An Atul Gawande Approach at Collington?

Much discussion has erupted among Collington residents recently about whether the one social worker we have for all independent living residents is sufficient. The heads of all the Resident Association’s  operating committees have called for additional social workers for independent residents. As of now, Collington’s proposed 2016 budget does not include funds for this purpose.  But there is something else in the budget narrative that sounds not only interesting but potentially more far-reaching than just the number of social workers. It’s called Vitalize 360, a program pioneered at Hebrew SeniorLife’s Orchard Cove, one of the senior living homes cited positively by Atul Gawande in his book “Being Mortal.”

According to Kendal at Hanover, which has implemented the program, it “embraces the entire well-being of a person — the 360 degree view — and encourages adults to consider all aspects of their lives including sense of purpose, lifelong learning, social connections, community activity, mental and physical fitness, nutrition and health.” Kendal is calling on all its affiliates to implement Vitalize 360. We understand that Collington’s Fitness Manager has received the Vitalize 360 training but that only a few residents will be invited to participate in the program in 2016.

I think it would behoove the Residents Association to push for full implementation of Vitalize 360 here at Collingon, with properly trained and sufficient staff to do it right. If the statistics are correct, this program could help a lot of residents and would put Collington on a more progressive path. Read more about the program here (Hanover) and here (Orchard Cove).

5 responses to “An Atul Gawande Approach at Collington?

  1. Two important matters seem to obscure one another: “How about another social worker?” And “How about this keen, holistic V-360 approach!”
    Many have said the need for another social worker should be based not on notional or anecdotal assertions, but on data that demonstrate the dimension of the need. This isn’t unreasonable at all, and the question is if we have data that shows that current staffing is enough?
    As to V-360, by all means lets explore. But I don’t see how it obviates the need to look seriously at the social worker staffing issue.

    • It doesn’t. It’s a question of strategy: jump on a train that appears to be moving or get behind a stationary one and push.

  2. I like the idea of formalizing what we are doing now in a somewhat haphazard way, which works well for self-starters but leaves the uncommitted and/or unconvinced behind.

    • It appears that Orchard Cove has devoted its entire interdisciplinary health and wellness team to Vitalize 360, described this way on its website: “Beginning with a proven, computerized assessment, the Vitalize360 coach then works with the resident to create a personalized wellness plan. The resident then works with Orchard Cove’s interdisciplinary team (including doctors, nurses, nutrition specialists, social workers as well as behavioral and fitness professionals) to determine their individual life goals and create a personalized wellness plan to inspire positive lifestyle changes.”

  3. I agree that Vitalize 360 has a lot of potential. I think a full discussion would explore how the two approaches can best be integrated. Thanks for adding to the debate.