Putting the Home
By Archana Ravi
Although our agility may decline, as we get older, one thing that remains constant throughout our lifetimes is our need for love and respect. Many people fear that we will live out our last years in a nursing home, alone and separate from family and friends.
The Lawrence Nursing Care Center, however, an Eden Alternative nursing home, is changing the face of Long Term care in the Rockaway community. By putting the ‘home’ back in nursing home, the center has given its maturing residents a new reason for loving life.
In a program called the Eden Alternative, departmental staff gives their residents all of the features of home-life, and more. The program’s mission is to eliminate the three plagues of the Long Term Care institution- Loneliness, Helplessness, and Boredom. With well-groomed animals, verdant plants, and visiting children throughout the year, the Lawrence center achieves just that.
In order to ensure that the residents receive optimal care, Lawrence Nursing Center employs 188 staff members for its 200 residents. The staff is clean, dedicated, and friendly to say the least. Community liaison Diane Moore says, "When you have a happy staff, what else can you have but happy residents?" One staff member told The Wave that her work was her ‘home’ because she is with family all day. "The staff makes themselves family for the patients", says Moore. "I’ve been here for twenty years and I’ve seen the changes. We work in families."
A large component of the staff at Lawrence is the animals that reside there. The residents develop a sense of responsibility by walking and feeding the pets. They also regain a sense of self-worth that may have been lost upon entering the center.
Residents are able to maintain an active and fun lifestyle through the center’s recreational program. A daily schedule is posted outside of the recreational room, which lists activities throughout the day such as volleyball, puzzles, coloring, mazes, arts & crafts, discussion groups, musical groups, ice cream socials, bird feeding, and knitting to name a few. The center also holds events such as holiday parties, barbeques, and Oreo Cookie Day. The Women’s Club at the Center meets weekly for manicures, pedicures, hair styling, jamborees, and other activities. The Men’s Club has chess tournaments, sports, and various other leisurely events.
One of the most fulfilling features of Eden Alternative is the Inter-generational Program in which children from local day care and schools visit the center weekly and choose grandparents among the residents. The children play games and make crafts with their chosen grandparents. One of the children in the program stated, "I don’t have a Grandma or a Grandpa at home but when I come to the "Nursery Home" I have lots of Grandmas and Grandpas." This program is especially beneficial because it increases community and family involvement.
The center is accredited in Dementia Special Care, Long Term Care, and Subacute Care by the Joint Accreditation of Healthcare Organization. Lawrence recently received a 100 percent score on a recent JCAHO survey.
Additionally, a medical director, on-call physicians, and physician assistants are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with scheduled on-site specialists.
The Lawrence Nursing Care Center " serves to break down the walls of institutionalized nursing homes" says Moore. It gives seniors the security of a hospital and the warmth of a home.