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Rolling Fields wins 2009 OPTIMA Award

September 11, 2009
by submitted by Rolling Fields
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This 24-hour dining program secures Rolling Fields a spot in the OPTIMA hall of fame

Editor’s note: This month’s cover feature in our print magazine details how Rolling Fields of Conneautville, Pennsylvania, transformed their culture change journey by instituting 24-hour dining for elders. Below is the original entry form that goes into greater detail on how this skilled nursing home accomplished such a major change.

I. Introduction

Editor Maureen Hrehocik interviews Kim Moody and Cindy Godfrey, owners of Rolling Fields.

Rolling Fields is a skilled nursing home, owned and operated by the second generation of Braham family members, Kim Moody and Cindy Godfrey. Through the years, this family has stood behind the idea that Elders are a valuable asset to our community and have made each Elder that came through their doors a part of their family. Rolling Fields follows the Eden Alternative Philosophy for nursing home culture change. Our philosophy centers on building relationships and introducing variety, spontaneity and companionship into daily life.

The program Rolling Fields presented for the 2009 OPTIMA Award is our 24-hour dining service known to us as “Jump Off The Cliff.” We began work on this program in March of 2007 and fully implemented the program in December of 2008.

II. Problem

In early 2007, as Kim Moody, our Administrator and part owner, was helping pass breakfast trays to the Elders in our home, she realized that she had to wake the majority of them up in order to let them know it was time to eat. After spending the previous several years advocating for Elder choices and educating our home on culture change, she had another light bulb moment as we have come to call them. In order to truly allow Elders that choose to dine in their rooms an option of sleeping in and picking their own meal times, we would have to completely get rid of the institutional tray service. This was huge. She approached the Leadership Team and described that she felt like she was on the edge of a cliff, and the only way to completely be free to let Elders choose when they got up, ate, and spent their day was to “JUMP OFF THE CLIFF” as we named it.

For many years food complaints had been brought up in care plan meetings, Elder council meetings, Elder satisfaction surveys, DOH surveys, and the majority of our staff packed their meals. We all know that food is central to our lives especially to Elders with limited physical abilities. Nutrition affects every area of an Elder’s physical and mental well being from skin and medications to their general mood and happiness. In a traditional nursing home the entire institution must plan all schedules around the delivery of tray service. There can be no Elder freedom of choice with that much structure in your day, therefore true culture change can not take place.

III. Planning

“Jump Off The Cliff” or JOTC for short, soon became a common name to the Caregivers and Elders in our home. Leadership met to determine how and when to proceed with this enormous life-altering idea. The first rounds of educational “Jump” meetings were held for our entire staff. Each meeting was solely to communicate and put the idea out to everyone. At the completion of these first meetings we posted sign -up sheets for those interested in helping us to bring about this new way of life to our home. The first team of JOTC’ers was formed from this list under the guidance of the Leadership Team. This first group was selected from those who volunteered their time “off the clock” to work through all the scenarios and possibilities that would bring this idea to fruition.

This group began with its first official meeting in March of 2007. Meeting weekly for sessions of 2-3 hours, these volunteers took on the daunting task of sorting through all the pieces that needed changed as we made this culinary transformation. It was not long before they had indentified the need to change the way we did most everything in our home. The group spent week after week redefining job descriptions, indentifying daily chores and tasks, discussing medication management, formulating a menu based on Elder requests, developing an Elder interview and story, redesigning our pantries, and realizing the need for independent team scheduling. They toured other types of facilities to look at dining options and the possibilities that we might bring to the Elders in our home.

Ultimately, this group of 30 volunteers from each discipline and representative of each care team house-wide would pave the way with a new way of life for everyone living and working in our home. After months of working through all the scenarios on paper, they prepared for a pilot that would trial every aspect from team scheduling as a 24-hour care team to serving meals round the clock. The team recognized the need for more education not only for our remaining staff members, but our Elders and their families. Each member of the team presented a piece of the puzzle at two open house events, sharing their ideas, food samplings, and an overview of what was to come.