McKenna McClellan

McKenna McClellan

McKenna McClellan

Bowling Green State University

Summer 2016

“The Ohio Scholars Program allowed me to not only share what I learned, it also allowed me to hear what others learned through their internships.”

I had the pleasure of working at Brookdale Senior Living in Bowling Green, OH for my internship. I assisted the activities department with planning for both the assisted living section and the memory care section of their facility. In total the facility can hold about 70 residents between the two sections.

I helped to implement such programs as the Memorial Day Service event. Brookdale puts on an event each year to remember the residents who are no longer with us. They say a couple of poems during the ceremony and at the end they have a butterfly release! I was the photographer for the event and the pictures turned out pretty well! The ceremony was followed by dinner in the dining room of the assisted living section. I also spent time with the residents and helped with daily programs such as crafts, outings and musical entertainment.

Working at Brookdale helped me to learn that in order to provide person centered care you must get to know your residents. I have taken this lesson into my current job as an activity director in Napoleon, OH. I look forward to advancing in my position and implementing all of the knowledge learned from my internship.

The Ohio Scholars Program allowed me to not only share what I learned, it also allowed me to hear what others learned through their internships. It was very interesting to see how studying aging can lead people on many different career paths.

Nathan Sheffer

Nathan Sheffer

Nathan Sheffer

Miami University

Summer 2016

“I highly recommend the Ohio Department of Aging Scholars in Aging program to anyone seeking professional development and professional networking with knowledgeable professionals and experts in aging.”

My summer internship was spent working at the Alzheimer’s Association Northwest Ohio Chapter located in Toledo, OH. My previous work experience at an Alzheimer’s focused nursing home led me to choose the Alzheimer’s Association in order to experience serving community based adults with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. Our chapter serves 24 of the 88 counties in Ohio and works closely with the Area Agencies on Aging and the Ohio Department of Aging. The Alzheimer’s Association provides many services and programs to older adults with Alzheimer’s or related dementias and their family members. I had the experience of working in various areas of the association, including but not limited to; early stage programming, professional education, respite services, health fairs, Walk to End Alzheimer’s fundraising, care consultation, helpline, and support groups. The professional staff at the Northwest Ohio chapter is very experienced and willing to help students who are eager to learn.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my internship has been the relationships I have fostered with my coworkers and other professionals in Northwest Ohio. I was given the opportunity to network and meet a variety of professionals in the aging community, all of whom have been unpredictably supportive and willing to assist in my learning experience and career development. The professionals in the aging community of Northwest Ohio truly work hard and support one another to provide the best services and care to older adults in the area. The relationships I fostered and the treatment I received will not be forgotten, and will be passed along to future scholars.

Ohio Department of Aging Scholars in Aging program is an excellent program for anyone who wants to learn from experienced professionals in the field of aging. The program allowed me to network with other students who were completing internships and learn about other organizations and agencies serving older adults. The program also allows scholars to network with ODA staff and learn about innovative programs and services, as well as best practices in a changing aging environment. I highly recommend this program to anyone seeking professional development and professional networking with knowledgeable professionals and experts in aging. I thank the Ohio Department of Aging and OAGE for the opportunity to participate this summer!

Margaret Rusnak

Margaret Rusnak

Margaret Rusnak

Ohio State University

Summer 2016

“Respecting patients as unique individuals rather than mere to-do items on a task list is a lesson that I will take with me into my professional life and apply to my clinical practice for years to come.”

Edith* is an 83 year old woman admitted to the hospital for abdominal pain. Upon evaluation, the occupational and physical therapists learned that Edith also presented with balance issues while walking, although Edith claimed that she did not need a walker or other support to get around her home. Edith lives alone with her cat in a home that had 5 steps to enter and her closest family lives more than one hour away. Because of Edith’s risk of falling, the therapists recommended that Edith be discharged to a SNF (skilled nursing facility), where she could receive daily therapy to address increasing her standing tolerance and endurance during functional activities of daily living (ADLs).

But Edith had other plans. Edith refused to even consider going to a SNF. When the healthcare providers couldn’t easily convince Edith to discharge to a SNF, they labeled her as difficult.

However, when I spent a few minutes talking with Edith I discovered that Edith was afraid to go to a SNF because she was afraid of losing her independence. She’d stayed at a long-term care facility previously and she didn’t want “sick people staring at [her]” all day. Plus, she worried about the welfare of her cat, who was her friendly companion. Edith asked about home health services but her insurance wouldn’t cover the 24-hour supervision that the therapists believed Edith needed in order to be safe. Because the only other choice offered to her was untenable, Edith decided to return home upon discharge and take her chances with a potential fall.

