Picture7“My position as Admissions Coordinator often times allows me first contact with potential residents desiring short-term rehab, long-term care, or a respite stay. I strive to ensure and coordinate a smooth transition into SCC. By working closely with all parties, including the resident, their family, physicians, and hospital representatives, a solid foundation for the excellent care our residents receive upon admission and throughout their entire stay is established. Attention to detail and a thorough education about our community and care standards help residents adjust appropriately to their new environment.”

 

Plymouth Harbor is excited to announce Mary VanSant as our new Admissions Coordinator. Mary came to Plymouth Harbor in October 2015.

In her role as Admissions Coordinator, Mary is the first point of contact for those interested in coming to the Smith Care Center (SCC), whether it be for short-term rehabilitation, long-term care, or respite stay. Specifically, she is responsible for the admission process and the coordination of a smooth transition for residents (and their support network) into SCC. This includes maintaining a positive professional relationship with members of Sarasota’s medical community, and serving as an effective facilitator in guiding family members and decision-makers to reach a mutually beneficial agreement on behalf of incoming residents.

Mary has extensive experience in the marketing and admissions field. Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, she served as the Admissions Director at Sarasota Point Rehabilitation Center, as the Marketing and Admissions Director at The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, and as Manager for Dr. Joseph R. Lowe, D.M.D., P. A.

Most recently, Mary served as Sales and Business Development Director at AutoXotic. In each of these roles, she was responsible for the planning, development, and implementation of marketing strategies to increase community awareness. Mary attended Florida State University and received a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with a minor in child development.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Mary join our team, and we look forward to the continued growth of Smith Care Center admissions.

 

 

fkjahskdhf'adIn October 2015, we reported that the Smith Care Center (SCC) began a new pilot program called the Personalized Music Therapy Program. This program includes the use of iPods and personalized music playlists as an enjoyable therapeutic activity. The purpose is to calm unwanted behaviors frequently associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions, thus creating an alternative to the use of pharmaceuticals. For this reason, the initial target population included SCC residents who have experienced behavior and personality changes, such as agitation and restlessness.

SCC Activities Director Judy Sarnowski headed the program, modeling it after Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that created its own personalized music program. Judy says that Music & Memory got her thinking more about how she could modify certain aspects of their program to fit needs that were specific to Smith Care Center residents. So, before launching the three-month program in October 2015, Judy did her homework.

In addition to identifying three program participants and speaking with their family members for permission, Judy made the following modifications to the program:

  • She set a 30-minute time limit. Music & Memory has no limit, but due to short attention spans, Judy decided to limit the exposure for our residents.
  • She used the iPod Mini. Music & Memory uses an iPod Shuffle. However, SCC used the iPod Mini for greater programming capabilities, which ultimately helped to increase  personalization.
  • She used over-the-ear headphones. Music & Memory uses “ear buds,” but Judy went with over-the-ear headphones for greater comfort and compatibility with hearing aids.
  • She used a personalized questionnaire to help create each playlist. Judy compiled a questionnaire for each resident’s family member to complete. This questionnaire helped to elicit different memories by asking questions, such as “What is your favorite movie?” and “What is a song that was played at your wedding?”

Judy and her team have been compiling data throughout the program, and have already seen a noticeable difference. The pilot program ends on December 31, 2015, and at that time, Judy will compare data from the three month-period to data that was produced before the program started. Stay tuned for an update in early 2016 regarding the final results.

 

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Plymouth Harbor is excited to announce Eva Duerr as our new Staff Development Coordinator. Eva came to Plymouth Harbor in June 2015.

In her role as Staff Development Coordinator, Eva is responsible for providing and overseeing the necessary educational training for all Plymouth Harbor staff members, particularly in the Smith Care Center. Her specific responsibilities include assessing, planning, and implementing organized educational programs for staff according to federal, state, and local requirements. Additionally, Eva helps to provide wound care to Smith Care Center residents and oversees nurses providing this care on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Eva served as the Resident Care Coordinator at the Memory Support Center for Evangelical Homes of Michigan in Saline, Michigan. Here, she was responsible for overseeing resident admission, developing and directing operational and support services, and recruitment, selection, and performance evaluation of staff.

