Household Model of Care

by  Maureen E. Hook, Ph.D.

To all who may have feared having to reside in a nursing home, a new model is emerging. It is called the ‘household model of care.’ It may revolutionize nursing home care in the future. This model is beginning to pop up across the country, and will be available in the Hampton Roads area at the new Sentara Rehabilitation and Care Residence in Chesapeake which will open in November 2016. It will replace the current facility on the site at 776 Oak Grove Road, which will be torn down once the new building is completed.  At this time, only 2 % of nursing homes in the country have adopted this model. The closest one in our area is in Gloucester.

What exactly is a ‘household model of care?’ The ‘household model of care’ is actually like what many assisted living facilities are doing at the present time. That is, the number of residents in a unit is much smaller (20 instead of the usual 50-60), and all rooms are private. Each ‘household’ will have its own kitchen, outdoor courtyard, and living room with a fireplace. The square footage of the new facility will increase to 65,000, about double that of the current facility. Residents will be on their own schedules, waking and sleeping as they choose. Also, meals and snacks will be at times which they choose. Residents who have the ability to cook will be able to do so in the ‘country kitchens’ in each household. Gone will be the rolling carts with medicine to dispense. With input from current residents, the design has called for larger closets and hardwood floors in the bedrooms. The whole point is to make it as much like a real home as possible. They can even grab coffee at any time of the day.

To prepare for the change, Sentara is using a room in the current facility as a dining center. They have called it the “Green Tree Café.” It is smaller than the regular dining room which seats about 40. The Green Tree Café has 3 tables, and is most frequently used for lunch. Irvin Land, administrator of the Sentara facility in Chesapeake, says you don’t necessarily have to have a new facility to implement the changes. He is sharing his ideas with other Sentara facilities in the area. The Chesapeake site was chosen as the first for the new concept, in part, because it was the oldest of the 7 nursing centers which Sentara operates in Hampton Roads. One of the new households will be devoted to those who have dementia. (Janie Bryant, “A Home away from Home, The Virginian-Pilot (Clipper section), 1-17-16, p. 1 & 8)

Kit Kat

Ask Kit Kat – Handling Humans

Hook Law Center: Kit Kat, what can you tell us about dogs handling humans and reading their moods?

Kit Kat: Well, this is very interesting! Dogs are really very smart, which I knew, but now we have it verified through research. Apparently, over the centuries as dogs became domesticated, they developed a way to handle those humans who might be angry or unreasonable. They simply looked away and reduced eye contact with the pesky humans. This had the effect of defusing a potentially explosive situation. This contrasts with the way dogs interact with a volatile canine—they actually stare down their animal opponent until the situation calms down or they decide to fight.

This information was discovered by University of Helsinki researchers. What the researchers did was this—using 31 dogs, they used a series of videos to gauge their reactions to different stimuli. The dogs’ eye movements were recorded after being shown several different facial photos for 1.5 seconds each. When dogs looked at angry dogs, they focused on the dogs’ mouths and held their gaze there significantly longer than when looking at humans. In contrast, when shown humans, the dogs tended not to look directly at the humans, but to scan their whole faces to assess the human’s mood and overall attitude from the entirety of the face, not just a few facial characteristics. Over time, this coping mechanism became beneficial for the dog as it became domesticated and depended on humans for food and shelter.

How fascinating! Scientists have confirmed what we intuitively suspected about dogs—they are extremely intelligent, and many of their behaviors, which may seem random, are not random at all. They are purposeful, and they are successful in helping the dog attain his goals of food, shelter, and companionship. For more about this topic, you can go to the scientific journal  PlosOne, where the original article appeared. Or you can read about this study by Matt McFarland in The Washington Post, January 29, 2016 in the Innovations section. (https://www.washingotnpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2016/01/29/dogs-may-have-evolved-to-handle-our-bad-tempers)

Upcoming Seminars

  • February 23rd, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking on Long-Term Care Planning at The Crossings of Harbour View at 10AM.
  • March 3rd, 2016 – Jessica or Shannon will be presenting “Family Love Letter” with Merrill Lynch at 6pm.
  • March 5th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking at the SNA Meeting in Hawaii on “Residential Planning for the Adult Disabled Child of an Elder or Decedent.”
  • March 8th, 2016 – Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro will be giving a Long-Term Care presentation at The Waterford at Virginia Beach.
  • March 9th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be presenting “Tax Tips for Seniors” at Westminster Canterbury.
  • March 14th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be presenting “Listen to Hook Law Center…and Plan the RIGHT Way” 10 AM Crowne Plaza.
  • March 15th, 2016 – Elizabeth Q. Boehmcke will be presenting “Listen to Hook Law Center…and Plan the RIGHT Way” 10 AM Hilton Garden Inn.
  • March 16th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be speaking  about Able Act Section 529 A of the Internal Revenue Code 8 AM.
  • March 24th, 2016 – Andrew H. Hook will be presenting “You’ve Got Seniority. Enjoy It.” at the Crossings at Harbour View 10 AM.
  • April 13th, 2016  Shannon will be presenting “Listen to Hook Law Center… and Plan the RIGHT Way” 10 AM Crowne Plaza.
  • April 19th, 2016  Shannon will be presenting “Listen to Hook Law Center… and Plan the RIGHT Way” 10 AM Hilton Garden Inn.
  • April 20th, 2016 – HLC will be having a table at the Annual Health Fair at the Chesapeake Retirement Community.

Distribution of This Newsletter

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