Introducing “The Landing”

We have all been waiting for the opening of “The Landing” with great anticipation.  Indeed we have now received invitations for group tastings in the near future.  So we thought folks might be interested in seeing how our chefs are developing the recipes and learning the techniques to ensure the food is mouthwatering.

Disclaimer:  The videography standard is not nearly up to the demonstrated cooking standard.  This is my first venture into videography and we can all blame Richard Zorza for the loan of his video cam and the accompanying lessons he gave me.




Tool to Invite Patient Engagement May Be Helpful for Retirement Communities

The BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) has just published, An Invitation to Patient and Family Engaged Care for Consumers: What it is, Why it Matters and How Patients and Families Can Engage.  I think we may find it very helpful here at Collington and in other retirement communities as a way to think about patient engagement and partnership.

This short document, of which I am listed as a co-author, explains the concept of patient engaged care, describes and briefly summarizes the Planetree – National Academy of Medicine framework synthesis of the research into the impact of this approach, and perhaps most importantly, then specifically welcomes and invites patients to become engaged and partnering team members. (Note that my blog, attempting to summarize the very rich and detailed original Planetree-NAM paper, into which I had some input, is here.)

The BMJ response includes our offered model “Dear Patients & Families” letter, which could be used generally by medical institutions to explain, welcome and support full engaged participation.

For example, it references and summarizes the research as follows:

The good news is that research shows that patient and family engaged care leads to better relationships between you and your healthcare providers. It helps keeps patients safe. It reduces healthcare costs and keeps people from being unnecessarily readmitted to the hospital. Patient and family engaged care makes healthcare staff feel more connected to the work they do, which makes for a better experience for everyone.

Some of its specific invitations and suggestions to patients are as follows:

  • On your next visit to your healthcare provider, ask them if they have seen the framework for patient and family engaged care. If not, direct them here:
  • Ask your healthcare provider if there is a way for you to be involved in improving care. For example, ask if they have a patient-family advisory council.
  • Ask to be part of the organization’s leadership or government team. Ask if patients are included as board members, for example.
  • Ask to be with your loved one at all times, if they want that. Question why there are restrictions to visiting patients. If having visitors is not beneficial to your healing process, enlist the support of your care team to set parameters for guests.
  • Ask that a Care Partner or family member be present and engaged for all conversations about your health.
  • State your feelings. They matter just as much as your physical condition.
  • Get involved in research. Ask about how your condition is being studied and how you can help.
  • Let your care team know how you like to receive information.
  • Ask to see and contribute to your medical record. If you don’t understand what you read in your medical record, ask questions until you do.
  • Tell your care provider what your health goals are – in your own terms (for instance, being able to walk up a flight of stairs, being able to play with your grandchildren without getting winded, etc.)
  • Come to doctor’s appointments prepared. Bring a notepad with questions, your medication list and any other pertinent personal healthcare information.
  • Create a medical biography about yourself. What conditions and medications have you had in the past? What are you currently experiencing? What are your goals for the future?
  • Act like you belong. Be a teammate, not a subject.

I think the last one, “Act like you belong. Be a teammate, not a subject,” sums the whole approach up perfectly.

I very much hope that medical institutions will want to include this letter in their intake, on-boarding process for new patients, and to encourage staff to use its suggestions as a framework for discussions with patients about a team approach and its specifics. It, together with the underlying NAM framework, could also be an excellent too for staff training at all levels on how not just to have an engagement discussion, but to make all discussions team discussions.

If this approach because a standard in most institutions, then we will truly be on the way way to a greatly improved system.  And the same is true of Collington!

P.S. This post is an edited version of one I did in my Patient Partnering blog.

Appreciating Jodi Cramer As She Leaves Collington

Yesterday we experienced the Collington Community at its very best.

At a party in the Auditorium, we said our thankful and heartfelt goodbyes to Jodi Cramer as she leaves Collington for a new job, much closer to her home.

There is something so special about how Jodi, as part of the Dining Services staff, reached out at a human level to so many residents.  As you will see from the various remarks (and hugs) on the video below, Jodi has evoked some very strong feelings of thanks.

Indeed, one of her greatest legacies, also underlined by the video, is the changing of vision of what is possible in terms of connection between staff and residents.  Below is the video, shot last year, which Jodi’s perspective on her role is used to link together a number of residents’ thoughts.  That surely fits.  (No, that is not Jodi’s picture!)

Thinking through how we can build on and enhance that legacy, and the values of community as extended family that it reflects, is a good challenge for the Strategic Planning Group.

A Personal View on The Broader Opportunities in Our New Horticulturist Position at Collington

It’s good news that we at Collington are hiring a horticulturalist to make the most of our wonderful 125 acre wooded and lake campus.

And, if we take advantage of the opportunity, it would be wonderful news.

Obviously, the new person (formal job description here) will be able to coordinate and improve our existing campus landscape efforts.  As the online description says:

This Community Horticulturist serves as the “proprietor” for the campus; and duties encompass all aspects of landscaping maintenance including annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, irrigation adjustments, grasses, aquatic plants, hardscapes, trash, snow related events, recycling cleanup, etc. The associate is responsible for consistently evaluating and maintaining the designated landscape as well as providing guidance and support to residents on their landscaping needs. This position will work in partnership with the maintenance team to provide community snow coverage and removal; supports the maintenance team with projects as needed.  All tasks utilize the best organic practices.

With the right person, the job could be even more exciting, and make an even bigger different to our lives.  One of the really unique things about Collngton is how much our residents are already involved with the landscape here, including leading our becoming a Certified Wildlife Habitat, being deeply engaged in clearing and cleaning-up (video link), and of course having a very active Grounds Committee.

So, I would see part of the job being fostering and building on that enthusiasm to engage even more residents in the enriching of our campus of nature island.  Little steps like committing to buy our own chipper make engagement so much greater.  There is also so much room for community education on our environment and how to love and improve it.

There is even another possibility.  More and more ageing experts are discovering the value of horticulture therapy (a term I only just learned).  As the above-linked website of the American Horticulture Therapy Association Says:

Horticultural therapy is a time-proven practice. The therapeutic benefits of garden environments have been documented since ancient times. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the “Father of American Psychiatry,” was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness.

I know it works for me.  Imagine more of this at Collington:

A therapeutic garden is a plant-dominated environment purposefully designed to facilitate interaction with the healing elements of nature. Interactions can be passive or active depending on the garden design and users’ needs. There are many sub-types of therapeutic gardens including healing gardens, enabling gardens, rehabilitation gardens, and restorative gardens.

What makes a garden therapeutic? The basic features of a therapeutic garden can include wide and gently graded accessible entrances and paths, raised planting beds and containers, and a sensory-oriented plant selection focused on color, texture, and fragrance. Learn more by reading AHTA’s characteristics of therapeutic gardens.

What a great job that could be!