Connecting Students And Elders Creates A Caring Environment

August 21, 2015
The Eden Alternative

This post was written and submitted by the team at St. Luke’s Home in Tuscon, AZ.

An important component to finding successful strategies to keep Elders living vital, independent lives is to train health care professionals in person-directed care for those with multiple complex chronic conditions, and, while working in highly functioning interprofessional teams, to be skilled and comfortable in providing genuine care that supports quality-of-life and independence,

As an academic partner of the Arizona Health Sciences Center and the Arizona Center on Aging, St. Luke’s Home provides an innovative Assisted Living setting, providing Elder-directed wellness and health promotion opportunities for students.

The St. Luke’s Home community provided me with an example that policy and procedures play a critical role in receiving great care as an Elder. The more exposure people have to a great place like this one, the more advocates for good elder care and possibly Eden Alternative model care homes will be created to push for a change in the way elders are treated and viewed in society. – Student Volunteer

Activities around health promotion topics such as resilience, nutrition, oral health, foot and skin care, and communicating well with hearing loss are mutually decided upon and crafted by faculty, students from Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, Medicine, and other disciplines and Elders. They include informal health promotion presentations that inform and educate residents about important aging-related health topics, monthly screening clinics that provide student healthcare teams an opportunity to build interprofessional geriatric skills, and social events providing engagement between Elders, students, and care partners.

Importantly, the program gives Elders a chance to care for the students and empowers them to provide meaningful support:

Very nice and very obliging. They answered my questions. I always like to help the students. – St. Luke’s Elder

Knowledge gained thorough these interactions with the students supports Elder self-determination and enables them to raise questions to their healthcare providers and make their own informed healthcare decisions. Elders receive health care education, and the opportunity to mentor, share life experiences, and socialize while influencing future providers of Elder healthcare. The students benefit and contribute while learning aging-related team-based practice skills, and gain experience delivering person-directed care in an underserved community.

1 Comment. Leave new

I sure appreciate this example of meaningful relationship building in care partnership. What a benefit to the future of this work to include this in training. Meetings like this could be a regular part of a community culture.

There are so many levels of this journey — for instance, I imagine the people offering services choosing words that emphasize enjoyment and possibility, and avoiding any sense of ‘ought’ or ‘not good enough now.’

Bravo! Looking forward to learning more ~

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