Action Pact In The News

Action Pact Receives BAM Award of Excellence

Recently the Kansas Department of Commerce named 23 Regional Business Excellence Award winners and 52 Merit Award winners as part of Business Appreciation Month, the Department’s annual celebration of Kansas businesses and their contributions to their communities and the state economy.  Among the 23 Business Excellence award-winners is Action Pact, based in Manhattan, KS.Award icon-orange

Award qualifications include:

  • Business expansion in Kansas
  • Successful employee retention and recruitment practices
  • Employee training/educational programs
  • Capital investment in Kansas
  • Support of local activities including school activities, community events, economic development and leadership programs

Read all about it.


Action Pact CEO Steve Shields Speaks in Ireland

Ireland_trad_counties_namedThe Irish Council for Social Housing invited Steve Shields to present at the ICSH BIENNIAL NATIONAL SOCIAL HOUSING CONFERENCE:  Turning the Tide for Social Housing, which took place this week (Sept. 16-17) in Co Offaly.  The topics he addressed were:

  • The need for a national debate in Ireland on how to offer greater choices and flexibility to older people who require housing and care / supports as they age.
  • At the moment many older people simply move out of their home into nursing home care when they require a little support.
  • How individual Departments, e.g. health, environment as well as local groups must come together to create safe, secure communities  for older people. Policy making comes mainly from silos in Ireland now!
  • There is an existing infrastructure of housing associations who provide housing and supports to older people in Ireland – funders and policy makers need to look at how best to further develop, utilise and fund this resource as well as replicating it, as it embodies much of what the Action Pact household model is based on.
  • Changing demographic trends (of an ageing population) means planning should be occurring now. Now is the time to look at developing appropriate housing options for older people which incorporate the following:

~ Community support – to ensure that the scheme is an integral part of the life of the local community and that residents of the scheme are given the opportunity to be involved in meaningful activities.

~ Appropriate Care supports – allocated to the scheme allowing for the changing needs as people age and to assist people to remain at home for as long as possible.

~ Age Friendly design – that is attractive, affordable and which addresses older persons needs.

~ Appropriate location – Close to those services that are most required as we age (post office, shops, health care services etc.).


Was it the Lure of Vegemite? 

Megan Hannan found herself in Australia for much of the summer (well, it was summer here) — working with our wonderful friends at Uniting and many of their 70 sites that are committed to moving to households.   First step:  Embracing Action Pact’s approach and philosophy of PersonFirst®.  She’s back in the U.S. now, but will boomerang back with LaVrene come November. These folks are serious in their commitment to culture change and to households!  (See the “Back to School” post for some of their stories)

Shaking up the Status Quo

Next Avenue, public media’s first and only national service for America’s booming 50+ population*, has begun a year-long project on aging well, planning for the changes that aging brings and shaping how society thinks about aging. The most recent article – A New Twist on Planned Senior Communities, by Beth Baker, describes four communities that focus on wellness and quality of life. Not just about old people-croppedHer first featured community is Healthy Living Community, a town-within-a-town in Liberty, MO, that will focus on wellness and intergenerational living. Leading the development is Steve Shields, a pioneer in transformative eldercare and CEO of Action Pact. The community springs from a collaboration between Action Pact and Liberty Hospital and Healthy Living Centers of America. In this community, town life will center around a “Healthy Living Center” complex that includes 6,500 square feet of: state-of-the-art exercise space, a yoga studio, a spinning room and four swimming pools as well as a restaurant, bistro, theater and childcare center – all open to the broader Liberty community. Baker emphasizes thatAbout all-cropped a core element of this community will be households, rather than traditional assisted living or nursing homes — for those who need long-term care services. As the community continues to develop, there will be a variety of housing types. The first phase will open in 2017. Read the full article here.

Beth Baker, a long-time freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, AARP Bulletin, Washingtonian, and Ms. Magazine, is the features editor of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Ms. Baker is also the author of Old Age in a New Age: The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes and With a Little Help from Our Friends, Creating Community as We Grow Older — both available from Action Pact’s webstore.

