ENID, Okla. —
Negative images that form in the mind at the words “nursing home” have been dissipating over the last decade, but the transition away from an institutional feel is far from finished.
“Nursing home. That term is considered obsolete. There are very few regular nursing home facilities anymore,” said Samantha Wegmiller, RN, BSN, NHA. Wegmiller is health care administrator for The Commons in Enid.
The Commons provides “aging services,” said Wegmiller, and the residents of The Commons and places like it are making decisions to move to such a facility before they are in need of assistance.
“They choose to come in as independent living individuals, and they just move through the tiers,” she said.
There often is a certain level a trauma when an aging citizen is forced to leave his or her home because of a need for care. That is why many are choosing to make the decision early, while they still are independent. Those citizens can make their home in a facility that offers aging services and never have to transition again.
Some would rather not live in an independent living facility, and places like The Commons recognize that. Rehabilitation services are offered for those who want to stay long enough to be able to get well and return home.
“We have rehab for people going back home,” said Wegmiller. “That’s when you see (the system) really work.”
In addition to the different levels of service offered, The Commons and other facilities offer a different atmosphere than what was once normal for nursing homes.
“It is a hotel-style feel,” said Wegmiller.
The Commons offers spa service, complete with whirlpool, hair and nail services and light massage. They also have a gym residents may use for exercising, numerous activities for the residents and they serve meals “a la carte” 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“There is no tray line service anymore,” said Wegmiller.
The goal of the new aging services philosophy is to increase quality of life rather than let it diminish.
“It really is just delivering a set of services where it is no longer a nursing home feel, not institutional.”
And the changes are just beginning.
“It’s going to look different tomorrow in our business than it does today,” Wegmiller said. “It’s rapidly changing and that’s what’s exciting.”