St. Andrew’s Place in Conway is taking part a statewide program that will build on current efforts to make "person-centered care" a reality in Arkansas’ nursing homes.

The concept is simple but challenging: Give residents more of a voice in daily decision-making, and strengthen relationships to make life in the home more like life outside one. 

For several years, long-term care has been undergoing a transformation, referred to in the long-term care community as "culture change." The goal is to increase resident’s involvement in decisions that affect their care, daily schedules and lifestyles to be more similar to their prior life outside the nursing home.

With an approach based on a number of culture change concepts, such as the Eden Alternative, the Greenhouse Model, and the Pioneer Network, the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care’s Arkansas Innovative Performance Program (AIPP) will work alongside a selected group of homes to assist with the application of these concepts. 

AIPP, in partnership with the state’s Office of Long Term Care and the Arkansas Health Care Association, is working with 10 nursing homes and one assisted living facility across the state for the second year of this intensive culture change program. The focus will be to expand the boundaries of how we define culture change, to go beyond a physical model of the building to the acceptance of a remodel of the heart within the staff.

One of the concepts of culture change is consistently assigning staff members to care for the same group of residents, so they can strengthen relationships and immediately recognize changes in residents’ health or behavior. 

"We want to allow residents to make more choices about their daily lives, creating a home-like environment," explained Betty Bennett, AIPP’s program director. "The nursing home industry and the nation realize that the current model must adapt to meet the expectations of our residents and their families. We have to meet both the physical and the emotional needs of our residents." 

"From our culture change homes, our goal is to develop training and resources that can be used by other nursing homes throughout the state to make culture change widespread," said Carol Shockley, director of the Office of Long Term Care. 

The first phase of thE program began Sept. 1, With the introduction of the second phase, both AIPP and our stakeholders are excited about the opportunity to continue this meaningful work for another year with St. Andrew’s Place in Conway and 10 other homes throughout the state.