Community Meetings Deepen Connectedness and Stimulate Growth
Park Place Elder Living in Mt. Pleasant, IA has been holding community meetings with all care partners (Elders, employees, and family members) for six years now. For them, it has remained a vibrant and important gathering time for the community which helps them to grow closer and improve life throughout the home. Even after six years, they continue to grow the community meetings in new ways. In fact, they are being recognized with a 2014 Quality Program Award from the Iowa Health Care Association on October 1st for all they have accomplished with the community meetings!
Community Meetings at Park Place Elder Living (PPEL) are a monthly forum in which care partners (Elders, employees, family members, volunteers, etc) gather together to share their opinions, concerns, ideas, and wisdom on the establishment and upkeep of a vibrant human habitat and rhythm of daily life in the Elders’ home.
The community grows together by sharing the good and the bad, and celebrating them together. Deep and meaningful relationships are formed and strengthened between care partners. Education is a priority in these meetings as well. Education may be a review of policy or action plans or it may be a special guest speaker.
They experience joy together. The meeting starts by singing our song about the Eden Alternative Domains of Well Being: Identity, Growth, Autonomy, Meaning, Connectedness, Security and Joy. Important milestones such as birthdays, service anniversaries and life events are celebrated in the meetings. Sometimes treats, occasionally made with help from Elders, are served to honor these joyful occasions. Sometimes they celebrate just for the heck of it, because life itself is worth celebrating!
They engender a sense of security because the meetings are held in a tight circle, with the care partners sitting next to one another. Initially, no one felt secure enough to share their opinions let alone speak up in front of everyone else. Now people really want to share and they know that everyone who wishes to will have their voice heard. They are dedicated to putting everyday decision making into the hands of the Elders or those closest to them. They have learned that the words of an Elder have more weight, and will affect their care partners more positively than a comment from their “superiors”.
Over the past year, many of the discussions were about progress on Milestone 3 of the Eden Alternative’s Path to Mastery. Questions were addressed and completed in the meetings. It was of great importance to us that all care partners know how we were progressing and that they have a chance to share any information or stories they may have. Everyone really took ownership in the process and it was a more meaningful accomplishment for PPEL when we were recognized for mastery in Milestone 3!
The meetings are also a chance to share progress on Quality Dashboards for CQI. By reviewing quality measures in the meetings, all care partners know what they need to improve and, just as importantly, what they are doing right!
Community meetings at PPEL have benefited all care partners! Everyone is invited to community meetings and the transparency it creates helps build a sense of trust among all care partners. PPEL is building an environment where everyone feels safe, loved and important. And when someone feels safe, loved and important their potential is infinite.
How are you doing at engaging the whole care partner team in strengthening relationships and driving growth (improvement) throughout the organization? You can learn more about PPEL’s story in the fall webinar series Person-Directed Performance Improvement. They will be sharing their story in the second webinar on November 11, 2014.