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Focus on wellness

New neighborhood at Highland Springs takes care to the next level

Created date

July 24th, 2012

When the new continuing care neighborhood opens at Highland Springs later this year, guests can expect a different approach to health and wellness. Other communities typically focus on a resident s health issues, says Janet Smith, regional director of health care sales for Erickson Living. We re taking a more holistic approach. We want to get to know our residents first find out their likes and dislikes then use that information to determine the best approach for providing care. Currently, 11 Erickson Living communities across the U.S. have continuing care neighborhoods. With a proven track record, including a hospital readmission rate that s half the national average, these communities already set Erickson Living apart as an industry leader. The new continuing care neighborhood at Highland Springs will continue to build on this tradition of excellence. The continuing care neighborhood at Highland Springs will be a game changer, says Vice President for Continuing Care Mark McElwee. It promotes the idea of residents at the center of all we do. It s part of the continuum another neighborhood within the community. To that end, the new neighborhood will bring together a number of key components to provide exceptional care, including an individualized plan for each resident. What differentiates us from any other competitor in our market is knowing how to honor our residents at every stage of their course, says Mary Norman, M.D., medical director at Highland Springs. It s our patient-centered care that sets us apart. When a new person moves into the continuing care neighborhood, the first order of business will be to establish a service plan. We want to find out what gives that individual joy, says Norman. Is it art, music? Whatever it may be, we want to incorporate those things into the resident s daily life. Whereas other communities develop a service plan based on clinical needs, the continuing care neighborhood at Highland Springs will offer a more personal inventory. The goals established in the service plan will reflect the resident s own goals for living. As doctors, it s easy to get caught up in the numbers, says Norman. Yes, the blood pressure needs to be okay, and yes, residents need to be well hydrated. But it s all in the context of what they want to accomplish in their own lives, whether that s watching a grandchild s soccer game or going outside for a walk.

Power in consistency, teamwork

Another powerful tool for helping residents achieve maximum independence is having consistent care providers. For memory care and assisted living, the same nursing staff will be assigned to each shift, ensuring that residents are cared for by people who know them. I can t say enough for consistency in care providers, says Norman. When residents have the same nurses helping and caring for them, it makes it easier for those nurses to recognize changes. They might notice that a resident is not moving his or her right side as well as the day before, or they may notice a grimace and see that a resident is in discomfort. A prompt response to these changes can help prevent a resident from going to the hospital. The same goes for the on-site physicians, emergency medical technicians, social workers, and pastoral care counselors. We have physicians specializing in senior care available at the community five days a week and by phone on weekends, says Norman. If a problem arises, the doctors can pull up the resident s electronic medical record and have all the information they need to make an informed decision.

Partnering for success

Other state-of-the-art features of the new neighborhood include secure, in-room medicine cabinets; easy access to safe outdoor spaces; and consistent dialogue between care providers and family members. We re not just caring for the resident; we re also caring for the family, says Norman. Part of our job is to let family members know what s going on and what they can expect. When everyone partners together, we maximize a resident s chance for success.