87637+In addition, Eva previously worked for many years as a Home Care Nurse in Berglen, Germany. Eva received her associate degree in nursing from the RMK School of Nursing in Backnang, Germany in 1991. In 2012, she was certified as a Registered Nurse by the Michigan Board of Nursing. Eva is also knowledgeable in memory care and has earned her Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care Certificate.

Over the next year, a major focus of Eva’s will be to enhance Plymouth Harbor’s community-wide education. This will include annual training for each Plymouth Harbor employee, occurring during the month of each employee’s anniversary date. Additionally, beginning in February of 2016, Eva will begin her training to become certified in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach To Care (PAC). Plymouth Harbor is lucky to have Eva on our team, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our staff education.

 

SCCThe name of Plymouth Harbor reveals much about the values on which it rests. Like our historic counterpart far to the north in the 17th century, Plymouth Harbor is committed to a life in fellowship one with another — which explains why we call our community neighborhoods “colonies.”

Colonies were established at Plymouth Harbor when our doors first opened in 1966. However, when our Smith Care Center (SCC) was completed in 1988, it didn’t quite follow suit. Back in the 1980s, Dinah Stamp, then Activity/Social Services Director (now VP Residential Services), began facilitating monthly meetings for SCC residents. However, these meetings were only referred to as resident meetings and SCC wasn’t considered its own colony at the time. Years later, our Social Worker, Brandi Burgess, was hired and began leading the monthly meetings.

It wasn’t until about five years ago, however, that Brandi decided to start calling the meeting the “SCC Colony Meeting” to help drive attendance and assign the significance it deserved. Two years ago, the Residents Association became aware of the SCC “colony” meeting, and began investigating a by-law change in order to include SCC as an official colony of Plymouth Harbor. Terry Aldrich, President of the Residents Association, was instrumental in making this change take place. He worked hard to inform existing colonies of the need for the change, and collaborated with the Residents Association Board of Directors.

At the April 2015 Annual Meeting of the Residents Association Board of Directors, Smith Care Center was officially approved and written into the Residents Association by-laws as its own colony. The change has been hugely successful, and residents have become more interested and engaged in participation. Prior to this, long-term residents would retain membership in their previous colonies rather than participate as actively in SCC.

Today, there are 11 official paying members, as only permanent, original Plymouth Harbor residents pay dues. However, all SCC residents – and their family members – are invited and encouraged to attend meetings and voice their opinions. Additionally, any voting SCC colony member is eligible to be a representative. SCC currently has two resident representatives as well as one staff representative — Brandi Burgess. The now-official SCC colony meeting is held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00pm in the SCC Living Room.

We are excited to see this change take place, and look forward to seeing more and more resident input and involvement in the Smith Care Center.

 

Over the past few issues of Harbor Light, The Continuum has featured an article that portrays a fictitious scenario of a family’s journey through our full Continuum process at Plymouth Harbor. The series is designed to provide a closer, more detailed look at our continuing care philosophy. This marks the final article in the series.

 

After mom talked it through with our family and the staff, she began working with Home Care to provide in-home health services. At that point in time, mom knew that she needed an extra hand, but like many of us would, she wanted to remain in the comfort of her own home. She still took good care of herself, but was becoming a bit forgetful and needed more help getting around. It was for these reasons that she ultimately decided to work with Home Care, rather than transition into assisted living.

Together with Home Care nurses, she developed a plan that aligned with her goals. They began coming up to the apartment to help out, and were extremely caring and personable with her. They helped mom with everyday tasks – getting from here to there, both within the apartment and Plymouth Harbor, taking medication, preparing meals, and more. In addition, they provided all of us with peace of mind, just knowing that a helping hand was there if needed.

