Changing the Reputation of Nursing Homes

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According to Sampsell (2003), “76 million baby boomers are getting ready to enter long-term care (LTC) facilities over the next 25 years” (p. 41). For seniors who need intensive medical care, nursing homes have served as the primary provider to those older adults who “have chronic health problems which are often accompanied by physical impairments and functional limitation” (Luskey and Ingman, 1994, p. 265). In anticipation of this increasing demand for services, there are industry visionaries who are working to change the way the public, the consumer, and the staff within long-term care view nursing homes by implementing “nontraditional principles to attract new residents” (Sampsell, 2003, p. 41). Overcoming the public’s perception of nursing homes, however, may prove to be a greater challenge than securing funding for these new facilities. A majority of the elderly and the public view nursing homes as “the last resort for older people” (Nay, 1998, p. 401). This paper will examine two of those alternative long-term care concepts, the Eden Alternative and the Pioneer Network, and report some common perceptions that society has held regarding nursing home care. Further, this paper will discuss the problems that have resulted in implementing these innovations for staff and residents.

Common Perceptions

The AARP (2007, Capacity) reported in “2004 there were 16,100 certified nursing homes in the United States.” While most people recognize that nursing homes play an important role in addressing the needs of older adults who need advanced care, a majority of people have negative opinions about the quality of life that residents experience during institutionalization, as suggested by Wiener (2003). According to a survey conducted by Th...

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...3, December). The promise, practice, and problems of the Eden Alternative: One facilities learning experience. Nursing Homes Long Term Care Management 52(12), 41-44.

Schoeneman, K. (n.d.). The language of culture change: Mayday. Retrieved March 11, 2011 from http://www.pioneernetwork.net/CultureChange/Language/

The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, Kaiser Family Foundation & Harvard School of Public Health (2001, October). National Survey on Nursing Homes, (conducted April-June 2001) Retrieved March 10, 2011 from http://www.kff.org/kaiserpolls/upload/Kaiser-NewsHour-National-Survey-on-Nursing-Homes-Highlights-and-Chartpack.pdf

Wiener, J.M. (2003). An assessment of strategies for improving quality of care in nursing homes. The Gerontologist 43(Special Issue II), pp 19-27. Retrieved March 10, 2011 from http://www.geroservices.com/downloads/pdf/Assessment_of_Strategies.pdf
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