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Cherry Village staff attends training in preventing problems
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Katie Baker, RN, left, and Terra Hull, RN, fit a polar pack to Carl Henkles leg at Cherry Village where he is recovering from a knee replacement. The two nurses recently participated in specialized training to help them care for residents. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

              Since Cherry Village Benevolence staff members know that taking care of little problems before they become big problems is a top priority, they were eager to participate in specialized training recently, Administrator Pam Lewis said.

            Nurses and aides, along with representatives of the dietary and social services departments attended the grant-funded sessions in Hays and Wichita. In addition, a Cherry Village resident’s family member participated too.

            The training was available to Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, because it is a Leading Age Kansas member. This entity provides resources to non-profit long-term-care facilities, such as Cherry Village.

            “The gist of this training was to make us even more aware of ways to prevent significant changes in a resident’s health,” Lewis said. “It is so important to notice the little things that could be a sign of a significant problem to come.

            “For example, if someone normally walks to the front porch without incident, we have to take action when that same person is able to walk only a few feet and then wants a chair,” Lewis continued. “We want to find answers – sooner rather than later.”

            The training provided tips on what to watch for and suggested possible solutions.

            “We need to find out if it is a medication reaction, or if a dietary change or a certain therapy would help,” Lewis said. “If we intervene early, residents may be able to quickly regain their previous health status – rather than ending up in a wheelchair or falling down.”

            Donna Marbut, director of nursing, said she gleaned a lot of valuable information at the training sessions.

            “We learned about a website called,” she said. “This provides training that is interactive and actually fun. All of us will benefit from this today and in the future.”

            Marbut also noted the insight gained from communication games.

            “In one of these, we were paired with a co-worker,” she explained. “One was talking, while the other was trying to find words in a puzzle. The talking was very distracting.

            “This reinforced one of the basics,” she said. “If I am documenting records on the computer and a co-worker asks a question, I need to stop what I am doing and really hear what she has to say.”

            Allied Health Career Training, a Kansas Board of Regents-approved private school, presented the sessions. Lewis and Marbut both said “the presenters were great” and they hope to attend more of their sessions.

            Cherry Village became a Leading Age Kansas member about a year ago because it is a stand-alone, non-profit facility.

            “Leading Age is strictly for non-profits and provides invaluable educational information,” Lewis said. “Being non-profit gives us the opportunity to focus on individuals and less on the dollar side of things.

            “This is not to say we can float merrily along; we have to keep our eye on the finances so we can better care for residents and their families,” she added. “But we don’t have to concern ourselves with stockholders who want dividend checks.”

            The other non-profit advantage, Lewis said, is the amount of time staff spends with residents. Each Cherry Village resident is in direct contact with staff members an average of four hours per day.

            “The state average is 2.5 hours; for-profit, corporate settings are at the state average,” she explained. “We are better equipped to intervene before a minor issue becomes a crisis.”