She asked me, “Am I being difficult? Why is everyone pushing me to go to a nursing home?”

As an occupational therapy intern at a rural hospital, I saw cases like Edith’s many times. A healthcare provider who was well-intentioned would push an agenda that did not take into account the feelings or needs of the patient. Because the average hospital stay is 1-3 days, the provider needs to accomplish many tasks for patient care and sometimes the task list seemed to be more important than the patient’s understanding of the process.

By taking a few minutes to talk with Edith (and other patients like her), I realized that many of these so-called “difficult” patients were reacting from places of fear or ignorance. A few minutes spent to discuss the medical process with them resulted in allayed fears and informed healthcare consumers. The patients were then more likely to comply with plans of care if they felt that their needs were attended to and that their wishes were respected.

Respecting patients as unique individuals rather than mere to-do items on a task list is a lesson that I will take with me into my professional life and apply to my clinical practice for years to come.

* All patient identifying information has been changed to protect confidentiality.

Anastasija Petrovska

Anastasija Petrovska

Anastasija Petrovska

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“The Ohio Department of Aging, through this program has offered me opportunities to network with peers, professionals and policy makers in the Aging field.”

I am a senior at Kent State University and will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies, Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences, with a Nursing Home Administration concentration in December 2016. Over the Summer 2016 semester I had the exceptional opportunity to do my Administrator in Training (AIT) practicum at Jennings, located in Garfield Heights.

On the Jennings’ campus, just outside of Cleveland, full continuums of care service are offered for older adults. Jennings offers a person-centered environment, with the goal of ensuring “Life, as it should be,” for older adults. Some of the supportive services provided include: Adult Day Services, Alzheimer’s/Memory Care, Apartments with Services, Assisted Living, Home Care, Hospice, Long-term Care, Respite Care, Short-term Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation, lavish independent living villa homes, as well as Child and Infant Care, allowing for intergenerational interactions and enrichments. Inspired by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit and the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, Jennings embraces the spiritual dimensions of all individuals and offers a spectrum of spiritual care. Being able to learn from all of the different services offered that benefit the lives of elderly, will eventually allow me to be a very well rounded Nursing Home Administrator as I advance in my career.

My philosophy for this Administrator in Training practicum has been that “Walking in other people’s shoes puts us on a path of understanding.” Jennings has allowed me to explore this philosophy throughout my AIT journey. I have had the chance to work hands on with every department within the facility; culinary services, maintenance, nursing department, admissions, social services, hospice care, marketing, human resources and the wellness center. This has led me to a more profound understanding of the roles of all staff within a department in the long-term care setting. In my practicum I have developed a functional knowledge of applicable laws and regulations in most of the departments and I look forward to further exploring the rest of them as my practicum continues through December 2016.

During my practicum experience with Jennings, I have been working on a variety of quality assurance projects; with the ultimate goal of advancing top quality care for older adults, in order to maintain a longer autonomous life. The main project I have begun working on over the semester is developing and adapting an Acuity Based Staffing Model. As I have moved along with this project, I have learned from and worked closely with my preceptor, Colleen Lavelle, LNHA, Chief Planning Officer at Jennings, who has been guiding me through my project’s progress. This project’s development consists of creating an Index Tool that measures the residents’ complexity and independence in Activities of Daily Living (ADL). In order to cultivate a more accurate measuring tool of the resident’s acuity, I generated a more precise Index Tool, adapted from both the KATZ Index Tool of Independence in ADL’s and Mary Potter’s Hospice Nursing Acuity Tool. This project is in further development as I am working on arranging a proper Matrix for Acuity Based Staffing. Taking both the acuity and complexity of the residents into account when making nursing staffing assignments will maximize the clinical benefits and assure that top-quality care is provided, within the budged constrains. Proper Acuity Based Staffing can significantly impact the quality of care delivered and subsequently the resident’s outcomes. Acuity Based Staffing can ensure that residents are provided with person centered care through their decline, due to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Ultimately, this Acuity Based Staffing Project’s Outcome will entail five strategic steps. First the Acuity Index Tool Measure will determine the resident’s current acuity. Second, an analysis of possible changes will be made, determining whether the resident’s acuity has increased or decreased. Third, the staffing needs will be identified. Next, referring to the Acuity Based Staffing Matrix will allow the determination of the right number of staff, with the right skills, at the right location, at the right time and with the right assignment. Lastly, after the needed changes are implemented and the adequate staffing is adjusted, a re-evaluation through staff feedback will allow determination if the staffing changes are working and if there is an additional need for the resident’s acuity measure to be performed; if so, looping back to the first step.

