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Senior Living & Health Section
Special Section  

Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home
Together we can make a difference

In early 1989, Riverside acquired the financially-troubled Tidewater Memorial Hospital, located in Tappahannock, Virginia. Renamed Riverside Tappahannock Hospital (RTH), the 67-bed facility serves citizens in the Upper Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck communities.

Riverside has made significant changes to the hospital over the past 21 years. To enhance the quality of care provided, they have invested millions in state-of-the-art medical equipment, including: CT scan, mobile lithotripsy, mobile PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanner, digital mammography, state of the art nuclear medicine, ultrasound and non-invasive vascular testing and most recently the latest in diagnostic imaging—open bore MRI. They’ve been able to bring to our community, rehabilitative services, hospice care, emergency and urgent care services, cancer care, surgical care, home care and more.

Two on-site medical buildings house offices for many of the physicians on the hospital’s medical staff. We also have physician practices in Callao, Burgess, Warsaw, White Stone and beginning in January, we’ll will open a new primary care practice in King William.

Through the development of the Riverside Medical Group, RTH has successfully recruited world-class trained physicians in many specialties. These physicians have become integral parts of our community and they are connected by a sophisticated electronic medical record system (EMR). The EMR helps make healthcare safe and convenient for all our patients.

RTH has been and will always be committed to providing high quality, safe healthcare services to the citizens in the communities we serve. That’s why they have embarked upon the “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign.

Most hospitals have done away with wards and now shared rooms will soon become a thing of the past—as they should. New standards require that when building a hospital today, all rooms must be private.

Private rooms decrease infection rates significantly and because of rising concerns over recent super bugs, it is more important than ever that we begin the transformation to all private rooms quickly. Most medical errors are caused by distractions or momentary lapses of concentration by staff, and such distractions are more likely when there are two or more patients in a room, each requiring different medications, monitors and procedures. Equally important, exclusively single rooms allow for the relaxation and serenity necessary to promote the healing process and facilitate a speedy recovery. Private rooms allow healthcare professionals to more easily communicate patient information in a private setting and provide an enhanced environment for family visitation. The importance of this campaign is significant. But we can’t do it alone.

The transformation to private rooms will be expensive and we need your help. Ms. Martin acknowledged that the full conversion could cost as much as $5 million and noted that there is no additional reimbursement to hospitals from Medicare or private insurers for private rooms, so the cost of this project will not be recouped in new revenues. “We are looking to our community to assist Riverside in funding this important endeavor, much as the community contributed to the building of the hospital in the early 60s,” added Ms. Martin.

“To make this campaign a success, we need help from the entire community. The funds committed to the project from this campaign will ensure that the hospital is building the best care close to home with the latest medical technology and patient safety. This project is a win-win for our hospital and the community,” stated Frances Ellis, Chair of the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital “Make A Difference” Fund Committee.

On July 9, 2010, RTH held an unveil­ing ceremony for the “Make a Difference” Donor Recognition Sculpture and to launch the “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign. The donor recognition sculpture will be a means to recognize donors to the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital “Make a Difference” Fund and will be displayed in the main lobby of the hospital.

At the unveiling, Ms. Martin reviewed the history of the hospital’s existence from the local community fund drive led by Mayor Clanton in the 1950s to the opening of its doors in 1964. “The community’s spirit built the hospital, and our hope with the “Make A Difference” fund is to revitalize that spirit and give our community an opportunity to continue to invest in the hospital’s future,” she noted.

A special recognition was given to the late Mr. Pierre Dohet, a Kilmarnock resident, who left Riverside a gift of $470,000. His bequest gift was given in gratitude for the services provided by Riverside Hospice to his wife, Kathryn, who preceded him in death in 2001. Also recognized during this event were the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital Volunteers who donated the first $5,000 directly to the “Make a Difference” Fund.

In special guest Congressman Rob Wittman’s keynote address, he stated “people of the community are what make the difference. Whether it is your church, your schools, or your community hospital, it is when people come together for the right cause that great things happen.”

How to Make a Donation to the Riverside “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign

We are fortunate that through our mission giving has become an important way for our community to recognize and show gratitude for our doctors, nurses, staff and technology available right here at home, when they need it most. Gifts to the RTH Make a Difference Fund allow us to continually enhance the facilities, equipment and programs that support the healthcare needs of the communities we serve. The fund also provides a means for concerned members of our com­munity to fulfill their need to give hope or to honor a special person or event. We truly appreciate all gifts made to benefit Riverside Tappahannock Hospital.

