garden City. The Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services sponsored the training and there was no cost to Cherry Village, which is a non-profit facility. Speakers represented GERTI, whose goal is to improve quality of care for seniors.
“For as long as anyone can remember, Cherry Village has been a leader in culture change by focusing on resident-centered care,” Olsen commented. “We want the surroundings here to be as home-like as possible and ensure residents feel free to make their own decisions.”
For example, Cherry Village residents can eat what they want, when they want.
“One woman likes eggs and toast late at night. So, we provide eggs and toast late at night,” Olsen explained. “Our kitchen is always open – just like the kitchen in anyone’s home. Accommodations such as this are important because they add to our home-like environment.”
The recent training also included information about the importance of consistent staffing so that residents see familiar faces every day. “Cherry Village has emphasized this for quite some time,” the director of nursing said.
In addition, the facility provides medical alert buttons, instead of less-reliable call lights.
“While Cherry Village excels in many of these areas, we also realize there is always room for improvement,” Olsen noted. “Our mission is to make these improvements and continue our training so we have the most up-to-date information available.”
As a result of the seminar, Cherry Village staff will look into the possibility of forming “Learning Circles.” These groups would include a representative of each department.
“We learned more about this idea at our training,” Olsen commented. “It would involve staff from housekeeping, the kitchen and maintenance, as well as nurses and their aides. This kind of teamwork will help residents and staff members know what is happening throughout Cherry Village.
“This idea is fairly new to us and we will determine how it could enhance our home-like atmosphere. Whatever new program we plan, we will take it a step at a time to ensure we are doing it right. We don’t want anyone to be overwhelmed.”
In addition to Olsen, four others attended the seminar. They are Jamie Hatfield, certified nurse’s aide; Andrea Davidson, dietary manager; Shelly Estes, activity director; and Laura Swinford, social services designee.
A local family has managed Cherry Village since it opened in 1978. It is a non-profit facility.