Written by: Cathleen Lindgren, RN ~ Clinical Educator & Program Specialist
Several years before Grandma Jean died, she and her husband, Grandpa Gene, prepaid for their funeral expenses. As they aged, they talked about selling their house at some point and when Grandma became more forgetful, they talked about it with a bit more urgency. Grandpa had worked well past the age of normal retirement but a few years back stopped working outside of their home so that he could spend his days with Grandma and ultimately, Grandpa became her caregiver. In the last years of her life, their children and grandchildren became more involved in her care. Their family included the knowledge of a Geriatric Nurse Practitioner, a few Registered Nurses, and a couple with general healthcare experience. While this provided much comfort, the last years of her life remained an incredibly stressful time filled with concerns, “what if’s”, and unforeseen moments.
In the months that have passed since her death, I have reflected on our families experience during her last few years of life. I have great confidence in where our hearts and intentions were as Grandma aged, but many regrets regarding the quality of life she had during those same moments. I had my own “Ah-ha!” moment like many have had before me and realized there was a sizable gap existing throughout the last few years of life. There was a lack of resources, education, and focus on this span of time – the period upstream from hospice. And, without a doubt, a vast need of admirable, purposeful, determined, and unwavering support for the millions of nursing home residents who continue to live throughout these golden years. Thus, due to the work of Empira, ResoLute was born.
This upcoming new year has inspired our team at Empira as we begin working within our new program, ResoLute (Resident Empowered Solutions on Living Until The End). ResoLute is a MN Department of Human Services Performance Improvement Grant (PIPP Grant) with a goal of helping residents and their loved ones bravely face the work of aging. 2018 will be filled with improvements as we focus on the cornerstones of the ResoLute program. These cornerstones are quality resolutions for us all to uphold:
Resolute Resolution #1: Each residents care team will create a foundation upon which the work of aging can be built. This is done biologically, psychologically, and socially.
ResoLute Resolution #2: We will provide information to a resident about their prognosis in a timely and truthful manner.
ResoLute Resolution #3: With the help of our ResoLute teams, our resident’s priorities, fears, life reflections, and wishes regarding their legacy will be explored.
ResoLute Resolution #4: We will truly know our residents, not just know of them. This means we will care for them holistically. They are not just a body/diagnosis. They are a person with unique spirituality, a social history, great achievements, and so much more and they happen to be experiencing symptoms of one or more disease processes.
ResoLute Resolution #5: We will work together as a team. Communication between everyone on the residents care team is important when developing a whole-person/holistic care plan.
ResoLute Resolution #6: We will continue to know better and do better ourselves as we encourage others to do the same!
Wishing you the happiest of New Years!