One time donations to the fund can be made by check, money order or credit card. You may also choose to make a pledge agreement and pay your donation in installments over a five year period. In addition, Riverside employees have the option of payroll deduction. Special gift levels for the “Make a Difference” Donor Recognition Sculpture entitle you to an engraved message on the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital Make a Difference Sculpture permanently displayed in the lobby at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital.

Becoming a Leadership Partnership in the “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign
Donors who make a gift of $50,000 or more will become Leadership Partners and have the opportunity to attach their name, business name, or the name of a loved one as a sponsor of one of the newly renovated private rooms. A plaque will be placed outside the patient room recognizing their generous donation.

As a Leadership Partner you also receive:

  • A recognition plaque prominently and permanently displayed at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital.
  • An annual meeting with the Riverside Tappahannock Hospital Administrator to learn more about the “State of the Union” in healthcare and what’s new at Riverside.
  • Special recognition in the Riverside Health System Foundation Annual Report, both printed and online versions.
  • Complimentary tickets for two to any Riverside Tappahannock Hospital event.

There are many ways to think about how to fund a Leadership Partnership donation to the “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign. Two or more donors may prefer to share the investment and recognition. You can make a one-time donation or pledge to pay your gift over a five-year period. Our Riverside Health System Foundation Executive Director will be more than happy to discuss, in a confiden­tial manner, ways of giving that are within your means and reflect the kind of legacy you would like to leave. For more information on becoming a Leadership Partner, please call Liz Martin at (804) 443-6189 or Debbie Atkinson, Executive Director, Riverside Health System Foundation at (757) 534-7070.

For more information on the “Building a Better Place to Heal, Close to Home” Capital Campaign, Riverside Make a Difference Fund or to make a donation, please visit www.riversideonline.com/rth or call Debbie Atkinson, Executive Director, Riverside Health System Foundation at (757) 534-7070.
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Caring for an Aging Loved One - By Jim Janicki

Caring for an aging parent or loved one can be one of life’s most challenging and exhausting experiences. As you strive to manage the day-to-day operations of your own life—including raising your children or helping other family members—and then spend time caring for your aging loved one, you probably won’t find much time left for yourself.
Here are some recommendations for keeping yourself healthy, avoiding burnout and helping your loved one get the care they need.

Make Time For Yourself

It may sound hypocritical that the first tip in caring for others is to care for yourself, but the truth is if you don’t do it, no one else will. Like parenting, caregiving is a long journey full of ups and downs. You need your energy and your focus, and you must avoid burnout and illness, or you will no longer be an effective caregiver. Then where does that leave your family? They are depending on you, so take time to work out regularly, read a book or enjoy your favorite hobby. Caregiving cannot be a 24/7 job or you’re doomed to fail.

Explore All Your Options
Realize there are no clear-cut answers for senior care, especially with today’s increased choices for services. Take time to investigate all the possible options available for your loved one. You can search resources for free through your local Agency on Aging and websites like seniornavigator.com and caregiverslibrary.net. Riverside Health System recently launched Senior Care Navigation. Led by Geriatric Care Managers (social workers who are specially trained in determining a senior’s appropriate service needs), this free information and referral program can connect you and your family with the support services you need in the community.

Assisted Living is a residential care option that has grown exponentially over the past decade. In communities like The Orchard in Warsaw and Sanders Assisted Living in Gloucester, staff help individuals with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, grooming, taking medications, dining and scheduled transportation. This is optimal for residents who need occasional help and supervision but don’t need the 24-hour care provided by a nursing home.

If you are planning to manage most of the caregiving load yourself, you might consider In-Home Technology services to keep your loved one safe at home. Riverside offers three technologies— Lifeline personal emergency response system, Medication Dispensing Service and home telemonitoring of vital signs (weight, pulse, blood pressure, blood-oxygen level, and more). These services can ensure your loved one’s safety and medical status when you can’t be there, and that’s great peace of mind.

Team Up With Your Loved One’s Doctor
Most seniors are resistant to follow a retirement plan if their children recommend it, so you may need reinforcements. Talk with your family member’s doctor and explain the situation. Gather advice on how to proceed, and then ask the doctor to help advise your loved one on the importance of this decision. Seniors are far more likely to take the advice of their trusted physician over the advice of their children!

