OUR ANNUAL TRIBUTE TO PEOPLE WHO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
It is a privilege to recognize those in the industry whose advocacy, attention to detail, innovation, leadership, and understanding serve as an inspiration to others in long term care. This year's five honorees have set new standards in the quality of resident care and lifestyle. We are sure their mark will be an indelible one, and that their impact will continue to be felt for a long time.
MARK H. BEERS
He made a list, checked it twice
"I GOT THE BUG TO INVESTIGATE THE PROBLEM of inappropriate drug usage among the elderly back in 1987," recalls Mark H. Beers, MD, executive director of Geriatrics geriatrics (jĕrēă`trĭks), the branch of medicine concerned with conditions and diseases of the aged. Many disabilities in old age are caused by or related to the deterioration of the circulatory system (see arteriosclerosis), e.g. and Clinical Literature and editor-in-chief of The Merck Manual for Merck and Co. Inc., Whitehouse Station, N.J. "While researching the use of psychoactive psychoactive /psy·cho·ac·tive/ (-ak´tiv) psychotropic.
Affecting the mind or mental processes. Used of a drug. medications in nursing homes for my fellowship project in geriatrics," he explains, "I immediately became fascinated by how problematic this issue was and by how much a person could do--with the right provisions--to remedy the situation."
Since then, Dr. Beers has conducted a mountain of research on using medications safely in the elderly and developed a nationally recognized tool that has been instrumental in protecting the well being of seniors around the country. "When I first got into this area," he notes, "I discovered there were no good criteria regarding which drugs are considered most harmful to older adults." During his investigation, Dr. Beers brought together a panel of experts who compiled a list of medications that they believed were most troublesome for the elderly, a list that he subsequently transformed into what is known today as the "Beers Criteria The Beers Criteria (or Beers List) provide a list of medications that are generally considered inappropriate when given to elderly people because these medications may pose more risk than benefit. ."
This highly acclaimed medical checklist considers approximately three dozen classes of medications that pose a risk to seniors and includes suggestions for safer alternatives. These guidelines have been used by numerous researchers for evaluating the status of prescribing to the elderly, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Dr. Beers. "Merck-Medco Managed Care, the pharmacy benefit manager subsidiary of Merck, also has built this list into the computerized drug utilization review drug utilization review Health insurance A study of drug prescriptions to evaluate appropriateness and cost-effectiveness of drug therapy systems it uses for more than 9 million patients over age 65," he adds.
But the usefulness of the "Beers Criteria" didn't end there. A few years ago, HCFA HCFA
Health Care Financing Administration
n.pr See Health Care Financing Administration. proposed that Dr. Beers' list could be used to help the government monitor appropriate prescribing habits in nursing homes around the country. "Prior to this, HCFA had been evaluating only the use of certain psychoactive drugs Psychoactive drugs
Any drug that affects the mind or behavior. There are five main classes of psychoactive drugs: opiates and opioids (e.g. heroin and methadone); stimulants (e.g. cocaine, nicotine), depressants (e.g. ," he says. Today this checklist is the heart of a HCFA survey system used nationwide to assess appropriate drug usage in nursing home facilities and to provide key information back to prescribers about safer drug alternatives.
To those who use the "Beers Criteria," and to the elderly protected through its use, Dr. Beers is a Santa Claus Santa Claus: see Nicholas, Saint.
jolly, gift-giving figure who visits children on Christmas Eve. [Christian Tradition: NCE, 1937]
See : Christmas
Santa Claus of sorts. His tool is a precious gift that has inspired the government, professional societies, and the public at large to work harder to ensure drugs are used appropriately among our senior citizens. In other words Adv. 1. in other words - otherwise stated; "in other words, we are broke"
put differently , Dr. Beers adds, "my list stimulates people to take the time to check that medicines are not being overused or underused and that the very best ones are selected."
Dr. Beers continues to consult with groups on numerous research projects, including one that highlights relationships between medical conditions See carpal tunnel syndrome, computer vision syndrome, dry eyes and deep vein thrombosis. in the elderly and the drugs they use. He also is working with outside academics to update the "Beers Criteria" for the third time since its inception. "The success of this list makes me very happy," Dr. Beers admits. "It means a lot of older people out there are getting the benefit of medical therapy while avoiding drug toxicity. Isn't that what it's all about?"
