picture2Making the jump from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a great accomplishment. It takes hard work and dedication, and is truly something to be proud of.

Over the years, several Plymouth Harbor employees, in both our Home Care and Smith Care Center departments, have made this transition while working here. We would like to recognize these individuals below, and have also included a few comments from these dedicated employees.

Smith Care Center

Danny Bushman, LPN 2016

Nancy Chan, LPN 2016

Many Flores, LPN 2004

Tara Mitchell, LPN 2010

Home Care 

Bridget Chapman, LPN 2009

Haley Coles, LPN 2015

“My love for helping people is what made me decide to go into nursing. Working at Plymouth Harbor has overall been a good experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity to grow.” —Haley Coles

“I decided to go into nursing because I feel that caring for others is especially rewarding. What I enjoy most about working here at Plymouth Harbor is making my residents smile.” —Danny Bushman

 

Plymouth Harbor was built more than 50 years ago on Coon Key — home to both native plant and animal life. Over the years, we have added unique and beautiful plant species to help further enhance our environment.

As you walk the grounds, you may notice that our unique plant life is identified with signs displaying both the common and scientific name of the species. Our landscaping team, which consists of Marcos Franca and George Kingston, serve as experts on the plant species here at Plymouth Harbor, performing all groundskeeping duties.

What are some of the most interesting plant species found on campus? The landscaping team sums it up with the following items: the African Tulip tree, which does not normally grow in climates that are not consistently over 70 degrees and is native to the tropical dry forests of Africa; the Gumbo Limbo tree, which has unusual red bark that peels back, reminiscent of sunburned skin, giving it the nickname “tourist tree;” the Banyan tree, with roots and branches that reach the ground; the Floss Silk tree, which grows fast in spurts when water is abundant, and can reach more than 82 feet tall. Below is an aerial photo of the Plymouth Harbor grounds, with each of these species identified.

 

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Epicture123ach year, Plymouth Harbor holds a Skills Fair that allows health care and nursing staff to demonstrate competence in skills that are used daily to provide the best possible care for our residents in the Smith Care Center, the Callahan Center, and those assisted through our Home Health program. This year’s Skills Fair will take place on October 5th, 6th, 19th, and 20th.

During the Skills Fair, various test stations are designed to address topics such as safe transfers, skin integrity, hearing aids, oral care, pericare, foot care, IV insertions, wound care, and more. All health care staff members are required to complete each station and assure competence. There are stations set up specifically for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), in addition to stations created for both.

“In order to plan for the future, one has to know where you are now,” says Karen Novak, Director of Health Services. “The Skills Fair is an excellent way to keep our staff members’ skills sharp and up-to-date on best practices and new equipment.”

Plymouth Harbor began the Skills Fair three years ago, which has been growing larger and more successful with each passing year. This year, Smith Care Center’s therapy team will be onsite to work with staff on hip precautions and transfers, utilizing lifts, dietary needs, medication administration, and additional “hot topics.”

As residents become more and more medically complex, Plymouth Harbor’s nursing team is dedicated to providing the knowledge and expertise to address any and all needs. Demonstrated competence ensures better outcomes for our residents, and the annual Skills Fair serves as the perfect time to increase and enhance these skills.

 

By: Randy Powell, M.D., Plymouth Harbor’s Medical Director

Picture14Why should you get vaccinated against the flu?

Influenza is a serious disease with nearly 30,000 deaths each year in the United States. Eighty-five percent of those are in people over 65 years of age. Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels. If people are willing to get it, the flu vaccine significantly reduces the amount of viral exposure.

Can you get the flu from the vaccine?

The flu vaccine has been improved to the point that there is no significant risk of illness or reaction. It is possible to get mild, short-lasting side effects from the vaccine, such as aches or soreness where the shot was given, but the vaccine cannot cause the flu. While the flu shot is preferred, people who have had a severe allergic reaction to eggs can get the recombinant flu vaccine (or nasal spray), which was produced without any egg products.

How does the vaccine work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies (cells that help fight infections) to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These serve as protection against infection from viruses that are found in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against influenza viruses that research shows will be most common during the upcoming season.

What types of vaccines are available?

Human defenses become weaker with age, which places older adults at a higher risk of severe illness from influenza. The standard flu vaccine protects you from three different flu viruses. Those who are 65 or older can receive the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, which is four times stronger than the regular flu shot. Plymouth Harbor will be offering this preservative-free, high-dose vaccine this year. The vaccination process is most effective if everyone participates. Join the team!

*Resources used for this article include: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

 

mural1If you’ve stopped by the Smith Care Center’s (SCC) Therapy room recently, you might have noticed a change of scenery. In July, the SCC Therapy team welcomed a new mural on one of its walls, depicting a colorful and inviting beach scene.

