Nursing Homes And The Lutheran Home For The Aging Essay

This essay has a total of 2796 words and 13 pages.

Nursing Homes And The Lutheran Home For The Aging

Nursing Homes and The Lutheran Home for the Aging


Recently, I had the pleasure of having a personal tour of the Lutheran
Home for the Aging located in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. I chose this area of study
because it happened to be convenient in location for me as well as easily
accessible to a source of an interviewee that I felt comfortable with and who is
also very comfortable with myself. I find it much easier to conduct an
interview and get more relevant information from a source that I've already had
former contact with and also established a friendship with. I interviewed, age
48, who was a social worker at the Lutheran Home for the Aging for 12 years
until she changed career paths that would benefit herself more as well as her
family. graduated from the University of with a Social Work degree and is
presently pursing a two year Dental Hygiene degree(Associate Degree). She
explained to me that at the time she was hired at the nursing home it was not
necessary for social workers to have to take a test in order to obtain a license
and a position in the social work field, a position that she held for twelve
years explained to me how she was "Grandfathered" into her social worker
position and did not have to take a test for a license until it was required
after years of responsible and professional work in the Home for the Aging.
The Lutheran Home for the Aging was founded in 1906 by John C. Koch,
with the motivation and desire to promote residential care for his fellow aging
Lutheran constituents. Along with the supportive interests of other Lutherans,
he purchased approximately eight acres of land. A large house on the property
served as the Home's first building and within a year of its founding, it had
reached a capacity of twenty members. Today the same desire and motivation has
increased the residential population to 313 members, age 65 and over. The
founders of the Home did more than provide a place to live for the Aging. They
founded a tradition of excellence and quality care that continues even to this
day. The mission of the home is to "take a leadership role in resident
satisfaction by providing superior services in a Christian atmosphere that meet
or exceed the expectations of each resident and his or her family" ("Lutheran
Home for the Aging" 1). Through the years, with renovations and expansions, the
facility has evolved into a nursing facility providing skilled nursing care and
related therapeutic care to all the residents 24 hours a day. The Lutheran Home
for the Aging is a non-profit organization and is a recognized service
organization of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. The Home is governed by The
Board of Directors, which consists of men and women from various congregations
located throughout the Milwaukee area. They constantly review and evaluate the
quality of care in relationship to the purpose of the Home and are also in
control of delegating a responsible and competent administrator who is the
leader and manager of the Home.
There is a full array of highly trained and competent staff that keep
the Lutheran Home for the Aging running smoothly and up to standard. As I
researched what quality nursing homes should offer to those in need of a variety
of daily and sometimes complex assistance, I was surprised that this Home for
the Aging met most, if not all the criteria of a "model" nursing home. Some of
the services offered include personal , dietary, therapeutic, social,
recreational and nursing services. There are also meals, laundry facilities,
housekeeping, and 24-hour medical services provided by professional nursing care
and attending physicians. In addition, as most non-profit organizations homes,
there are religious services and counseling programs provided. Some of the
daily responsibilities and individual aspects of the diverse staff include the
following:

· The activities coordinator is a trained therapist or someone designated to
help and assist residents' individual needs and create programs that provide
recreation, entertainment and therapy for the residents.

· The social service staff consists of social workers, counselors, and , in
some nursing homes, a psychologist who assist in coping of the emotional and
psychological aspects of aging, the transitional problems that may arise when
first entering an aging home, and daily problems and frustrations.

· A food service director oversees nursing homes' daily meal program. Many
homes including the Lutheran Home for the Aging, have a Dietitian that meet the
individual daily requirements of each resident, whether therapeutic diet or
normal, and try to ensure that meals are appetizing also.

· The Pastoral care staff consists of ordained, professional, or lay persons
trained to meet the spiritual needs of residents through worship, study, and
counseling. At the Lutheran Home for the Aging there is a Chaplain on hand that
conducts Sunday services, Bible classes, and directs a support group for family
members that meets and discusses the difficulties of adjusting to the separation
of their loved ones from the family.

· Volunteers and members of the community assist the staff by spending many
hours interacting with the residents and helping them as well as the staff
perform their daily activities. There are often groups that are well known for
their participation with the people at the Aging Home and continually come back
year after year to help and visit the new friends they have met through their
volunteer work.

Some original and surprising activities and therapies were discovered
during my research that not only entertain residents, but also rehabilitates
those with disabilities or mental deficiencies. Some therapies I found
interesting were the Pet, Music and Art therapies that are common in Aging Homes.
The Music therapy consists of a musician that sings with the residents several
times daily for entertainment purposes and is found also to be a good source of
rehabilitation for those who have slower motor skills, the easily confused
(cognitively deficient), and people that have trouble remembering things
(Alzheimer's patients). Art therapy gives the elderly a chance to paint, do
craft work, woodworking, and explore dance and drama if interested. Pet therapy
consists of either "live- in" pets or a hired person that brings animals in to
enhance the feeling of companionship among the residents. The Lutheran Home for
the Aging has a cat, iguana, several parakeets, and a Golden Retriever named
Pawlet that s hare the home with the residents. There is also an
Intergenerational Program that involves the Child Day Care facility located
within the Home for the Aging. The child day care was built in 1991 and consists
mainly of employees children, but is also open to the public when space is
available. The children learn to benefit from the social interaction with the
residents and are included in some of the therapies and activities such as going
to the zoo, baseball games, movies , malls, and even Bible study once a week.
The residents have the opportunity to have the delightful presence of the
children and be involved in their care also by reading to them and participating
in activities especially designed for the children.
Many nursing homes, including the Lutheran Home for the Aging , are non-
profit organizations which have long been recognized as having a tradition of
serving the needs of older persons. Non- profit organizations are usually
community-based agencies and sponsored by religious organizations and fraternal
groups. As mentioned earlier, theses homes are governed by a volunteer board of
trustees who are committed to caring for the needs of older people. An important
aspect of non- profit organizations is that any income generated is put back
into the facility to either improve or expand the services they provide. As in
the case of the Lutheran Home for the Aging, the generated income from resident
pay and contributions has been used in expansion of the Home, the building of
the Child Day Care, and the coordination of special activities for the residents.
The main concern in non - profit organization is the continuum of care that
offers many options to the elderly residents of the facilities. The range of
offerings can include those who need somewhat simple care to those who need a
high level of care.
The nursing care facilities consist mainly of long- term facilities that
integrate custodial care with nursing, psychological, social, and rehabilitative
services on a continuing basis. At the time of admission, each individual's
potential and problems are evaluated and their care and treatment is designed to
their individual needs. Regardless of the care needed and the advancements made
in therapies, nursing homes enable residents to capitalize on their strengths
and compensate for their weaknesses in an atmosphere designed to look as home-
like as possible. Nursing care facilities are licensed by the state and are
overlooked by the federal government. An interesting program that I found at the
Lutheran Home for the Aging was the Interdisciplinary Team or often called
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