Assisted Living Pilot Project Attracts National Attention

The Florida Pioneer Network’s 15-month pilot culture change program, only in its second quarter, already is getting attention from the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL) and others.  CEAL is a non-profit collaborative of eleven national organizations including notably AARP, the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging.

The pilot program, supported by a $33,416 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) through its Older Adults Work Group, is comprised of two parts; the implementation of culture change principles into assisted living environments through the use of trained coaches, and consumer education to ensure assisted living environments embody person-directed care.

WPHF “has been a long time supporter of Florida Pioneer Network’s efforts to promote culture change principles within nursing homes,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director-Older Adults. “This grant conveys our desire to extend these principles to other venues, in this case, assisted living homes.”

Coaches begin by working with managers, staff, and residents (collectively referred to as the Dream Team) to establish a baseline measure of how residents are welcomed, the extent of their engagement in community or meaningful activity, their dining and other daily living experiences, and their environment.  There are also questions about the home’s leadership and staff.  The tool used is based on the Artifacts of Culture Change Tool, developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Edu-Catering, LLP in 2006.  The Artifacts tool was designed for use in nursing homes and so this first-ever adaptation by the Florida Pioneer Network has attracted much interest. 

There are six assisted living homes in WPHF’s service area participating in this pilot: Sutton Homes, Faith House, Indigo Palms, Westchester, Aiden Springs and the Mayflower. This sampling represents great diversity in terms of the number of beds, established versus new homes, specialty, and even tax status.

Each Dream Team is charged with writing a Dream Statement which describes what they want the home to become in the future.  Next, a specific area of focus is chosen to help achieve that vision.  Through ongoing coaching sessions and the availability of grant funding, the team moves toward making the dream a reality.

For the consumer education component, up to 10 community sites will be used for these gatherings.  Consumer education presentations will begin in early 2011.