Thursday, December 21, 2006

An Example of a Good Care Facility

I went to see Westminster House in White Rock the other day. It was impressive because of a couple of things.

One is that they do not have a marketing person. Their Administrator does the tours. That is a lot of money saved and that they can put into care. It also means they have people doing a service that knows something about geriatrics and aging.

The second thing is that they have real aging in place. That means all of their rooms are licensed and as people decline they can stay right there until they take their last breath. They don't have to move around to other rooms. That shows a basic understanding of relocation stress, which can occur even when someone has to change floors in the same building.

Most impressive, it also means they have figured out how to deply their staff so that the organization is fitting the residents needs, and not the other way around. Most places ask residents to change rooms at a certain point when their care needs become greater, so that they can manage with the staff. So I don't know how they do it, but congratulations to them.

The atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. I think I didn't park in the right place-- no problem, it wasn't a big deal.

It is not super elegant. So if you want a place that looks like a five star hotel, go somewhere else. But if you want to live in a place that just, somehow, can feel like home, Westminster House is the place for you.

Interesting to me is that it is run by a church, Hope Reformed Church of Vancouver. It is not overtly religious, that I could see, but it seems to me that underlying any genuine spirituality is caring and concern--and that is where the religion comes through, in a very nice way.

To be sure, there are a couple of things which are not optimal--the hallways and layout are confusing, at least at first. They could do with some more public lounges and in the ones I saw, the furniture looked pretty institutional. But those are things that can be managed with some good signage, or a good interior designer.

What they have is flexibility. That says buckets about the organization and the people running it and supporting it.