Changes Coming to St. Joseph of the Pines
Officials with St. Joseph of the Pines Health System in Southern Pines are counting the days until the metamorphosis is complete, and the new state of the art Therapy Village accepts its first patient.
That day is closer than they imagined because, as luck would have it, construction of the 2,000-square-foot independent transitional rehabilitation space is actually ahead of schedule.
Therapy Village, with all its components to make it possible for rehabilitation patients to re-acclimate to the community during their stay at St. Joseph of the Pines, will accommodate an unlimited number of patients with joint replacements, congestive heart disease, prosthetic limbs, debilitating arthritis or neurological impairment.
Therapy Village's walls will embrace life-sized daily living apparatuses, such as automobiles, grocery store shelves, a putting green, a mini-theater and restaurant setting.
The objective of bridging the gap between rehabilitation and reality, the design of the building, the equipment contained therein and the St. Joseph associates charged with teaching, strengthening and collectively healing the patients, is a concept many consider unique.
It offers the opportunity for patients to relearn routine daily activities in an environment that will resemble what they will encounter after leaving St. Joseph of the Pines.
"Therapy Village will include two separate rehab areas focusing on all three therapeutic disciplines including physical, occupational, and speech," says Prentice Lipsey, administrator of health services for St. Joseph of the Pines. "The individuals that are coming to St. Joseph's for rehab are interested in finding out how quickly they can get back to living life. With a state of the art rehab gym, we will be able to show residents that reality. I hope that the community will see our rehab program as the best place to regain strength and recuperation following whatever surgery or hospital experience they've had."
In addition, the simultaneous conversion of a traditional nursing home hall into the first Household Model of Care in the Health Center is nearing completion. Every slap of spackle, each turn of a screw and every flick of a switch that lights a modernized ceiling or wall fixture brings the Health Center that much closer to its makeover. Both projects will be completed by the end of May.
"I truly believe there will not be another therapy program or care model like it in the area," says Lipsey. "Therapy Village and our future transformation of halls to homes will create an environment in which we can all take pride. For most of us, being given the opportunity to provide senior care services in a way that deinstitutionalizes the nursing home is the reason we became administrators, nurses, and social workers."
Old habits and routines are becoming a thing of the past at the Health Center at 103 Gossman Drive off Camp Easter Road, and are giving way to less traditional practices.
"I am extremely excited about this project heralding the beginning of more changes to come," says Lipsey. "The end result will be St. Joseph of the Pines reconnecting to its strong Catholic heritage and creating a work culture that we can all be proud to be a part of."
St. Joseph officials will discontinue the use of an overhead paging system. Such a tool for communication will have no place in a Household Model of Care environment.
Identifying factors for halls like 100, 200, 400, 600, 800 or 850 will be replaced with names that reflect the health system's Catholic roots, Lipsey says. Street lamps will light the way and park benches will invite conversation.
St. Joseph associates will develop new ways to carry out their duties. They will be trained to be more versatile, Lipsey says. A homemaker will be responsible for cooking and cleaning while a caregiver's obligations will be performed by certified nursing assistants (CNA) who will be "empowered to take more control during the day to plan menus, conduct activities and run the house," says Lipsey.
A licensed practical nurse (LPN) will be on duty and household coordination staff will be responsible for activities in these neighborhoods. Clinical coordination will be carried out by registered nurses. All of the daily events will be centered in and around a family room.
"This change in the way we serve our residents will benefit everyone, including total care residents, because we will really get to know each person," Lipsey says. "And I can't take credit for developing the model; it is simply what residents are starting to demand, as the nursing homes of yesterday are not what this or the next generation of seniors wants."
St. Joseph of the Pines is sponsored by the Sisters of Providence and is a member of Catholic Health East. It includes the Health Center, Rehabilitation Unit, Coventry, Belle Meade Retirement Resort, the Overlook at Pine Knoll, Villas at Pine Knoll and Providence Place.
Jeralie Andrews is the volunteer director at St. Joseph of the Pines.
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