Of further interest:  Action Pact recently offered webinars on both the Healthy Living Community, with Steve Shields as guest and With a Little Help from Our Friends, Creating Community as We Grow Older featuring Beth Baker as the guest.  If you would like to watch these shows, they are also available in the webstore.

Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) in St. Paul, Minn. produces Next Avenue for the PBS system and 84 PBS stations are local affiliate partners.

WHAT HAPPENED THIS SUMMER? We Found Encouraging News From Around the Globe — Culture change: It works!

Remember the good old days when your teacher asked you what you did on your summer vacation? Well, the summer report is back! From near and far there is good news for the culture change movement.  Here are a few short stories to inspire you.


THE COFFEE BRIBE

An email shared with us by The Hermitage in Richmond, VA

Subject: The coffee offer

Hi, Sue,

I just wanted to thank you again for letting us know that you “bribed” Mom to a social evCoffee Offerent with the promise of coffee. 🙂  While I know that she enjoyed the beverage, I can promise you, even more –knowing that you remembered her favorite and made a point of offering it with a dose of humor meant the world to her.  As you know, when one has lost so much over the years, being treated as a special person means everything. 🙂

Price of coffee:     < $1

The entire coffee “experience” with a smile:  Priceless!

That says it all!


NIGHTLY, NEIGHBORLY STROLL  

This story shared with us by Karmen Payne from Fair Haven in Birmingham, Alabama

Elderly walking1

I want to share a story with you all. I asked the associates in our dementia care unit to discuss an afternoon walking club for after dinner. The associates gathered a banner, pom-poms and a group of residents with severe dementia who can still walk. As they walked, they all waved and other residents waved back to them. Some even joined the walkers. Now, nightly, as this occurs the residents smile and interact like neighbors should. A staff person shared with tears in her eyes, “this is how I dreamed it could be.” Just small steps in a big circle of change.

You can try this at home — your home!

NOT YOUR USUAL PET STORY AT WONTAMA VILLAGE!

It’s already widely understood that pets enhance the daily lives of a great many residents in care communities. When we think of pets, we often think of dogs, cats, hamsters, perhaps birds, right? But in Australia, it can be a different story….

In their rural setting, the residents of Wontama take great pleasure in animals that are closer to home, as many of them have some connection to the bush and no longer have access to the animals that they did in their earlier lives. Joey love Recently they were visited by a joey (baby kangaroo), and the residents “lit up” when they either saw or held this little kangaroo. What a lovely warm feeling it gave everyone involved.

You can see why! Clearly adorable.

Shared with us by Helen Mobbs of UnitingCare’s Wontama Village Home in Orange, NSW, Australia


PURSUING THE SUNBEAM FOR ALL TO SEE

This story comes to us from WindsorMeade in Williamsburg, VA

During a recent Steering Team meeting, WindsorMeade celebrated many accomplishments in their move toward Culture Change.  In an effort to highlight those accomplishments, Steering Team members were given a T-shirt with their new logo and tagline on the front, “Embracing Life at Home.”  The sunbeam graphic is a salute to the book, In Pursuit of the Sunbeam, and the tagline embodies the team’s sentiments in a short phrase. The back of the shirt has a double intent: it defines their location and also their commitment to make Embracing Life at Home the “way” they do things each and every day. Each WindsorMeade team member will receive a shirt.

WindsorMeade Tees

Thank you, WindsorMeade, for the lovely tribute.  We are rooting for you all the way as you pursue the life at home that you envision!

In Pursuit of the Sunbeam was co-authored by Steve Shields and LaVrene Norton, and is available in the Action Pact webstore.

FRESH FLOWER BONANZA FOR RESIDENT ARRANGER!

This story comes from Susan Robertson at The Hermitage-Roanoke in Roanoke, VA

One day at Kroger, Susan noticed they were giving away bouquets of fresh flowers to their customers. The Hermitage had been looking for a source to purchase fresh flowers for their dining room tables for some time, but had not been able to find one. With that in mind, she asked the store manager if they would be interested in donating fresh flowers that are not sellable to a non-profit long-term-care retirement community. Lo and behold… Kroger, said yes!

