Sunday, November 2, 2008

Culture Change in a Baby Boomer Nursing Home (Video 2:20 mins.)

In my book "Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes,” Baby Boomer Haven refers to an imaginary nursing home based on best practices of some, but not nearly enough, nursing homes that exist today. In the last chapter, Ruth, a patient in a wheelchair, takes readers on a nursing home tour where residents and employees thrive in a culture where they feel empowered and respected. Many aspects of culture change are discussed and in evidence.

Roger Woodruff, Director of Palliative Care, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, Austin Health, Melbourne, Australia says of this book tour “I particularly enjoyed the guided tour, conducted from a wheelchair, of Baby Boomer Haven."

Book Excerpt:

“Management and staff have a great working relationship. Together they wrap us in a warm family quilt woven with reassurance. Everybody participates in decision-making and attends workshops, classes, and conferences to keep abreast of best practices in their fields. Various staff members are included in the hiring of new employees and, when appropriate, involved in their training. Periodic meetings are held with all shifts represented, so more in-depth information can be provided concerning patients. Employees take pride in their work and strive to continue our tradition of excellence. We’re all part of the same team, and we’re all cheerleaders.”

In this video, viewers are given an overview of how to implement resident-directed care.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
"Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes”
“Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog”


  1. I have been toying with the idea of giving a training session to some of the staff in the nursing home where my father is a resident, to make them more sensitive to the feelings of the patients--actually I'd like to have each of them spend just one hour in a wheelchair and duplicate some of the disabilities that the wheelchair-bound patients have to contend with, to see how annoying it is to be ignored or to be dealt with in a rough and uncaring manner. I know these staff members work hard and probably earn low salaries, but I have long maintained that if you're going to do a job, you should do it with a smile on your face and be good-natured about it. Unfortunately I think this is absent in many nursing homes. Do you have any recommendations for some kind of "training sessions" that would be appropriate and eye-opening to improve nursing home care?

  2. Renee, I am not familiar with any specific semi-deprivation training programs for nursing home staff members. There are probably programs that you could adapt to meet your needs. This is something you would have to research.

  3. Thanks--I have my work cut out for me.

  4. I haven't succeeded in finding any training course models for what I have in mind. All my googling is turning up how hard it is for nursing home staffs to cope with the jobs they have, but no sensitivity training programs, with one exception: which isn't exactly what I want, but is down the right road. I also came across a charming site for us caregivers to share caregiving experiences with many references to nursing homes and the problems encountered there:, and even submitted a couple of stories of my own. I guess the problems are rampant and in much need of improvement.

  5. Renee, you have done a great job with your research. In fact, I like the NPR link so much called "Teaching the Young to Empathize with the Old,” I plan to do a post on it in the future.
    I'll also refer it to a mother trying to get her children involved with nursing home service and to some hospice workers at the
    Hospice Community Forum website, where this discussion came up recently.

    Wow! Look at all the people you've helped! Yes, you were definitely "down the right road." Thanks for helping all of us. Frances

  6. My pleasure! That's what we're all here for, right? Looking forward to your next post.