There is a culture change taking place across the country to make nursing homes more like home instead of medical institutions. The Avera Brady Health and Rehab Center in Mitchell has already embraced those changes.
This has become Mabel Koehler's little corner of the world and that's exactly the way this she wants it. In fact, staff at Avera Brady Health and Rehab in Mitchell call this area Mabel's Corner. She moved in to Avera Brady in June of 2008 after she took a nasty fall down the stairs of her home.
Mabel says, "Oh, it is such a nice place. It's friendly and they spoil me rotten."
Avera Brady is one of 1200 nursing homes in the country registered as an EDEN facility. A national movement to change the look of long term care from a medical environment to a more home like one. They have converted the place into 4 neighborhoods each with it's own name (like Brook Lane), staff ,and an activities coordinator.
Center Administrator Veronnica Smith says, "Hospitals are sterile and white. There's no carpet, but you can see we have warm colors and curtains some of which the residents helped choose. So it really is more homelike. We don't want people to dread coming to a nursing home. The change in environment has really changed the mood too. People are not bored, they're not restless, and they're not lonely. They can do as much or as little as they want on their time schedule, not ours."
One of the things that's changed is meals. Residents they have a choice of 3 different hot meals three times a day. But if they want to sleep in they can do that too. Each neighborhood offers a continental breakfast so they can have coffee and toast whenever they do chose to get up.
Nicole Cooper is a Health Unit Coordinator and has been at Avera Brady for 18 years. One of the many changes she loves has been the addition of pets. Jake, the lab, has been here for two years and is usually following Nicole around when she is on duty. Cats Misty and Bud are also part of the family and make themselves at home.
Nicole says, "Most of the residents really enjoy the animals. It reminds them of home. Some residents get an evening snack and look for Jake so they can throw him some crumbs."
There's a pretty good chance most of us will end up in a nursing home or assisted living one day, and if that's the case, it's nice to know there are places like this to call home.
Recently, Avera Brady Health and Rehab received a 5-Star overall quality rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services placing it in the Top 10 % of nursing homes nationwide.