Three years went by, and mom continued to work with Home Care. Over the years, our family grew to know the nurses extremely well. We appreciated all that they did for mom (and us) and how they always kept us informed of her goings-on. Even with the extra help, mom remained her spirited, energetic self. She kept up her social life, and always loved having our families over to her beautiful apartment.

At the end of that third year, mom (now age 90) began to slow down. She began needing more and more help, and was losing her memory at an increasing rate. She often wandered and forgot where she was, and we were all beginning to worry more about the chance of her falling. So, mom, along with the nurses, decided it was again time to discuss her options. We sat down together once more and talked about what the next step might be. After some discussion, mom decided that she was ready to move into the Smith Care Center (SCC), which offered more medical assistance and personalized care.

Shortly thereafter, Home Care contacted SCC, and began making arrangements for mom to move in. After some time, mom was able to get a single room, and in the meantime, we worked with Residential Services to ensure we had ample time to move her belongings out of her Tower apartment. They helped us to downsize, and we were then able to bring her favorite possessions into Smith Care, making her room homey and comfortable.

It didn’t take long for mom and our families to get acquainted with the new staff in SCC. Everyone was extremely patient and kind, and they made sure mom continued to have an interactive schedule. She participated in resident meetings, monthly art therapy, and birthday “bashes,” and even got her hair and nails done each week in the salon.

Mom remained in the Smith Care Center for two more years before she passed. We will never forget the many wonderful experiences she had there, and how Plymouth Harbor was there for her at every stage. We are forever thankful that mom chose to live at Plymouth Harbor — it was one of the greatest gifts she could have given us those 16 years ago when she moved in.

 

 

Over the next few issues of Harbor Light, The Continuum will feature an article that discusses the full Continuum process here at Plymouth Harbor, through the eyes of a resident’s family member. Please note that this article series is fictional, and is designed to provide a closer, more detailed look at our continuing care philosophy.

A few weeks after my mother Jane’s brief illness, she was back to her normal self. However, I couldn’t help but reflect on the reason that we chose Plymouth Harbor in the first place. Yes, she wanted an active community that fostered her independence, but also one that could be there for her when needed. My mother couldn’t say enough about the kind, caring staff in Smith Care and Home Care that helped nurture her back to health, and I, too, am forever grateful to them.

Roughly two months after her illness, mom jumped back into her active lifestyle with full force. She took up a new class in the Wellness Center, and began to work out in the community, becoming a Guardian Ad Litem and a member of the local Woman’s Club. In her time at Plymouth Harbor, she also served as a member on several resident committees. To say she kept busy would be an understatement – she had more meetings and commitments on her calendar than I did back then!

Still, elder family members and friends of my mother continued to question the idea of a retirement community. They would always ask her, “You’re so active, why would you give up your home to live there?” and “Don’t you miss your privacy?” She always laughed, and shared a story about swapping life experiences with someone in the hallway or dining room, and how easily she found comfort in her apartment when she needed some down time. As with any move, it was an adjustment for her in that first year, but after that, she loved her new home and all that came with it.

My mother remained active and flourished in her 17th floor apartment for some time. Six years after that first illness – at the age of 87 – my mother began to have some minor concerns. She would talk to us about them, and then we began to notice. Since we were now local to Sarasota, we were able to spend a lot of time with her – Sunday night dinners, holidays, birthdays, family vacations, and even just because.

My brother was able to stop in a bit more often than I could during the week because he worked downtown. During that time period, I probably saw her about three or four times a month, as my family life was getting busier.

With mom included, we were all noticing that her memory was beginning to fade — not at all to an extreme, just a couple of missed details here and there. She was also beginning to have a harder time getting around the apartment, and needed more help to get to doctor appointments or help with medication. We, of course, didn’t mind, but that led us to a discussion, and we all agreed that it would be good if someone was there to help with those things if my brother and I were both unavailable.

After talking with the staff, my mother decided that working with Home Care to provide in-home health services was the right choice for her. She could work with the nurses to develop a plan that met her goals, and they would provide the services she needed in the comfort and privacy of her own home.

Stay tuned to hear more of our fictional Jane’s story in the October issue.

