[Editor’s Note: Eden Alternative Europe Coordinator Christa Monkhouse guest-posts on a weekly basis from across the Big Pond. Christa helped introduce the Eden Alternative to Europe, first in the UK, then Denmark, Austria, Germany, Switzerland and soon in Sweden, Finland and other European nations. Stay-tuned for regular updates on ‘Monkhouse Mondays’.]
“They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom*
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin”
Leonard Cohen’s song has long been the unofficial Eden-in-Europe anthem, starting small (with one home in Switzerland = Manhattan) then spreading out over Europe (= Berlin).
This song comes to life in Denmark, where national coordinators Aase Porsmose (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Karin Dahl (email@example.com) are truly taking “Berlin”. Here is their report on bringing the Eden philosophy to “almost the whole country” of Denmark (Note: the charming Danish/English comes to you unedited):
“Our project involves 25 nursing homes from three municipalities across Denmark. The aim is quality-improvement for both residents and staff, due to a culture change to a new focus on every day living, health promotion and relationships. We challenge the present culture in Danish nursing homes. Even though we have worked with a Danish ‘Live and stay’ culture for several years the institutional culture is still dominating. We regard Eden as a necessary superstructure to eliminate the confirmed loneliness, boredom and helplessness.
In the project we have been on a ‘preparation tour’ to all of the homes making interviews with leaders, staff and users, board members and politicians. We also made 2-hours information meetings about both the project and Eden on the same day.
Right now we are teaching about 30 leaders and 300 chosen staff members their first 3 days course about Eden. In the autumn we make a second 3 days course for the 300 staff members who will have a process-role as ‘Eden key-person’. The leaders will have three separate days during the project period, because we wish to be able to support them during the implementation.
We are also going to visit every nursing home 3 times in the education and implementation period, to support the local Eden-group during their Eden-process – the aim with these days is to support the educated Eden-key persons in a way that will make them able to continue the process without having to ask for help from us every now and then.
The project is financed by funds from the Danish Ministry of Social Welfare. More funds have been given to other smaller projects across the country which also involves the Eden principles.
The Eden power-team: Karin Dahl/Aase Porsmose/ nurtured by Jane Verity, Eden Scandinavia Mentor
Christa Monkhouse, Switzerland
*The editorial of the May 2008 Issue of the “International Journal of Older People Nursing” by Jan Reed (p 79 – 79) has the same title (Volume 3, Issue 2)