One aspect of creating a home life for Cedar Sinai Park residents is respecting their apartments and suites when cleaning and organizing and providing care. Ways to tackle these tasks respectfully with residents’ preferences in mind was the focus of the organization’s Dignity Committee these past weeks.
“We all need reminders to respect people’s personal spaces when we are in them and to ask first if it’s okay to move items,” said committee chair and Director of Community Life Jennifer Felberg. “The simple act of asking makes people feel respected and more open to giving permission, and instills trust.
“For example, our committee discussed whether residents want their personal products out in the open or put away,” said Felberg. “There is a careful balance between what we think is dignity for the residents and what they feel is dignity. So, we determined that many of our elders like their items to always be in the same spot, while others have no preference, so the bottom line is that it’s important to ask or, when in doubt, just leave the items where they were originally.”
Felberg re-instituted the Dignity Committee at Cedar Sinai Park several months ago to reinforce person- centered care (care the resident wants, not what people think the resident wants). The group meets monthly to discuss ways to promote dignity on campus.
“The focus on respect in resident apartments was our topic for April,” said Felberg. “A group from our committee is now developing a flier for sharing with all staff on the topic.”
To kick off the May exercise Felberg re-created how a resident with vision/hearing loss and limited mobility might feel when presented with a meal (see photo with human resources coordinator Cara Balske (left) and Felberg).
“It’s good to put yourself in the shoes of someone else to see what they are dealing with on a daily basis,” said Felberg. “I think this is an important exercise to share with others in service so they understand that the people for which they are caring can’t always see or hear or move well, and that the care provided needs to be adjusted accordingly.”
The committee has also worked on ideas to ensure people’s names are known and used, and for May, will explore ways to let everyone know they make a difference in our community.
Said Felberg: “It’s important that we all take care of one another, and that’s what the Dignity Committee is here for, to enhance a culture where we are all a family.”