Ellie Hodges

Miami University

2017

“Overall, my experiences with the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and my internship at Otterbein Small Homes has been valuable in helping develop professional skills and build a network of relationships with mentors and professionals in the field of aging.”

During the Spring semester of 2017, I completed a practicum at Otterbein Small Homes Nursing Home and Rehabilitation in Middletown, Ohio. As a part of this experience, I worked on various projects for this facility, such as administrative tasks, assisting with the PELI survey and working one on one with the residents at the facility.

After interviewing several of the staff and employees at the Middletown facility, I decided to focus my final capstone project on an “end of life care” video to help train and further educate new employees at Otterbein.

The original design and intent of this video was to equip new Elder Assistants (e.g., state-tested nursing aides) to better understand and serve the elder residents being cared for at the Otterbein facility as they neared the end of their lives. It is worth noting, as I discovered during this internship, the real beauty of the small home model of skilled nursing is that elder residents are able to live in the comfort of their own home during their final days. Aging and dying “in place” allows those who want it, to die peacefully and with dignity, surrounded by family and loved ones.

My desire for this capstone project video was to help caregivers understand and be aware of the need for compassion and dignity for those nearing the end of their life.

However, what started as a video solely for new hires turned into a video that will be used as a continuing education tool for all employees at Otterbein. They will receive in-service credit for watching the five-minute video. With the scope change, I was able to broaden the topic and insert short interviews from practical caregivers, a guide and a Hospice professional working at the Middletown facility.

Because of this internship and project, I was able to meet many amazing employees who changed my perspectives on death. The people I interviewed contributed uniquely to the topic of death; bringing their own experiences and advice. This project also allowed me to complete a thorough literature review and develop a theoretical framework for end of life care and palliative medicine.

Overall, my experiences with the Ohio Scholars in Aging program and my internship at Otterbein Small Homes has been valuable in helping develop professional skills and build a network of relationships with mentors and professionals in the field of aging. These opportunities have provided me with an amazing semester. Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate!