An interview with Debra Block, NCCAP (National Council for Certification of Activities Professionals), Life Enhancement Coordinator, 6W Berenson, Hebrew Rehabilitation Center
Debra Block recently joined HSL as the Life Enhancement Coordinator on the newly renovated sixth floor west of the Berenson Allen building on Hebrew Rehabilitation Center’s (HRC) Roslindale campus. She has introduced an interactive theater and film program for patients at HRC. I sat down with her recently to learn more about her work with patients and the therapeutic value of theater arts.
Chaplains at Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) are engaged every day in caring for seniors – during difficult times, celebrating the happy moments, and then often again at the end of life. We are called upon by staff when more hands are needed on deck during a patient crisis, and also when staff themselves are suffering and need someone to listen.
At HSL, we have a very special and caring team of chaplains. Two years ago, Dignity Memorial (Stanetsky and Levine Chapels) recognized our work and the individuals on our team with a gift to support learning and self-care. Each year we now hold two half-day retreats and two full-day retreats with learning and reflection, sponsored by Dignity Memorial.
Being named one of Boston’s Top Places to Work may well be proof that Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL) is a great place for our 2,600-team members to work, and that employees are fully engaged with our organization. But what does it take to get to this benchmark—to be chosen a Top Place to Work—as HSL has for three years by The Boston Globe, including the publication’s recent list for 2018.
There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that antipsychotic medication is overprescribed for patients with dementia. Antipsychotic medications were created years ago to treat serious mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. Over time, these drugs came into use to treat dementia patients with symptoms that put them and others at risk, including physically aggressive behavior and wandering.
However, research shows these drugs are not effective for most dementia behaviors, and can cause unnecessary and sometimes dangerous side effects. Experts agree that all dementia patients on antipsychotics should have their medical plans reviewed, since some patients may benefit from either reducing or stopping the medication.
Chris Alburger is the first person to be named the LGBTQ Chaplain Resident at Hebrew SeniorLife. The position, funded through a generous grant from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, represents the first time a clinical pastoral education (CPE) program has educated a chaplain resident specifically for LGBT senior care.
Peace of mind is an important factor when choosing long-term chronic care for yourself or a loved one.
In the interview below, Sakhonh Kheuamun, Director of Security and Emergency Operations at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Boston and Victor Furtado, Director of Security and Emergency Operations at NewBridge on the Charles in Dedham, talk about the measures Hebrew SeniorLife takes on both campuses to keep patients safe without compromising their freedom and dignity.
1. Tell me a little bit about your background. Describe the education and training you received to become head of security.
At Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, we believe our patients deserve to receive care in an environment that reflects current best practices and provides for outstanding clinical care with all the comfort and choice of home. This is exactly why we are working to revitalize the top level of the Berenson Allen Building at our flagship Boston location, bringing it into alignment with the renowned patient-centered, compassionate care we provide.
The current phase of the project is being supported by generous leadership gifts from Deanna and Sidney Wolk, the Theodore W. & Evelyn G. Berenson Charitable Foundation, and Helaine Berenson Allen.
It’s no secret that getting out and about can become harder with age, especially for seniors with complex health conditions. But this doesn’t mean that meaningful recreation has to go out the window. At Hebrew Rehabilitation Center (HRC), staff from Life Enhancement, Nursing, IT, and the Institute for Aging Research (IFAR) have come together with volunteers and family members to help launch a creative solution to this dilemma.
May is National Osteoporosis Awareness Month, a time when Hebrew SeniorLife, the Institute for Aging Research, and health care providers all over the country work to promote good bone health through prevention, detection and treatment of osteoporosis, and to educate vulnerable populations on risk factors.
At Hebrew SeniorLife Home Care, when seniors are referred for visiting nurse services, they receive a registered nurse case manager to oversee and coordinate all their care.
Why is this important? The case manager develops a comprehensive plan, which might include transitions to other areas of service, during home care and afterwards. A patient might need physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and home health aide services – and the nurse case manager helps coordinate all that.