East Ridge at Cutler Bay is participating in an innovative training program known as the Eden Alternative. Staff at the life plan community is currently undertaking training that will be embraced by the Three Palms Health Center as well as independent living.
Twenty-one staff members are participating in the training which includes East Ridge and Three Palms department managers and certified nursing assistants (CNAs). Staff will attend intensive training workshops that are spread over six monthly visits.
Spearheaded by resident, Dr. Carolyn Garwood, there has been a group of residents and staff studying culture change in long-term care which they coined “Choice and Change” for East Ridge. This group has served as a community voice in the planning of Three Palms Health Center. They studied the practices known as the Eden Alternative which are the ideas of Bill Thomas, MD expressed in his book, “What Are Old People For? How Elders Will Save the World?”.
“When Three Palms Health Center was designed, it was conceived as a new model of long-term living. Its smaller neighborhood concept is intended to reflect culture change in the philosophy of care,” explained Dr. Garwood. “Now that we have Three Palms, we want to train the associates in this new care model.”
The interactive workshops help staff learn to focus on what people can do and their abilities rather than on what they are unable to do or on losses. The training helps in maximizing the involvement of everyone and builds on each person’s individual current experiences.
“Loneliness, helplessness, and boredom are plagues of the human spirit. Care is helping another person to grow. Treatment is only part of what it means to provide care,” she explained.
Through the workshop, East Ridge staff is learning that the culture change doesn’t necessarily mean doing more; it means doing things differently. Embracing a different way of thinking will help in creating sustainable and long-lasting changes in the quality of life for residents and the quality of work life for staff.