 

Over the next few issues of Harbor Light, The Continuum will feature an article that discusses the full Continuum process here at Plymouth Harbor, through the eyes of a resident’s family member. Please note that this article series is fictional, and is designed to provide a closer, more detailed look at our continuing care philosophy.

Picture1Four years after my father passed, my mother, Jane, who was 76 at the time, decided it was time to start thinking about downsizing. It didn’t happen overnight, but after several talks with my brother and me, she became more comfortable with the idea of giving up her three-bedroom home and living in a place with people closer to her age, a place that offered activities, both intellectual and physical, that promoted social gatherings and friendships, and was there to help her, should the need arise.

She and my father moved from New York to Longboat Key almost 20 years ago when they retired. My brother and I quickly followed suit with our families, wanting to be closer to them when raising our children. Having lived here for some

time, we’d heard of Plymouth Harbor, but it wasn’t until after our tour that we knew it was the perfect place for her. My mother, who is strikingly independent, loved that same quality about Plymouth Harbor – she would have her own apartment, could participate in the activities that she wanted, and could come and go as she pleased. After a few months on the wait list, she got a call about an available apartment in the Tower. Three months later, after selling her home and packing up 20 years worth of furniture and memories, she moved in.

Once settled, she jumped into a number of activities. She also took time to travel – sometimes visiting friends up North in the summers, other times exploring new places with my brother and me and our families. The kids loved coming to visit her apartment on the 17th floor, always admiring her view of the bay. Even though I had no real reason to worry about my mother, I took comfort in the fact that she no longer lived in a big home by herself. The decision to move into a retirement community is a big one, but it is one of the greatest gifts my mother gave to our family. Plymouth Harbor inspired new hobbies, fostered new friendships, and gave us peace of mind.

Five years went by, and after Christmas that year, she became extremely ill from a bacterial infection. We took her to the hospital, where she was treated and released after a few days. Because her case had been so severe, her doctor recommended that she be admitted to Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center for a short time, where someone could be there 24/7, administer the medication she needed, and monitor her progress.

We were so thankful that the Smith Care Center was available to her for that time to recover. After two weeks, she was back in her apartment recuperating. Smith Care Center coordinated with Home Care, and for another two weeks, a nurse came up to her apartment daily to make sure she was eating the right foods and taking the right medication at the right times.

It took her some time to bounce back, but after a month, she made it back to her full self. She was again in good health, and eased back into all of the activities she was a part of before.

Stay tuned to hear more of our fictional Jane’s story in September.

Lauren Krause EE of MonthLauren Krause has always been a stand-out employee at Plymouth Harbor, but this month she was nominated by her peers and voted “Employee of the Month” for September 2014.

When she joined joined the Smith Care Center team in December 2001 Lauren worked as a  full time LPN.  In October 2007 she was promoted to Restorative LPN. Of course, we don’t all know what that means, but a quick Google search tells us that a restorative nurse assists patients who are in recovery from a surgery or illness with regaining their health and self-sufficiency.  Smith Care Center serves as a rehabilitation center for many residents and community members recovering from surgery, so Lauren’s specific skills are in demand.

In fact, she not only exceeds standard appraisal ratings for job knowledge, quality of work, decision making and attitude, but she is a tremendous asset to Plymouth Harbor.  Lauren’s expertise continues to enhance the team daily; she is always looking for ways to achieve better outcomes for our residents.

As a detail-oriented professional, Lauren quite resourceful.  Joe Devore, Plymouth Harbor’s Vice President of Health Services, calls her “Go-to Krause” because of her skills in resolving issues and finding solutions.  Everyone recognizes that Lauren’s strength lies in the fact that she knows who and how to pull the resources together to achieve her goal.

A long-time Floridian with two beautiful sons and loving husband, Lauren is a positive, radiant soul, who is well-liked by all.  One of her nomination letters summed it up:

“Lauren is a great team player, willing to go the extra mile to get something done when needed.  Lauren is compassionate with the residents and always has a smile on her face.  She is a great asset to the Plymouth Harbor family.”