Hermitage FloristEver since then, on an almost weekly basis, Kroger has been donating fresh flowers to Hermitage in Roanoke. One of the residents loves flower arranging and has been faithfully decorating her community with fresh flowers almost daily. Now she has organized a group of residents to assist her with this project. One day Kroger donated over a dozen bunches of flowers of all types … roses of all colors, mums, etc. This came in handy, as they were getting ready for an anniversary celebration the next day. Here is picture of the “florist” and some of her beautiful flower arrangements enjoyed by all.


HOMELESS SPEAK UP ON MEANING OF HOME

From Renee England and the people of Annesley House, UnitingCare, in Leichhardt, NSW, Australia

Annesley House has been looking at current design plans and major refurbishments. In light of that, Renee decided to meet with the residents to ask what Home means to them. These are people with mental health issues and many have been chronically homeless for most of their lives, so what kind of answers would she get? The session was amazing, she reported – very interactive and truly inspiring. So much so that she wishes she’d filmed it.Home means

The notes say it all. Sheets from the session are shown here.

Culture Change – An Inside Job!

The following heart-felt piece illustrates what often happens to folks during their time at one of Action Pact’s intensive educational offerings.  Karmen Payne, of Fair Haven Retirement Community in Birmingham, AL, recently attended the Nurse Leader intensive, and a fire was lit.  These are her thoughts as she headed home.


The journey to understanding household models is more than learning a management style or philosophy to me. The vision is unique, individualized and as alive as the people living and working in the households. The characteristic “schedules” of the nursing home are absent and the resident is the driver of the pace, style and atmosphere in the home. The critical attitudes, noise and tension are gone. The hierarchy of departments melts away. Rather than entering a “hall,” households truly seem to offer residents, families, staff members and visitors like me, a piece of their home for a time.

At first, I expected to attend a nurse leadership intensive and get a “how to” experience. I had my pen, paper and standard three ring binder at the ready. I quickly put most of that away in favor of walking the hallways, sitting at tables and engaging with members of households to discover what made their household tick. The atmosphere was so shockingly different from my own experiences. The quiet, peaceful interactions were personal and calm. There was no running about by anyone. The residents of each house I visited seemed to come and go at leisure. Everyone was joyful and attentive from the nursing assistants to the licensed dietician serving at the grill. Even the families I encountered were happy!

Returning to the classroom for reflection and discussion, I discovered I was not alone in my shock. There were others on the same journey as my building. That is a trek to finding our pathway to creating home for our residents — the way the residents want home to be. However, rather than a “ten-step plan to compliance and home,” I discovered a guide to self-examination that challenged me to change. If we are to become a household, I was going to have to think differently, respond differently and lead differently. Ten steps were not going to fix the problem on the “floor.” No. The changes I needed were an inside job that would become contagious as we build homes, teams and families to care for our residents’ needs as our residents desire us to.

So,Heart inside person I am beginning the journey with a change of heart and a renewal of spirit. I want to serve my residents and my team by honoring them, empowering them and getting out of their way while motivating them to do what only they can do. Create home. Pursue life. Honor the spirit of each individual in each household in their own unique way. I realize the standard I have lived by for the last 20 years is going to change. I am not the decision maker. Every water pitcher won’t be sanitized on Tuesday any more. Yet, every resident will be honored, fulfilled and respected every single day. I am losing nothing and they gain everything, especially their right to pursue life in their later years on their own terms.

This change will not come without pain. There will be less gossip and more accountability. Confrontation and discussion will replace accusation and blame in our lives. I will have to be brave and bold. Trust will grow as a foundation and control will crumble under its weight. Character and principle will replace compliance and enforcement. Our number will shrink to only those with a heart to serve at first. However, in the end we will become a stable team of servant-leaders dedicated to our calling.

Each home will be different. Each schedule will not follow my best-laid plan. No longer will “my” team spend half their day meeting with me and others like me anymore. Silo jobs will die out. Assignment sheets may well vanish into the abyss with shower schedules and get up lists. Yet, at the end of this pathway of curves, valleys, laughter and tears, maybe we will have created something valuable and lasting to leave as a legacy. Maybe we will have transformed our facility into a home.


Would you like to Hear the Voice of Households? Click here to watch video clips with stories, testimonials and great ideas! 

