More than Care An Inspiration for a
New Strategic Direction

April 1, 2010 12:00 am Views: 42
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Both staff and patients benefit from Maimonides humanistic approach to care.

With the aging of the population over recent decades, residents in long term care establishments have become older and frailer. Their deteriorating health status, resulting – in part – from an increase in chronic diseases, is accompanied by a progressive loss of autonomy. Consequently, long term care facilities are faced with the challenge of responding to increasingly complex needs of population groups that come from different cultural backgrounds.

‘More than Care’ is the motto that has guided care related activities at Maimonides over the last few years. It was conceived several years ago in the course of a strategic planning exercise wherein the leadership team, along with key stakeholders, determined that the Centre needed to advance beyond the ‘usual’ care approach. In conjunction with this orientation, a framework of excellence that includes an evidence-based approach to care delivery, was conceived to inform care initiatives under the umbrella of ‘More than Care’.

THE MAIMONIDES JOURNEY

The principal mandate of Maimonides Geriatric Centre is to respond to the health related needs of its Jewish community in a welcoming, secure and homelike environment. A fundamental commitment to well-being and safety underlies the delivery of care and services, as well as policies and practices and the design of the physical environment. Families are engaged as partners in care so that they feel welcomed and included in the lives of their loved ones.

The Maimonides model recognizes six basic truths about its residents:

• Once admitted, they are in our care for the remainder of their lives

• They enter this phase of life with their individual personalities, histories, culture, interests, abilities and limitations, concerns and family relationships;

• They require a certain level of nursing support, which is expected to intensify over time;

• Their needs are not limited to nursing care, but include other physical, social, cultural, affective and spiritual dimensions;

• Their families continue to be an integral part of their lives and are actively involved in ensuring their well-being in situations that introduce new dynamics to their long-standing relationships;

• In caring for our residents, staff are entrusted with supporting the whole person, and thereby also with supporting the family, to the extent that this promotes the well-being of the resident.

In conjunction with these beliefs, the strategic vision that has been implemented at Maimonides over the last few years by management, professionals, staff and lay leadership has been centered on the overall goal to create a meeting ground between a homelike environment and specialized geriatric care.

This vision includes:

• Care to residents that is respectful, supportive and personalized;

• Partnerships with families that encourage and support their involvement in care;

• Research that uncovers new knowledge, promotes expertise in long-term care with a “More than Care” focus, and actively engages in knowledge transfer;

• Education that responds to the needs of staff, residents, families and the community;

• Environments that are secure, homelike and welcoming for residents and support the work of staff.

The overall care orientation at Maimonides is guided by a humanistic approach to care and services. In light of this context, some two years ago the Maimonides Geriatric Centre proceeded to implement the Planetree approach to humanistic care. The Planetree model is a resident-centered, holistic orientation to care that promotes mental, emotional, spiritual, social and physical healing. This concept promotes healing partnerships with caregivers. As well, it supports the empowerment of residents and families through a bi-lateral and ongoing flow of information between care providers on the one hand, and care recipients and families on the other.

Recognizing the important influence of the environment on residents and staff, a major, facility-wide upgrading program was implemented recently to improve functional and safety aspects and also to beautify the surroundings for residents. In addition to the external environment improvements and the art projects, all care units have been renovated with esthetically pleasing and functional dining rooms, new furnishings in residents’ rooms and upgraded bathrooms.

The journey toward creating a meeting ground between a homelike setting and a specialized geriatric care centre has been an enriching one for Maimonides. The success of the long term care model developed at our centre has been made possible because of a strong and visionary Board of Directors and management team. The motivated and engaged staff and volunteers who have delivered ‘more than care’ to the initiatives inspired by the model and the extensive contributions of the community have been instrumental in contributing to the success of this ambitious project.

Article By:

Lucie Tremblay

Lucie Tremblay, Director of Nursing and Clinical Services at Maimonides Geriatric Centre in Montreal, Quebec.

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