De-institutionalizing Nursing Homes

Posted on May 1, 2012 by

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Progressive nursing home models are trying to change the institutionalized nature of eldercare.

The Eden Alternative is a non-profit organization dedicated to “eliminating the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom that make life intolerable in most of today’s long-term care facilities”.  Rooted in the belief that institutionalized elder life does not have to be sterile and routine, the program emphasizes a change in thinking and values.  You’ll find plants, animals, and children in homes using the Eden principles.  There is also a focus on spontaneity and elders participating in taking care of themselves and each other.  If seniors do need to be placed in long term care, The Eden Alternative strives to make sure they’re treated like “elders”, not residents.

Based in Chicago, IL, the Pioneer Network is also a not-for-profit organization. The network’s mission is to “advocate and facilitate deep system change and transformation in our culture of aging”.  Their movement supports initiatives towards a consumer-driven model of care versus institutional and provider-driven, and is also engaged in policy and regulation.

Limited funds and displaced nursing home profits leave many nursing home employees overworked and frustrated.  My hope is that these types of programs aren’t using resources that could be used immediately to improve employee morale and maintain adequate staffing – two factors that have a tremendous effect on quality of care.

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