Karen Read, MSN, RN Nurse Educator
Karen Read, MSN, RN
Nurse Educator

By: Karen Read, MSN, RN, Nurse Educator, Senior Living

If you live in, work at or visit any of our Liberty Lutheran Senior Communities, (Artman, Paul’s Run Retirement Community, The Village at Penn State, and Mary J. Drexel) chances are you have heard or read about “culture change” and may be wondering what it is. In long term living, culture change is a transformational organizational shift from the institutional medical model of care to a “person centered” model that emphasizes individual choice and recognizes that each individual is unique and must be celebrated. At Liberty Lutheran Senior Communities we call our culture change journey the “Liberty Way”.

The Gold Standard of Elder Care

Liberty Lutheran is committed to the principles of person-centered or person-directed care, which is considered the gold standard of elder care. We began our culture change journey over three years ago, but not before investing much study, education and organizational reflection. Transforming our organization from a traditional institutional long term care facility to a personalized home for each resident is no simple task. It involves changes in philosophy, environment and organizational structure. Understanding that this transformation of our communities requires expertise and “lived experience,” Liberty Lutheran engages the services of the Action Pact consultant group, a nationally known change agent in the field of person centered care to be our guides.

The Liberty Way Holistic Approach

Karen Read collaborates with Brittany Smith, Medication Technician and Nina Williams, LPN.
Karen Read collaborates with Brittany Smith, Medication Technician and Nina Williams, LPN.

The Liberty Way journey, although three years young, is embedded in the daily work life of our staff, who along with our residents, enjoy consistent assignments. Household coordinators work collaboratively with household nurses meeting each individual’s physical and, as importantly, the psycho-social needs of our elders, honoring life experiences, choices, routines and the natural rhythms and spontaneity of daily life. This holistic approach has proved to have several important health outcomes: improved appetites, increased activity levels and more effective pain relief. Working in this environment, staff experience increased job satisfaction and increased staff retention.

The Liberty Way is a journey, and although there may be hurdles to jump along the way, Liberty Lutheran believes that this necessary journey is central to adding richness, meaning, purpose, joy and choice to the lives of our elders.

This is one of many stories featured in the Fall 2013 edition of At Liberty, Liberty Lutheran’s newsletter. You can give the full digital version of At Liberty by clicking here.