Lutheran SeniorLife Renews Commitment to Resident-Centered Care

Published: Thursday, August 14, 2014

Since the first shovel-full of dirt was lifted, residents at Passavant Community have anxiously awaited the completion of their new community center. On June 4, some of them stood side by side with Laura Roy, executive director, to cut the ribbon and officially dedicate the Abundant Life Center.

“Today we renew our commitment and passion for abundant life,” Roy said, thanking the many residents, staff, families and friends of Passavant Community and Lutheran SeniorLife who helped the vision of a life-affirming, life-giving home become a reality.

Care in the Abundant Life Center abandons the stereotype of a hospital-like nursing home, and replaces it with small, comfortable ‘neighborhoods’ made up of private rooms. This national Culture Change evolution, which is being adopted throughout the Lutheran SeniorLife system, is based on person-directed values and practices, with a focus on resident choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.

“(The building) gives you an appearance and a feeling that this is a home, not an institution,” said Passavant resident Ernie Schindehette. The Rev. Kurt Kusserow, Bishop of the Southwest PA Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America agrees, “There are opportunities and hopefulness around every corner.”

The dedication and opening of the Abundant Life Center is just part of a repositioning effort at both Passavant Community and St. John Community in Mars, which includes St. John Specialty Care Center, RoseCrest Assisted Living with Memory Support and Overbrook Pointe independent living apartments. The goal of this effort is to highlight their Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) status, where residents can move throughout the continuum of care offered on campus – from independent living, to short term care, to assisted living or personal care, to nursing when and if it becomes necessary.

Overbrook Pointe residents Marilyn and Earl Campbell made living at a CCRC a top priority when making the decision about where they wanted to live out their retirement years. They wanted the peace of mind of knowing that if one of them was no longer able to live independently, they could still receive care in a location that was convenient.

“It was getting tough for Marilyn to cook,” Earl said. “So we started looking around for a place where she didn’t have to worry about that, and Overbook Pointe was perfect for us. We are confident that if we ever need it we will be taken care of at St. John. They give really great care there.”

Since moving into Overbook Pointe last October, the Campbell’s said they have watched a few of their fellow residents need various forms of care at St. John, including short-term rehabilitation. “We are a family here,” Marilyn said. “Everybody takes care of each other. But when one of us needs care at St. John, it’s great to be just around the corner so that we can go and visit. It means a lot to us all.”

The leadership teams and staff at both St. John Community and Passavant Community are taking part in the Culture Change movement, where care is based on person-directed values and practices, with a focus on resident choice, dignity, respect, self-determination and purposeful living.

“Culture change is a topic of much conversation among senior living providers across the nation,” said David Fenoglietto, president and CEO of Lutheran SeniorLife, “and the core value of that culture change is to keep the resident, the patient, the client at the center of all programs and services. Staff and leadership have made a renewed commitment to that culture change principle. It is at the center of all we do at Lutheran SeniorLife.”

Pictured at right are (l to r) residents Reinhold “Dutch” Weber, Nadine Simon, Joreen Moehring, Janet Sniezek, Mary Lou Neff with Laura Roy, (center) executive director of Passavant Community.

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