LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |0 Long Term Care Facilities Jennifer Kitchen SS368-01H
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |1 Long Term Care As the population grows and medical advances increase the average lifeexpectancy there becomes a need for long term care. Many Americans live longhealthy lives but at some point they may need care for conditions that restrict theirability to manage day to day undertakings. Long term care facilities offer 24 hour careby skilled nursing staff to individuals with chronic illnesses and other disablingconditions (Corr & Corr, 2009). The staff tries to maintain a quality of life for theresidents that help to keep them comfortable. The focal point of long term facilities is toassist individuals in everyday living. Assisted living facilities give individuals with chronic illnesses and disabilities acertain amount of independence and a voice in their own care. These facilities may berecognized as skilled nursing facilities or nursing homes, intermediate care facilities,and residential care facilities or retirement homes (Corr & Corr, 2009). These facilitiesmay serve just the elderly or they may serve people of all ages that need long termcare. Some people who reside in these facilities are there for physical rehabilitation thatis to extensive for outpatient care. I decided to visit The Valley Inn, a long term carefacility in Mancos, CO to see what long term facilities are all about. The Valley Inn Outside the sign reads “where quality of life is most important.” As I walked inthe main door I got a warm feeling and could smell food cooking. Inside it has the lookof a 4-star hotel and it is set in a beautiful valley with mountain views on every side. Ispoke with Ashley, a social services director who has been with this facility for almost
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |27years. Ashleystated the goal at The Valley Inn was to help the residents feel at homeand as we walked aroundI saw many of the residents in the halls and recreation roomstalking and laughing. There is an Alzheimer Specialty Unit that I was not allowed toenter, as to not upset any of the residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia. There are 110beds at this facility and at this time 77 beds are filled. Ashley informed me that all thesupervisors at the Valley Inn must be CNA certified even the social service director andactivity director. This facility has been open for 17 years and was started because theowner, Joyce, “found a need” for a long term facility in her hometown of Mancos. Joyceis partnered with C & G Health Care Management and The Valley Inn has 6 sisterfacilities in other towns in the Southern Rockies area. The Valley Inn brochure reads “aloving environment where residents come first.” They create individual care plans foreach resident and involve the loved ones in their care. Ashley stated that this The Valley Inn is highly rated by the people of thecommunity and many of them like to get involved. There are many activities that requirecommunity volunteers. I spoke to the activity director, Tim and his assistant, Samanthaand was shown a monthly schedule of activities that are held. I was astonished at notonly the number of daily activities but also at variety. Not only can the residents takepart in arts and crafts and games they also get to go on outings to Wal-Mart and thecasino, read the news and discuss views every morning, hold book clubmeetingsweekly and also get to attend balls and parties. I visited on a Monday andseen 3 babies visiting and every Friday the residents get to visit with the pets from allover Mancos and the surrounding area. There is a resident doctor, a massagetherapist, a beauty and barber salon, and a restaurant where the residents can order off
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |3a real menu at no extra charge. The residents can enjoy the music room, the living areawith a big screen TV, the solarium, the non-denominational chapel, and the flower andvegetable gardens. There are Biker Rallies held twice a year to promote the facility andthe awareness of the community’s aging population. And every Halloween the facility isdecorated and children come by to “trick or treat”. Joyce and the partners of The ValleyInn share ideas and discuss what is important while involving the staff and the residentsin the plans. The residents are free to give input on activities and many of the activitiesthey hold at the Valley Inn have been requested by residents. The Valley Inn is morethan just a place to wait to die, as Ashley put it, “it is a place for people to live.” Discussion When I started on this assignment I had a view of long term care facilities. It didnot match what I found at The Valley Inn. I have only been to one other long term careand rehabilitation facility. It was nothing like this place. I know now that I should nothave prejudge this type of facility. The Valley Inn was a beautiful, comfortable placethat was bustling with activity. It was not some sterile, white walled medical center. Itdid not smell of cleaning products and urine but like home cooking. I thought as I touredthe building and the grounds that long term care can be given in an enjoyable, relaxingenvironment. I gained a new perspective on the end of life. Dying does not have to bea lonesome experience. Some people live very a very long life but find they cannotwork through their end days and just need a place to live where life can be moreconvenient. As the population of people over the age of 85 keeps growing people livelong healthy lives well past the age of retirement (Frontline, 2006). Family is not alwaysavailable to help care for the elderly and many do live in long term facilities. A dying
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |4individual does not have to feel excluded from society simply because they live in aninstitution to receive the assistance they need. They have the right to continue on livinguntil death does come for them. Long term care facilities may give this assistance whilehelping maintain a quality of life. It is almost springtime in the Rocky Mountains and there will be many eventsgoing on and Tim told me that“the need for more volunteers is high.” So, I have signedup to become a volunteer at The Valley Inn. It will be an experience for me for I havenever worked in any health institution so far. I only have experience in educational andenvironmental volunteering. I have worked with ESL (English as a second language)students tutoring them how to read and write essays in English. That gives meexperience with people. I told Tim I would like to work in the garden as well as assist inoutings and the various parties. If my background check is cleared by the end of theweek I would like to take part in the Mardi Gras party next week. I am looking forwardto forming relationships with some of the smiling faces I seen and more at The ValleyInn.
LONG TERM CARE FACILITIES |5 ReferencesCorr, C.A. and Corr, D.M., (2009). Death and Dying: Life and Living. Ohio: Cengage Learning.Frontline, (2006). Living Old: the modern realities of aging in America. PBS Home Video.The Valley Inn, 211 Third Ave, Mancos, CO 81328. (970)533-9031.