The mural is the work of self-taught artist Carol Roman, who is also the mother of Tony Roman in our Dining Services department. Carol is a talented local artist, having produced artwork for Bradenton Healthcare and Peach’s Restaurants, in addition to specializing in artwork for individual homes, pool areas, furniture, and more.

The mural illustrates a beautiful shoreline with fencing along the beach, an anchored boat, islands off in the distance, and palm trees seemingly extending into the therapy room. While at first glance it may seem mural2like your typical beach scene, you may want to take a closer look. Each member of the SCC Therapy team has a personalized item incorporated into the mural. And if you are lucky, they just may give you a clue behind the meaning.

This mural is only the start for the SCC Therapy team. In the coming weeks, they hope to add inspirational quotes to the room’s remaining walls. With no
windows to the outside, the team felt this was the perfect way to incorporate the unique location and atmosphere of Plymouth Harbor. After stopping multiple visitors in their tracks and receiving several comments from residents, it seems they were right. If you are interested in viewing the new mural, simply stop by the SCC Therapy office and take a look.

 

ActivityTeamSCCTraditionally, when someone is asked to describe activities in a skilled nursing environment, they might envision a “riveting” game of bingo, or a balloon volleyball match. Today, Judy Sarnowski, Smith Care Center’s Activity Director, and her team are doing away with that notion. In addition to Judy, the Smith Care Center (SCC) team consists of Erica Andrejkovics, Virginia Bailey, and Jason Redmon.

Before coming to Plymouth Harbor, Judy taught for 12 years in the Indiana school system. This experience has absolutely shaped Judy’s approach to her position as Activity Director, providing meaningful leisure activities that help to strengthen the mind, body, and spirit of SCC residents. Judy and her team tend to focus on range of motion activities in the morning, and on cognitive stimulation activities in the afternoon that offer a broader appeal — for example, the game “Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?” The team also differentiates itself by incorporating technology — including everything from computer games to iPods and iPads to YouTube and Wii games. And, if requested, they will even facilitate FaceTime with residents and their family members.

While sharing the same vision, each member of the SCC activity team brings his or her own unique approach to the job. According to Judy, that is what makes their team work so well together. Jason graduated from University of South Florida with a degree in Psychology. He worked in the healthcare activity field for a few years before leaving to pursue interests in both teaching and IT.  After only four years away, he felt a calling to go back into activities. Erica is similar to Judy in that she has spent many years working in the field of education, and currently serves as a middle school math teacher in addition to her part-time position in SCC. Virginia seemed to always have had her sights set on the healthcare industry, receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Human Services, and earning her certification as an Activity Assistant and a Certified Nursing Assistant.

“I feel extremely fortunate to have a team that shares my passion to make a difference in the lives of others. It is delightful to work with those who have both the education and background to assist me in providing our residents activity choices that are fun, relevant, and meaningful,” Judy says. “We are a cohesive team that complements one another, and I think that is a rare find.”

There is no doubt that when you visit SCC, you’ll see the activity team in action.

 

Construction for the Northwest Garden project is moving forward on schedule. Test piles measuring the integrity of the foundation were successful, and as evidenced by the photos shown below, construction has begun.

Staff is working diligently alongside our construction team to ensure that every detail is met for the new Memory Care Center, Assisted Living, and Independent Living residences. In the meantime, we thought it would be interesting to share some progress photos directly from the construction site.

These photos depict the construction site before and after the demolition of the Cooling Tower, the removal of the North Garden second-floor balconies (which will be incorporated into the new building), and resident construction viewings in N-313. Please stay tuned for continued progress updates.

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Picture6Restorative care is a term that is often misunderstood or incorrectly defined as rehabilitation therapy. And while therapy and restorative nursing complement each other, they are not one and the same.

The purpose of restorative care is to maintain a person’s highest level of physical, mental, and psychosocial function in order to prevent declines that impact quality of life. In the Smith Care Center (SCC), restorative care is a part of every aspect of a resident’s daily life. Care includes, but is not limited to: range of motion (active or passive), ambulation, dining assistance, locomotion or wheelchair use, fall prevention, our Sit-to- Stand program, and more.

In addition to therapies, the restorative team also addresses residents’ many adaptive devices, such as skin protectors, night lights, chair pad alarms, and pendants. While not every SCC resident receives this service, since January 2016, an average of 58 percent of our residents benefitted from restorative care.

How exactly does the process work?

There is no set path that leads to restorative care. However, most residents receive it after therapy determines that they have reached their maximum potential. Following this determination, the therapist develops a resident’s restorative care plan and shares it with the Restorative Nurse, Lauren Krause, who ultimately implements the program. From there, it is the restorative care team’s job to retain the resident’s ability level. Restorative aides help to provide the care, follow through on programs, and track and report any changes.

