New WPHF Grant Designed to Bring Culture Change to Assisted Living Facilities

 Hoping to encourage the development of a home-like environment in local assisted living facilities (ALFs), the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), through its Older Adults Work Group, on March 2 approved a $33,416 grant to the Florida Pioneer Network/Senior Resource Alliance.

The 15-month grant will be used to both coach ALF managers on ways to incorporate greater flexibility and variety in the ALFs and to educate consumers on what they can and should expect from ALFs when it comes to service. The program will focus on ALFs in Winter Park and Maitland.

ALFs provide a less intense level of care than a nursing home.  They vary greatly–not only in size, but in the physical environment, services offered, amenities and other factors such as quality of care and quality of life. ALFs are regulated by the State of Florida, but not the federal government.

Over the years, culture change principles have been implemented in many area nursing homes through the efforts of the Florida Pioneer Network (FPN), a group supported by earlier WPHF grants awarded through the Older Adults Work Group. 

Using FPN’s coaching model, this pilot program will now work with select ALFs to introduce and incorporate key elements of culture change, such as ensuring all care and resident-related activities are resident-directed, fostering a home-like living environment rather than one that feels like an institution, and supporting strong relationships between residents, family members, staff and community. 

The grant also provides for community education to make consumers aware of their options in selecting an ALF and address some of the misconceptions about them. The hope is this will create a consumer demand for ALFs that adopt culture change principles resulting in an enhanced quality of life for their residents, families and staff, said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director—Older Adults.

In addition, this pilot program includes an evaluation component. Results will be provided to an array of stakeholders, hopefully inspiring and educating others on the benefits of ALF culture change.