Research for the Greater Good

By Roberto Muñiz

Roberto MuñizHere at Parker we know it’s not enough to develop new models of care—they must be tested and benchmarked to measure their effectiveness and discover opportunities for improvement. Not long after we opened Parker at Monroe, our small-home/household model nursing community, we sponsored research with LeadingAge to compare Monroe’s new model of care with our homes operating under a traditional model.

Over an 18-month period Dr. Linda Hermer and a team of researchers spent time observing residents and staff at Parker at Monroe and two control homes to determine if the small home model measurably benefitted residents – and in what way.

We were pleased when the research concluded that residents living in the small-home/household model experienced greater psychosocial well-being due to frequent staff and resident interactions. What was really interesting was that “some environmental modifications, such as creating a dining area with more intimate spaces for talking among residents, staff, and family, along with certain policies, such as having appetizing food available at all times, may be more important than others.” That is, providers might be able to achieve similar benefits for residents without a complete redesign of their facilities into small-home/ households.

We don’t all have to do things the exact same way to achieve good results – and sharing our knowledge and learnings can advance the care experience for residents well beyond Parker’s walls.

We will continue to review and modify our version of person-directed care by adding new philosophies and care models, retiring others, and testing the results. And with new resident populations joining us over the coming years, we will be looking even more intently at what person-directed care looks like for our unique resident populations.  

We are pleased to share our research with others to advance best practices in long-term care, and I look forward to hearing from you about your own research, learnings, and best practices. Just like the seniors we serve, we are all in this aging journey together!

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