Government guardian of nursing homes
BACK IN 1995, THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS issued the toughest nursing home regulations in the history of Medicare and Medicaid Medicare and Medicaid
U.S. government programs in effect since 1966. Medicare covers most people 65 or older and those with long-term disabilities. Part A, a hospital insurance plan, also pays for home health visits and hospice care. . While these reforms have led to measurable improvements in the quality of care provided to nursing home residents in this country, the Clinton Administration Noun 1. Clinton administration - the executive under President Clinton
executive - persons who administer the law believed this story could not end there. In July 1998, the Health Care Financing Administration Health Care Financing Administration,
n.pr department in the U.S. agency of Health and Human Services responsible for the oversight of the Medicaid and Medicare benefit programs, including guidelines, payment, and coverage policies. (HCFA) launched the Nursing Home Quality Initiative and the driving force behind this project ... Nancy-Ann DeParle, administrator of HCFA at the time.
"When I came aboard as administrator, the President and I addressed his concern that while nursing home care was better than before, it still wasn't as good as it should be across the board," recalls DeParle. "Fewer residents were being placed in restraints and the use of sedating drugs had diminished, for example, but a significant number of facilities remained noncompliant for long periods of time."
With DeParle behind the wheel, the Nursing Home Quality Initiative was set in motion. Thanks to this multifaceted mul·ti·fac·et·ed
Having many facets or aspects. See Synonyms at versatile.
Adj. 1. multifaceted - having many aspects; "a many-sided subject"; "a multifaceted undertaking"; "multifarious interests"; "the multifarious program, the Administration has worked hard with the states to improve their nursing home inspection systems and to crack down on facilities that repeatedly violate health and safety rules. Furthermore, consumers now have access to comparative information about nursing home quality via survey results published on the Internet. The inspection process also has broadened its focus on prevention of bedsores Bedsores Definition
Bedsores are also called decubitus ulcers, pressure ulcers, or pressure sores. These tender or inflamed patches develop when skin covering a weight-bearing part of the body is squeezed between bone and another body part, or a bed, , malnutrition, and resident abuse.
As part of this initiative, DeParle and coworkers at HCFA conducted a study this past summer revealing "the first definitive data on the strong relationship between quality nursing home care and the quality and level of staffing," she contends. "Additionally, we worked with industry leaders and nursing home representatives to determine how to improve employee training levels and other aspects of their jobs." According to DeParle, this investigation may be the first step toward an official minimum staffing level requirement in nursing homes. She adds, "Now it's up to the Bush Administration to decide if this research, and other elements of our quality initiative, warrant further attention."
DeParle also has been cited for her integral role in extending the life of the Medicare Trust Fund as part of the 1997 Balanced Budget Balanced budget
A budget in which the income equals expenditure. See: budget.
A budget in which the expenditures incurred during a given period are matched by revenues. Act (BBA BBA
Bachelor of Business Administration ). She was heavily involved in negotiating the final agreement for extension of this fund and responsible for its implementation at HCFA. While DeParle is well aware that many folks in the nursing home industry believe the BBA was a bad thing--as it included reductions in payment to virtually every health care provider in the country--she argues to the contrary. "The new prospective payment system for Medicare was tough medicine ... many nursing homes saw their reimbursements reduced," she admits. "But these changes were absolutely necessary as the Medicare trust fund was scheduled for bankruptcy in 1999. Today it is solvent until about 2030." What's more, DeParle says, Congress and the Administration made some adjustments to the system in 1999 and 2000 to ensure adequate payments to these facilities, especially for staffing.
DeParle's recent departure from HCFA has freed up her time to assume perhaps her most challenging job to date-that of full-time mom for a 22-month-old and a newborn. Will she ever return to government to help further the cause for improved public health? Only time will tell. Nevertheless, she will long be remembered for her steadfast dedication to improving life for members of our graying population.
ROSE MARIE This article is about the actress. For other persons of the same name, see Rose Marie (disambiguation).
Rose Marie (born August 15, 1923) is an actress who had a career as a child star under the name Baby Rose Marie FAGAN
Transforming the culture of aging to holistic care
THE LIGHT BULB WENT ON IN ROSE MARIE Fagan's head back in 1992 during a nursing home visit for the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program at LIFESPAN, an organization that provides direct advocacy and care services to older adults in the Greater Rochester, N.Y., area.