Complete Advanced Directives Documents
In preparation for a move to a care facility or as your loved one ages at home, you’ll want to cover certain decisions with them, such as designating a Power of Attorney and preparing a Living Will with Advanced Directives should they become incapacitated. You can find the documents at www.vda.virginia.gov/pdfdocs/AdvMedDir.pdf. Consult an Elder Law Attorney if you have questions.

Stay Involved
Even after you make a decision on how to provide the best care experience for your loved one, the journey isn’t over. You’ll need to be sure that your loved one is happy and receiving appropriate care. Talk regularly with health professionals about care planning and making sure that your family member is truly benefiting from the service. And most importantly, spend time with you loved one enjoying them as the person you know and love—don’t always be the caregiver or “responsible party” when you’re around. Be the daughter, son, granddaughter, neighbor or friend that you’ve always been.

Following these helpful tips should enable you to more easily manage the difficult task of caregiving for an aging love one.

For further assistance, The Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health is wonderful resource in Williamsburg that offers physician-led geriatric health screenings, driving evaluations, and clinical research trials. Visit excellenceinaging.org to learn more or call Riverside Care Navigation today at (757) 856-7030.

Jim Janicki is senior marketing director of Riverside’s Lifelong Health and Aging Related Services Division, and shares his perspective from over 12 years experience in senior living and older adult care services.

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Senior Options in Long-Term Care - By Mollie B. Lovejoy, NHA, Corporate Manager

The New Year not only brought many New Year’s Resolutions, but it also brought new hope for seniors, who after evaluating their needs, can actually choose the best options for Long-Term Care to meet their needs
and desires.

As seniors, the choices we have for Long-Term care can enhance our quality of life in the best of worry-free environments. Whether you’re a senior or a family member of a senior, there may come a time when one may need to make a decision on choosing Long-Term Care Options.

With the generation of “Baby Boomers” fast approaching their need for Long-Term care, the industry’s environment will change to accommodate the “high-tech” life they have lived. We will need to adjust facilities and services which not only meet their needs, but will have the capabilities and desire to ensure a quality of life that one expects to enjoy.

Depending on one’s needs and level of care, the choices are varied. Generally there are different Levels of Care available in many different settings. Provided services include Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) which are assistance with bathing, dressing/grooming, toileting/incontinence care, transferring, turning/changing position, ambulation, and eating/feeding —available in all Levels of Care. Nursing needs may be provided in all different settings—at home, in Independent Living Residences, Assisted Living Facilities, Nursing Homes and Rehab Centers.

Independent Living Residence
This is where seniors may enjoy living in suites or apartments without the worry and hassle of maintaining a home, both inside and out. Typically all utilities except personal telephone are included in the monthly rate. Other services may include a meal plan, housekeeping, guest rooms, private catered luncheons/dinners, a beauty salon, on-site laundry facilities, personal laundry services, maintenance to the building and grounds, exercise room/equipment, computer/internet media room, shopping trips, social activities and Private Duty Services. Pets may be allowed. Residents enjoy continued independence in a setting with neighbors who grow quickly to become “family.” Payment options are generally Private Pay. Independent Living may be a transitional step to Assisted Living and/or Nursing Home options when the need arises. Services from Personal Care Agencies, Home Health and Hospice Agencies are available in this setting.

In-Home Care
Local Personal Care Agencies can provide non-medical Personal and Respite Care which is RN supervised aides assisting with ADLs. They assist with self-administered medications, meal prep/clean-up, housekeeping, making/changing bed/bath linens, personal laundry, errands, and accompaniment to medical appointments. Other assistance may include help with self-administered medications, washing/drying personal laundry, meal prep/clean-up, making/changing bed/bath linens, accompaniment to medical appointments and shopping when appropriate, errand service, live-in companion, and calling 911 in an emergency. Payment options may be paid by private pay from the client or family, third party insurance programs, Veterans’ Administration and Medicaid. Doctor referred Home Health and Hospice services are also available in one’s home.

Assisted Living Facility
Licensed by the Virginia Department of Social Services, Long Term and Respite care is available typically in a home-like setting with payment options from Private Pay, Third Party Insurance Programs, Veterans’ Administration and Medicaid. Nurses’ Aides, Registered Medication Aides and optional Professional Nurses are on duty around the clock.

