Hebrew SeniorLife has a new Executive Director of Home and Community-Based Services, Maureen Bannan, RN, MA. I recently spoke with Maureen about her experiences working in health care and her vision for Hebrew SeniorLife.
Can you share a little bit about your experience in home and community health services?
I entered the world of home health in 1989 through a hospital-based program. I was an RN in the program, which was made up primarily of nurse practitioners. This experience provided great learning opportunities and expanded my clinical skill set. As a small agency we catered to disenfranchised seniors in the surrounding community. I had the opportunity to learn about the rich resources available to community-dwelling seniors and how to best to work with them so they could stay in their own homes if they wished, or assist them and their families with the transition to the next appropriate level of care. In addition to providing home health and primary care we offered end-of-life care. I eventually went on to be a direct care hospice provider for a period of time.
What brings you to Hebrew SeniorLife?
I have a long history with HSL. Once I told my parents I would like to attend college for a degree in nursing, my Mom, a nurse herself, encouraged me to work at HSL because of their strong reputation for excellence in senior care. I worked at the Boston location on 5 Berger as a nursing assistant while attending college. My family has accessed the inpatient Palliative Care Team at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston and had a wonderful experience. Once I learned of the opportunity to assist in leading the home and community-based services offered by HSL, I knew immediately that I wanted to be involved. The vision for growing these services is very much in line with population trends, specifically a rapid growth in the senior population coupled with their desire to remain living in their own homes in the community.
As Executive Director of community health services, what is your vision for the future of HSL’s services and how they can be coordinated to benefit patients’ and their families?
Given our reputation and commitment to excellence in senior care, our providers will continue to lead as experts and innovators in addressing health issues that impact older adults in our community. This includes treatment of physical or cognitive challenges specific to chronic illness that many older adults experience, spiritual and end-of-life support, and serving as a resource for information such as insurance coverage and community-based living options.
Elder advocacy is also important. For example this year HSL had a robust participation in the Walk To End Alzheimer’s Disease in Boston. We are also active with the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts, the state’s community-based services political advocacy organization. As a member of their Board of Directors we work with the state legislature on tackling topics specific to safe senior care. Several members of the HSL Team participate as members of HCA subcommittees.
What are some of the special needs of the older adult patient?
Changes related to mobility, vision and hearing are not uncommon among seniors, however should not be assumed to exist across the board. This is important to understand. If there are limitations, physical and sometimes cognitive, the senior will benefit from adaptive supports. These might include a home evaluation to promote safety, information on special transportation or on alternative living options in the community. Many elders live vibrant, rich lives free of physical or cognitive limitations but might be seeking expertise on the potential financial implications of future changes in health status. These are needs that HSL’s community health continuum can meet.
What are your initial impressions of HSL?
It is all about the older adult with HSL. All members of the organization are focused on the singular broad goal of making sure HSL is synonymous with excellence in elder care. I’ve experienced a real sense of teamwork and collaboration among my colleagues at HSL to achieve this goal. Employees seem genuinely excited and willing to do whatever it takes to be the best in all that we do.