Parkside Homes receives state's award of excellence

Staff reporter

Empowerment means being able to make decisions.

Empowerment means being able to make choices.

Empowerment means eating breakfast at 10 a.m. Exercising at 3 p.m. Living life to its fullest.

That's what residents at Parkside Homes are given.


Just like home.

And now, at long last, the long-term care facility at Hillsboro is being recognized by the Kansas Department on Aging and given a PEAK Award.

The awards are given to those facilities that do not follow the institutional model of care but more person-centered care, giving residents more control over their activities and schedules.

Parkside was one of 10 nursing homes in the state to be recognized.

"Breakfast is served to residents individually and residents are given menu choices," Judy Wineland, administrator, said. "They can choose what they want and when they want to eat it."

The same choices apply for activities. The facility's activity calendar is based on what the residents want to do and when they want to do it.

Parkside was constructed in 1960 and opened in 1962, offering a 69-bed long-term care facility.

During the years, additional buildings and services have been added — a 50-unit assisted living facility, and most recently in 2006, two 12-room houses.

Many changes have occurred in nursing homes, changing the appearance and setup of the facility from an institutional setting to more like a home.

Gone are the nurses' stations and annoying beeping from call lights. Instead nurses' aides work from kiosks or nurses' rooms. Pagers alert aides of residents in need of care.

Hallways are painted with colors other than institutional white. And now at Parkside, there are no shared rooms. All rooms are private.

"It used to be about 50 percent private," Wineland said.

Having a private room, residents are allowed to decorate and bring furniture from home because this is their home not an institution.

Curtains adorn the windows instead of bare blinds. An heirloom comforter lays on the bed with pictures of family and friends hanging on the walls.

Just like home.

Smaller households are located in the traditional nursing home, Lu Janzen, chief executive officer, said, which give residents more individual attention by staff.

Cross-training is important, Wineland said, with housekeeping assisting nurses' aides and vice versa, maintaining a team attitude.

Dining areas in the traditional skilled care facility have smaller tables for more intimate settings.

A main kitchen with a dietitian basically prepares all of the meals. At the two houses, aides heat meals as necessary and serves them to residents.

"The kitchen typically is the focus in a home," Wineland said, and when guests and residents walk into the two houses, they step into the kitchen first for that reason.

Residents can sit at a table in the kitchen area and watch aides prepare their meals. Food is served on plates instead of trays.

Just like home.

Floors are carpeted and the decor is warm and inviting with a living room and a fireplace.

Residents' safety is important with outside doors requiring codes to be opened.

"It's for their safety which alerts staff if someone walks in to the building," Wineland said.

Better than home.

In the new houses, each room has a walk-in shower to reduce the risk of residents falling.

Better than home.

So what is the PEAK Award?

There are four areas that are considered — resident choices, staff empowerment, community involvement, and environment.

A staff wellness program and education is offered to keep personnel healthy and fit.

The facility was chosen for its programs and attitude of providing person-centered services, which means less institutional and more of a homey setting.

The award recently was presented to Parkside with resident Ron Freeman accepting it.

"The department on aging wants all nursing homes to move in this direction," Wineland said.

Considered to be a continuing-care retirement community, Parkside Homes prides itself in providing total care to elderly residents with independent living, assisted living/intermediate care, and skilled nursing apartments, so residents can "age in place."