How is SCC’s Restorative Care Team different?

Most skilled nursing facilities teach their staff some form of restorative care, and all employees on the floor are tasked with providing this care. However, SCC is unique in that we have a dedicated team that specializes in restorative care and works closely with the therapy department. “The communication between our department and therapy is really amazing,” Lauren says.

Additionally, while Medicare specifies that restorative care programs run at least six days per week, the Smith Care Center offers its residents seven days per week. Lauren leads the program alongside her team of restorative aides — Dennis Ortiz, Sheila Strahorn, and Nancy Chan (not pictured). When you visit SCC, you’ll be sure to see Lauren and her team in action. If you have questions regarding restorative care, contact Lauren at 941-361-7361.

 

Grindal 4x5 300 dpi (4) CropOn February 16th, Alan B. Grindal, M.D. gave a Health Matters presentation, entitled “The Aging Brain: Realities and Opportunities.” Dr. Grindal is a Board Certified Neurologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. In January 2016, he joined the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees. Below is a summary of Dr. Grindal’s presentation.

REALITIES

By the age of 65, two percent of the population will have dementia, and after that, the number doubles every five years. Today, there are 7 million people with dementia. By 2050, that number is estimated to be at 14 million. The reasoning is two-fold: 1.) People are living longer; 2.) Baby boomers will move into the 85 and over age group.

As we age, our brain gets smaller, we lose connectivity, and experience neuron loss in certain areas of the brain. In normal aging, we see a decline in autobiographical memory — for instance, memories about yourself, such as what you did on a certain day or where you were. However, semantic memories, including facts and ingrained skills, such as the first president, tend to be well-retained. Also in normal aging, there is a decline in fluid intelligence, which results in slower responses, a decrease in multi-tasking, and diminished creativity.

In general, there are three stages of decline in the aging brain:

  1. Age Associated Memory Impairment – compared to younger people. As we age, we are not as sharp as we were when we were at our peak (at 30-35 years old). Our ability to remember and absorb knowledge tends to slow down. However, this particular stage suggests that we’re aging at the same level as our peers.
  2. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) – compared to peers. This stage identifies individuals whose level of function is slightly impaired. When compared to their peers, these individuals are not functioning at the same level, but they are still able to live independently.
  3. Dementia – loss of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) skills. This stage identifies those with Dementia — an impairment of higher cognitive mental skills that prevents people from being able to live independently. How does Alzheimer’s disease fit in? While the above are levels of function, Alzheimer’s disease is a pathology that can cause any or all of these stages.

OPPORTUNITIES

While the reality of the aging brain is not always encouraging, there are several opportunities under our control that may help delay certain effects of aging, including:

  • Educational Attainment and Intellectual Challenges. The more educated you are, the less risk you have. In addition, continuing to challenge yourself educationally is extremely beneficial — particularly when you get engaged in something you enjoy doing, such as Sudoku, reading, crossword puzzles, etc.
  • Physical Activity. Aerobic exercise is proven to lead to an increase in brain volume.
  • Engaged Lifestyle/Social Environment. It has been shown that people can deteriorate quickly if they become socially isolated. Humans are social beings, and it is important to continue this attribute as we age.

View Dr. Grindal’s full presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykdfRPl0f0c

 

In the latter part of 2013, Plymouth Harbor elected to provide a wider array of services to our residents. We wanted to emphasize the availability of private duty home care, with the thought that many residents have both short- and long-term needs for these services. We surmised that residents would appreciate the opportunity to receive these services from Plymouth Harbor staff who have been screened, hired, trained, and supervised by onsite staff. Gradually, with time and dedication, we hoped to win over residents who had relied on outside agencies for these services.

Today, Plymouth Harbor is pleased to report that we have made some headway. Shown below is the Home Health revenue for the past three years:

2013                             2014                         2015

$131,000               $411,000               $827,000

Additionally, for January 2016, we billed for approximately $103,000. We are thrilled to see residents taking advantage of the services we offer, and we truly appreciate the opportunity to serve you. Home Health is available whether you are in an apartment, the Callahan Center, or the Smith Care Center. We customize our services to meet your needs, from 24 hours per day to just one or two hours per day. And we are always staffed by your Plymouth Harbor team!

“The care that I get from the Home Care staff is always first rate! I have assistance both in the morning and evening, and everything goes well. Thank you so much.” Betsy Bagby

“The HOME is the key! I have had several unexpected ‘events’ in the last 10 months, and Home Care was right there when I needed them. The last event was critical enough to warrant an EMS call. The action by the team was professional, fast, and caring.”  — Weta Cannon