Utah has five Eden Alternative homes but just got a big boost in publicity from a visit by Dr. Bill Thomas. The Salt Lake Tribune reports:
Time to change nursing home model, geriatrician tells Utah professionals
By Patty Henetz
With their roots in Dickensian workhouses and modeled on hospitals, nursing homes in many ways have earned the dread of old people, especially those who can still remember the stigma of America’s poorhouses and county homes.
“The terror people feel is real,” said geriatrician Bill Thomas, in Salt Lake City on Thursday to boost a new type of long-term care called the Eden Alternative.
Because policymakers in the 1960s decided to help ailing elders by placing them in heavily regulated institutions, nursing homes today can seem more like jails than the kind of gentle, caring collectives Thomas envisions.
“It is highly stigmatizing to have to surrender your freedom to get the care you need,” Thomas said during a break in a daylong conference that drew about 140 long-term care professionals.
Thomas, a professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, is the founder of the nonprofit Eden Alternative, an education business that teaches nursing-home administrators how to transform the way they take care of elders.
The Eden Alternative doesn’t require formal certification for nursing homes, such as Alpine Valley Care in Pleasant Grove, one of the five Eden homes in Utah. Rather, Eden homes employ a set of beliefs and practices that makes residents’ dignity and autonomy the top priority, with the residents at the helm of the ship.
Great story Patty. ChangingAging would like to welcome any visitors we get from the Salt Lake Tribune, the Beehive State and our Eden friends at Mission Health Services. Please say hello in the comments section and join us by signing up for email alerts and following us on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.