"I had never been in a nursing home before," Fagan recalls. "I was shocked by what I saw in terms of resident inactivity, apparent depression, and minimal social interaction between residents and caregivers who were working frantically to do the right thing." On that eye-opening day, Fagan decided "there had to be better futures for people who have contributed so much to their communities, their countries, and their families" and that she would do everything in her power to recreate nursing homes as places for living, rather than for decline.
This personal promise sparked a series of Rochester community forums, also fueled by the new OBRA regulations, which brought together providers, regulators, advocates, residents, and family members to talk about fresh approaches to nursing home life. In planning these forums, Fagan discovered other people from around the country also working to recreate nursing homes. Eventually, these visionaries created the Nursing Home Pioneers, a national grass-roots movement to change the culture in these homes.
The first meeting of this group took place in Rochester in March 1997. Fagan received a grant to coordinate this gathering of the four founding Pioneer experts and 30 other forward-looking leaders. She also co-authored the widely disseminated final report of that historic occasion, "conveying the important message that what anchors us all together is a common set of values and principles," she says. "We vowed then and there to keep searching for kindred spirits Kindred Spirits may refer to:
Indeed, this pledge has paid off. In Rochester, August 1999, the first national Nursing Home Pioneers conference, "Frustration to Pride," convened 365 participants from 23 states. The conference focused on transforming nursing homes from a medical to a more holistic care model. "We asked people to envision care that addressed the mind, body, and soul of residents and to recognize the importance of treating people as individuals who could reach their highest practicable level in a homelike setting," Pagan explains.
When the group's focus broadened from nursing homes to the whole continuum of long term care, its name was changed to the Pioneer Network. Its mission: to advocate and facilitate deep system change and transformation in the culture of aging in America.
As current director of LIFESPAN's Nursing Home Culture Change Project and executive director and primary spokesperson for the Pioneer Network, Fagan continues to share her ideas about nursing home culture change with people coast to coast. "It's imperative that we create a meaningful role for older Americans, value their contributions in all living arrangements, ensure their autonomy, and honor their 'personhood' wherever they live for as long as they live," she concludes.
NEIL ROBERTS Neil Roberts may refer to:
Rocking the boat in the name of quality
NEIL ROBERTS WAS ONCE ASKED, "IF YOU could snap your fingers and make one wish come true that would change the quality of care in nursing homes, what would you wish for?"
His response: "That everyone would volunteer to work in a nursing home two hours a week for 10 weeks in a row. Only then," he contends, "would people begin to value quality care, understand what quality is all about, and recognize that quality is alive and well in many nursing homes around America."
Neil Roberts has worked for Wesley Health Care Center Inc., a skilled continuum of care nursing facility in Saratoga Springs Saratoga Springs, resort and residential city (1990 pop. 25,001), Saratoga co., E N.Y.; inc. as a village 1826, as a city 1915. Skidmore College is the largest source of employment, but the city also has light manufacturing. , N.Y., since its inception 28 years ago. From day one, he has become increasingly interested in educating the industry about true quality indicators and the importance of high-quality care in long term facilities. Today, as CEO/administrator of Wesley and chairman of the board of the New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of Association of Homes and Services for the Aged (NYAHSA NYAHSA New York Association of Homes and Services for the Aging ), Roberts takes his message on the road, touting the importance of resident care beyond baseline necessities and the need for better quality measures. "Cleanliness, healthy food, good pain management, proper use of restraints and medications, etc., are essential elements of good care," he notes. Without proper relationships between staff and residents and families, however, genuine quality is in danger."
Much of Roberts' public speaking revolves around his concern over the current HCFA survey process, which he feels not only fails to identify quality but also threatens the very essence of quality by undermining staff morale. "Sure, the process identifies errors," he says, "but with the assumption that the absence of errors indicates residents are receiving quality care." He continues, "Once errors are found, we need to ask the right questions." Roberts believes the current system only penalizes and never rewards. "Yet what I see, by and large, are people of good will trying to do a good job." Negative reinforcement, as a regular diet, is extremely counterproductive, he adds.