Services include, but are not limited to:

  • assistance with ADLs
  • assessing and preparing an individ­ualized service plan coordinated by a licensed health care professional with the resident and family
  • medication administration and chart maintenance
  • three nutritious meals and snacks daily with dietary supervision
  • bed/bath linen and housekeeping services
  • daily social activities
  • arranged transportation

Assisted Living Facilities partner with Home Health Agencies and Hospice Agencies to provide Nursing Services for residents who then are able to remain in that facility and “age in place.”

Nursing and Rehab Facilities
Licensed by the Virginia Department of Health, one has a medical need for around the clock Professional Nurses in a Medical Setting to provide care to meet the needs of the patients. Services include but are not limited to:

  • nursing services by Professional Nurses and aides
  • physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • assistance with ADLs
  • bed/bath linen and housekeeping services
  • medication administration and treatments
  • three nutritious meals and snacks daily
  • social activities

What should you look for and ask about when inquiring about any type facility? Make sure to tour the facility including visiting the resident/patient rooms, dining room and kitchen, living room, activity room, and nurses’ station. Talk with the residents/patients and staff. Ask to see their most recent State Licensing Inspection report, Health Department report and Fire Marshal’s report. Ask to see their Mission Statement. Ask for the Rate Sheet and any Additional Services Rate Sheet(s). Is any “Deposit” or “Last Month’s Rent” required upon admission? And what is their refund policy? 

Ask about the types of staff available daily, ie: management, nurses, floor staff, activities director/coordinator, beautician, housekeepers, dietary, and maintenance; what are their credentials?

What is the staff to resident/patient ratio on each shift? What is the percentage of staff turnover? Were there any offensive odors? Remembering that dealing with incontinent residents and patients is an on-going challenge that requires additional staff efforts on every shift, every day. Are there any additional charges for incontinence supplies—briefs, pull-ups, wipes, under pads, barrier creams, etc? Or can family bring in the supplies?

What kind of “Call Bell” system is in place? Is it easily accessible to the resident/patient in their room?
What ancillary services are accessible —Home Health, Hospice, PT, OT, Mental Health Day Programs, et al?

Do they accept payment from Medicare, Medicaid, Auxiliary Grant (in Assisted Living), Third Party Insurance, or Veterans Supplemental Program? Would they consider a “Rate Waiver” for one whose monthly income falls below the current Private Pay Rate?

What type medication delivery system do they have? Do they accept medication from the Veterans’ Administration for veterans or from a pharmaceutical mail order center? If so, is there a charge to re-package meds to meet the require­ments of their current system?

Look at the monthly Activities Calendar and does it reflect the life style, family values and fun loving activities that your loved one would enjoy, if participating?

Look at the current monthly menu. Ask if they can accommodate a doctor ordered “Special Diet.” Any charge for it? Can any special food be brought in for the loved one or enough to share with the group?

Ask about a regular Residents’ Council Meeting and/or a Family meeting with management to voice opinions and offer suggestions.

Pay attention and listen to the staff’s interaction with the residents, patients and with each other. Were they patient, knowledgeable and caring? Are they a staff who can relate to the generation for whom they are caring?

Was the person giving you the tour hospitable and offer you coffee/tea?

What was your first impression? Then what was your final opinion?

Remember that it’s not just about the chandeliers or furnish­ings; it’s all about the care given to your loved one in a clean, comfortable, safe setting. Residents/patients have the right to be treated and cared for in a professional and dignified manner.

Resources for facility information and help with making a decision

  • Go to the facility’s WEB site
  • Contact the local Area Board on Aging for referrals
  • Contact a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)
  • Contact the local Dept. of Social Services for a listing of Licensed Assisted Living Facilities in your area
  • Contact the local Dept. of Health for a listing of Licensed Nursing Home and Rehab Centers in your area 

Molley B. Lovejoy has over forty years’ experience in Long-Term Care with American Retirement Homes as a facility Administrator, a Virginia Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, a Virginia Licensed Assisted Living Facility Preceptor for the Licensed Administrator Program and a Corporate Manager. She have observed and served in an industry that is ever-changing to meet the needs of seniors as each generation reaches its retirement years requiring Long-Term Care. mollie@americanretirementhomes.net