 

Wellness at Plymouth Harbor retirement community SarasotaMost of us will find ourselves using a cane at some point in our life.  Canes provide critical support for those in rehabilitation from knee or hit surgery.  When the need does arise and you find yourself with a can in hand, do you know how to use it properly?

These pointers will help you avoid further injury from misuse of this support and gain the most from the use of your cane so that you heal properly and regain your free movement as soon as possible.

Step 1:  Check the length of the cane by standing straight with your arms at your sides.  Adjust the cane until the top of it reaches the crease on the inside of your wrist.  When you hold the cane, your elbow should be flexed about 15 degrees.

Step 2:  Hold the cane in the hand that is on the same side as your good leg.  For example, if your right leg is injured, hold the cane in your left hand.  If your left leg is injured, hold the cane in your right hand.

Step 3:  Begin walking by taking a step forward on your injured leg and move the cane forward at the same time.  By doing this, you will put your weight on your cane and injured leg at the same time, allowing the cane to absorb more of the strain than the injured leg.  Do not use the cane to step with your good leg.

Walking up stairs with a cane:  Hold onto the railing with one hand and place your cane in the other hand.  Put the cane one step up.  Then, take the first step with your strong leg.  Bring the injured leg up to the same step.

Walking down stairs with a cane:  Hold onto the railing with one hand and place your cane in the other hand.  Put your cane on the step first, then your injured leg, and then your good leg, which will carry your body weight.

 

Whether you are currently using a cane or anticipate the need for using one, you might also plan on attending the regular Balance Class presented by the Wellness staff at Plymouth Harbor.

balance and wellness

Reference: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.  (2007).  How to use crutches, canes, and walkers.  OrthoInfo.  Reference (Photos): WikiHow. (2013). How to Hold and Use a Cane Correctly.

Nancy Cressotti, LPN, is has joined Plymouth Harbor to serve as Admissions Coordinator at the Smith Care Center. Nancy says when she first started working at the young age of 14 in a nursing home; she knew her life-long calling was in health care. She will be responsible for the Smith Care Center (SCC) admission process and coordination of residents moving into the SCC in a manner that is supportive of the Center’s mission and values. As the Admissions Coordinator, she is accountable for all Smith Care Center admission activities.

Nancy Cressotti is the new Admissions Coordinator at Plymouth Harbor's Smith Care Center. “I am thrilled to have Nancy join our team. She will help improve our accessibility to residents of Sarasota and provide the medical community with information about Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center,” says Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services at Plymouth Harbor.

As the Admissions Coordinator, Nancy will be the first point of contact to build relationships with future families and patients that will come to the Smith Care Center. She looks forward to taking personal care of each family member and patient to make them feel comfortable during this crucial time in life.

Prior to joining the team at Plymouth Harbor, Nancy was with Universal Health Care in St. Petersburg, FL as a Case Manager. She has an impressive career of over 30 years of experience in the areas of direct patient care, patient evaluation, coordination of care, and verification of health services.

Some of Nancy’s other experiences include an External Care Coordinator at Skilled Nursing Facilities in Hartford, CT, and Admissions Director at Evergreen Health Care in Stafford Springs, CT.  Nancy started her career at Johnson Memorial Hospital, also located in Stafford Springs, CT, as a Staff LPN Nurse, Continuing Care Coordinator, and Placement Coordinator.

Nancy was born in Morrisville, Vermont, before moving to Enfield, Connecticut.  A Connecticut nursing home provided that first experience for Nancy who later graduated from Enrico Fermi High School in Enfield, CT, and Thompson School of Practical Nursing in Brattleboro, VT.  She relocated to Florida only one year ago with her husband. Now that their children are grown they love to spend their vacations cruising.

“With all my years of experience in nursing homes and hospital settings, none can compare to my new position at the Smith Care Center. Everyone has warmly welcomed me and it is a pleasure to come to work every day,” says Nancy. “I look forward to a long and rewarding career with Plymouth Harbor!”