Although I am enthusiastic about the development of my Acuity Based Staffing Project, there are some obstacles that I have encountered. The use of my Acuity Based Staffing Measuring Index Tool and Matrix for Acuity Based Staffing by Jennings can be challenging as I have constructed them and there is no research or evidence support for the actual outcomes from using this exact Acuity Based Staffing Model. However, Jennings has been an exceptional learning ground for my AIT experience and I am eager to see the outcomes of this project development and gain knowledge as I continue my AIT practicum over the next few months.

Being a member of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, Summer 2016, has enhanced my AIT practicum journey, through providing me opportunities for exposure to understanding the side of Ohio’s aging policy and regulation creation. The Ohio Department of Aging, through this program has offered me opportunities to network with peers, professionals and policy makers in the Aging field. This has allowed me to be more aware of the state’s involvement in long-term care practices. Being able to attend meetings filled with well-informed presentations and field trips have given me a deeper view of both the current and future aging generations. I am honored to have been selected as a member of the Ohio Scholars in Aging Program, as it has shown me the challenges that long-term care facilities and the older population face, and also provided me with hands-on networking experiences that I will be able to use in the future, as I strive to enhance personal care and services delivery to older adults.

I am remarkably grateful to both Jennings and the Ohio Department of Aging for giving me these excellent opportunities that have helped me develop deeper knowledge of the long term care field. I look forward to completing my AIT experience with Jennings and beginning my carrier. My mission as a future Nursing Home Administrator is to provide outstanding healthcare and supportive services to older adults, while retaining employees, in a safe, productive and positive long-term care environment.

Karlissa McDonald

Karlissa McDonald

Karlissa McDonald

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“My experience this summer, with both my practicum at Green Hills Community and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, provided wonderful opportunities to develop and enhance the necessary skills and abilities I will need to become a nursing home administrator in Ohio.”

This summer, I had the opportunity to begin working as an Administrator in Training at Green Hills Community in West Liberty, Ohio. Green Hills is a nonprofit retirement community that is supported by area churches. I am also a student at Kent State University majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Nursing Home Administration.

Throughout the course of my practicum, I have had the opportunity to experience many different aspects of long-term care. I have spent time working in several of the departments at the facility and will continue to work with others as my practicum will continue through December of this year. Green Hills has given me the opportunity to see person directed care implemented not only with residents but also with the staff and families.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to participate in the Ohio Scholars in Aging program this summer. I was able to network with professionals from the Ohio Association of Gerontology and Education, the Ohio Department of Aging, and the Board of Executives of Long-Term Services and Supports. I was also able to interact with other students that are emerging professionals in the field of aging. I learned about many of the initiatives and programs that are beginning at the Ohio Department of Aging. My experience this summer, with both my practicum at Green Hills Community and the Ohio Scholars in Aging program, provided wonderful opportunities to develop and enhance the necessary skills and abilities I will need to become a nursing home administrator in Ohio.

Karin Himstedt

Karin Himstedt

Karin Himstedt

Kent State University

Summer 2016

“By observing all departments and by engaging in their activities I not only gained an appreciation for the efforts of employees, but I also realized the value of their contributions to a smoothly running, long-term-care organization.”

During spring 2016 and summer 2016 I absolved my Administrator-in-Training practicum at a large skilled nursing facility in the Canton-Akron area.

During my practicum I did not just focus on a project but I was exposed to all functions and departments of a long-term-care facility, ranging from activities, housekeeping, dietary, and laundry, to social services, admissions, marketing, business, and nursing.

By observing all departments and by engaging in their activities I not only gained an appreciation for the efforts of employees, but I also realized the value of their contributions to a smoothly running, long-term-care organization: the washer who sorts soiled laundry and begins its cleaning and sanitation process at 3 a.m. is just as critical to the organization as the nurse who monitors a resident’s well-being, as well as the nurse aide, who assists the resident with those tasks they cannot do for themselves anymore.

I also learned that passion for high-quality person centered care must be accompanied by a keen sense of business practices. Only when a long-term-care facility is also fiscally successful and sustainable will it be able to provide high-quality care for its residents, as well as a place of employment for its workforce. An administrator is required to seek a healthy and suitable balance of all these aspects.

I very much value that this practical, hands-on learning was accompanied by the OAGE Summer Scholarship program. I have gained from the deeper and broader insight into elder care in the State of Ohio and the many, many resources that are available. And, contrary to popular opinion, throughout these experiences I have found that people everywhere, who are involved in elder issues, care passionately and deeply about elders, their families, and their aging experience!