While Roberts says he's not being disrespectful dis·re·spect·ful
Having or exhibiting a lack of respect; rude and discourteous.
disre·spect of the Government, he believes "HCFA and its surveyors are taking the wrong approach," and through his public speaking hopes, eventually, to get the "powers that be" to consider revamping the system. In the meantime Adv. 1. in the meantime - during the intervening time; "meanwhile I will not think about the problem"; "meantime he was attentive to his other interests"; "in the meantime the police were notified"
meantime, meanwhile , Roberts told CLTC CLTC Certified in Long-Term Care
CLTC Community Long Term Care
CLTC Chapter Leadership Training Conference he will continue rocking the boat--growing knowledge among members of the NYAHSA and promoting best practices through direct advocacy with legislators, training programs, the Internet, and any other tool that proves valuable, he says, "all in cooperation with other caring, innovative people in the industry."
In a nutshell, Roberts says, "HCFA's survey process measures the word 'nursing' but doesn't even scratch the surface of the word 'home,' the part of care that matters most to residents and their families. That's the kind of care we provide at Wesley," he asserts, "and the kind of care that our older or chronically challenged loved ones loved ones npl → seres mpl queridos
loved ones npl → proches mpl et amis chers
loved ones love npl deserve as they require long term attention."
A spiritual leader for seniors
AS A RABBI AND FOUNDER OF THE SPIRITUAL Eldering Institute in Boulder, Colo., Zalman Schacter-Shalomi has had ample opportunity to share his personal philosophy with others and to help seniors in the community appreciate its important message. "Every life matters immensely," he says. "Every well-lived and completed life helps in healing the world."
A multi-faith organization, the Spiritual Eldering Institute is dedicated to recognizing the spiritual dimensions of aging and conscious living, endorsing the importance of one's "golden years Noun 1. golden years - the time of life after retirement from active work
time of life - a period of time during which a person is normally in a particular life state ," and helping people harvest their life's wisdom to transform it into a legacy for future generations. Through vehicles such as workshops, conferences, books, and enlightenment from strong role models, elders are taught to savor the positives that accompany their advanced years (e.g., personal mellowing, increased spirituality, intelligence through life's lessons) and to accept negative aspects of aging, such as physical and mental frailty frailty Vox populi A state of delicacy or weakness which, which encompasses age-related fragility, in particular osteoporosis. See FICSIT, Osteoporosis. , and rejection or apathy from the community.
The impetus to establish the Institute came to the rabbi as he approached the "autumn years" of his own life. "We live in a youth culture where most people entering the final chapters of their lives are essentially invisible to the rest of the world," he told CLTC. Furthermore, while models mapping out the best routes to personal and spiritual satisfaction are available in abundance to people throughout their younger and middle-aged years, he continues, "such guidance is, for the most part, unattainable to the elderly community."
Eventually the rabbi realized the increased sedentary lifestyle
Sedentary lifestyle is a type of lifestyle most commonly found in modern (particularly Western) cultures. It is characterized by sitting or remaining inactive for most of the day (for example, in an office. accompanying his advanced years gave him the opportunity to extend his consciousness and to call upon more contemplative means for personal contentment. "I began gathering meditative med·i·ta·tive
Characterized by or prone to meditation. See Synonyms at pensive.
medi·ta strategies from numerous sources and meeting with small groups of friends to share life review, recontextualize past events, and come to terms with mortality." Thanks to the rabbi's hard work, keen insight, and altruistic al·tru·ism
1. Unselfish concern for the welfare of others; selflessness.
2. Zoology Instinctive cooperative behavior that is detrimental to the individual but contributes to the survival of the species. nature, the Institute has been available to members since the late 1980s. While the group's objectives might sound overly profound on the surface, the rabbi believes this organization has been a wonderful support system for the elderly, all of whom, according to the rabbi, "have special powers to confer blessings."
In addition to his affiliation with the Institute, the rabbi is recognized for his work in his past position as holder of the Wisdom Chair for Naropa University Naropa University is a private, liberal arts university in Boulder, Colorado, which was founded in 1974 by Chögyam Trungpa. It is one of the few major accredited Buddhist-inspired universities in North America. , also in Boulder. This post afforded him numerous other chances to accentuate ac·cen·tu·ate
tr.v. ac·cen·tu·at·ed, ac·cen·tu·at·ing, ac·cen·tu·ates
1. To stress or emphasize; intensify: the importance of spiritually focused contemplative education Contemplative education is a philosophy of higher education that infuses learning with the experience of awareness, insight and compassion for oneself and others through the practice of meditation and contemplative disciplines, such as ikebana, t’ai chi ch’uan and and practice for the elderly to attain optimum peace of mind.
Nancy E. Trotto is a freelance writer based in Totowa, NJ.