Brain Game: Tendency to Mimic Behavior Can Lead to Positive Change

A recent episode of “Brain Games” featured a social experiment on human behavior. They staged a waiting room where everyone (except one person, the subject) was instructed to stand up every time they heard a beeping noise.Brains

After only a few beeps, the subject began standing up with the rest. She was not rewarded or instructed to do so, but she did it anyway. Slowly all the other participants left the waiting room, leaving only the subject. She kept standing at the beep. Then as new subjects entered the waiting area, all but one person mimicked her behavior and stood at each beep.

We humans are funny creatures. We have a natural tendency to go along with the crowd. Perhaps wanting to fit in is a survival mechanism, or maybe it is a social thing. Regardless, the fact is that even without logical reason we will conform to the environment and behaviors around us. We see it in residents demanding clothing protectors, even thought they never used them before. We see residents head back to their rooms after the evening meal and, at the call light, race to go to bed even though they used to enjoy staying up in the evenings. Could this be an anchor that has held long-term care in its institutional mindset?

Doing what everyone else does is a powerful human trait, but maybe we can use this tendency to create positive change. If people are so strongly driven to replicate the behaviors they are exposed to, then let’s give them some positive behaviors to grab ahold. And this goes for staff, families and residents alike. Look at an objective in your daily environment. What behaviors are mimicked by others? Are they positive ones? Are we building people up or tearing them down? The good news I see in the Brain Game experiment is that even when just one person exhibited a behavior, those around joined in. So it only takes one person to get something positive started.

We have the opportunity to use this human trait to make change, to plant seeds for positive behaviors and actions. If those around join in and behave the way we behave, then we can be a catalyst for change. However, we must be very consistent and aware of how others see us. If we are positive and supportive sometimes, and grumpy and talk about others behind their backs at other times, which behavior will others most likely repeat? Try playing some brain games of your own, and present those around you with positive behaviors. At the same time be very conscious of any negative behaviors you may be conforming to and speak up about them.

Home Advocates — A Stitch in Time!

From UnitingCare in Australia comes this piece by Chidananda Kamath, which describes how his community, Annesley House, has begun the process of culture change following the kickoff with Action Pact in November 2014.


At Annesley, we decided to focus more around culture change rather than the infrastructure due to the physical limitations of the home. In consultation with our staff and residents over two months (Nov – Dec 2014), we decided to introduce a concept of shared leadership to kick off our efforts towards culture change. All staff, may it be RN or RAOs or care staff, were paired with a small number of residents. All the staff members were called ‘Home Advocates’ and were introduced to their group of residents. Home Advocates were encouraged to build relationships with their resident group while attending to their normal duties. This enabled Annesley to not only provide care but also discover new stories about each resident. Then these stories becaSlaters-quilt4ame part of their care plans. Recreational activities were designed around their interests and past experience. For example, there is a resident in our home who is originally from Burma and used to be a tailor when he lived there. Since moving here, he has struggled with social interactions. When his Home Advocate heard his story and realised that he used to be a tailor, she requested our Leisure and Lifestyle team to find a way for him to demonstrate his strengths. A sewing and knitting group was initiated as a result and this resident was invited to lead the activity. He became noticeably happier as a result. There are many more such examples and pleasant findings from this initiative.

One of the key things we tried to address and focus on is our language during this culture change process. For example, calling Annesley ‘home’ instead of ‘facility’. Staff were also encouraged not to pass on the blame when an incident occurred, rather identify the root cause that was at error in the process, which then would assist the whole team. This helped us design better processes with existing resources. Example: Annesley is now using calendar software to record resident appointments, GP clinic due dates, etc., instead of a diary where errors can happen just because of poor handwriting.
We also designed a simple monthly feedback process for Home Advocates which offers them ten minutes with a senior team member, giving them an opportunity to share their experiences or any new ideas.

My personal realisation through this initiative is that culture change is not a project but a process… And we intend to keep it going. 🙂

CMS Supports New Dining Practice Standards

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently published a memorandum to surveyors regarding long-term care organizations’ implementation of the New Dining Practice Standards. CMS also provided a training video to its surveyors on new recommended nursing home dining practices that focus on resident choice and limiting the use of restricted diets. Continue reading “CMS Supports New Dining Practice Standards”