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Westminster-Thurber Community

Quality of Life Impact

"I brought in all of my personal belongings. I can't wait to bring out all of my Christmas trimmings over the holiday." - Resident of Health Center Neighborhood.

Early to Mid-Implementation Signs of Quality of Life Impact: Increased levels of resident satisfaction formally (surveys) and informally (verbally to peers and staff); Increased levels of engagement (especially in residents with chronic health conditions or dementia); Emphasis by residents and staff on relationships and community; descriptions of the organization as "home" or "family."

 Quality of Life Quantitative Findings

  • Westminster surveys older adults receiving subacute medical rehabilitation services before they return home. Westminster consistently maintains high averages on a 4 point scale (most averages at 3.6 or higher). The graph above provides instructive examples of responses to questions regarding communication. Westminster scored particularly high (3.9) on questions related to quality of life such as "Staff listened to what I said." 
  • A solid reputation for quality and community assists Westminster in consistently maintaining an occupancy rate for skilled services significantly above the national average (to be discussed in more detail in Organizational Impact findings).
  • 60% of elders enjoy private rooms.
  • 50% of Westminster elders choose to actively participate in the care of the animals that live in the community.

Quality of Life Impact Qualitative Findings

1) Create an inclusive community and "home" for residents, families, and the outside community that is constantly communicating and reinforcing resident-directed choice and focus.

  • Westminster has introduced children into the daily lives of the community, and staff are encouraged to bring their own children to visit with elders. The Pathway Home residents hosted a "Tea Party" for their care partners' children (girls wore tiaras and boys dressed up as pirates).
  • Relationships are a core of the community. This is also exemplified by residents' close relationships with community animals. Often, animals are adopted as strays into the community and then adopt a primary caregiver resident to care for them. "He was rescued from the pound. I was helping to care for him, taking him outside and keeping an eye on him. One day, I woke up and he was in my room. He never left. He chose me." - Assisted Living Resident describing meeting his loving dog.
  • "Westminster-Thurber is a very special gem in the senior healthcare ocean. There was a good sense of community." – Resident Rehab Studios. 

2) Work is organized around maintaining resident's autonomy and preferences with inclusive language supporting residents to be "known" as individuals instead of medical conditions.

  • Language has shifted from "resident" to "elder", from "CNA" to "care partner," and from "unit" to "neighborhood."
  • Elders' rooms reflect their unique life and personality in color, decoration and furnishings. "I love my room." - Resident of the Pathway Home. 
  • Westminster has eliminated overhead paging. 
  • Nurses' stations have been removed to create living space for the elders.
  • Elders in neighborhoods may enjoy food at anytime of the day or night.

3) Inter-disciplinary, cross-trained teams operate throughout the organizational structure with an objective of putting residents before task and taking advantage of synergies in the organization.

  • Care partners in the Pathway Home are universally trained and organize work and activities of daily life around residents' needs and preferences.
  • The Health Center has designated "neighborhoods" and staff and elders have participated in deciding how their neighborhoods should be decorated.
  • "I feel well cared for by a caring group of people." – Resident Rehab Studios.
  • "The reputation of WTC is that it's the best in Columbus. I agree." – Resident Rehab Studios. 

4) A relatively flat organizational structure with the resident at the top of the organizational chart is prioritized (allowing for effective communication among and between inter-disciplinary teams and residents).

  • Westminster utilizes Learning Circles as a communication tool with staff and residents. This has been a particularly effective tool in neighborhood meetings. One meeting is affectionately named, "Gabbing on Gladshire."
  • Westminster maintains consistent assignment of all staff in neighborhoods and the Pathway Home.
  • Activities have been redesigned to meet the needs, requests and interests of elders.

5) Staff-resident interaction is a priority and staff "know" residents.

  • A simple ice cream machine in the lobby allows staff to visit with elders. "Anyone can go and get ice cream at anytime, it's free and open, and there are no parameters. I've witnessed so many exciting interactions. Elders and staff just laugh and talk and share life." - Westminster staff member.
  • In interviews, residents overwhelming respond that Westminster is a "home" with "family". "This is what I need to do at this point in my life, so it's nice that it's like a 2nd home." - Resident of the Health Center.
  • "When I think of Westminster, I think of the warmness of the people." - Resident of the Pathway Home.

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