Steamboat Springs Residents of the Extended Care Center traveled around the world in 1999, and did it without having to use a passport or buy a plane ticket.
The ECC participated in a statewide program called ResQUIP, the Resident Quality Incentive Program, that offers monetary incentives to nursing facilities that go beyond their regular activities programs. Each year, the activities, dietary and nursing staffs at the ECC design a themed program, based on residents' input, for ResQUIP.
When residents of the ECC told the activities staff that they missed traveling to different countries, like they had done when they were younger, the ECC came up with the theme "Travel Around the World."
Each month in 1999, the residents "traveled" to a different country, visiting places like Germany, Japan, Greece, Israel, Canada, Italy and England through special meals and activities.
When visiting Germany, the activities staff served a meal of bratwurst, sauerkraut, German potato salad and black forest cake. Children from GrandKids Child Care Center joined the residents for Oktoberfest and shared pretzels and German music.
"The activities, dietary and nursing staff worked extra hard to give the residents a sense of having traveled to different countries," said Carol Schaffer, director of the ECC. "Residents who were interviewed by the state awards committee told the committee how much the enjoyed the program."
In addition to unusual meals from foreign places, Schaffer said that the activities coordinators invited public speakers from different countries, decorated the facility each month according to which country was being featured and presented slide shows of different areas.
"We used the Internet a lot with this program," activity coordinator Lesa Costanza said. "We could bring up different countries and use an overhead projector to share the information with the residents. We also invited Strawberry Park Elementary School children to participate in art projects that represented the different countries we were visiting."
In 1999, the ECC was awarded roughly $7,500 for its Travel Around the World project. This month, the program was awarded an additional $1,000 as part of earning a ResQUIP Star Award. The ECC's program ranked as being one of the top 12 programs in the state out of 174 nursing facilities that participated.
ResQUIP programs are judged on four criteria: resident impact and participation, resident choices and relationships, creativity, and sustainability. This is the second time the ECC has been given a ResQUIP Star Award.
The state program is a Medicaid-funded incentive program designed to improve choices and enhance relationships for residents in long-term care facilities. The goal is to make a facility more home-like and to empower residents, making life more interesting and fulfilling.
For 2000, the ECC is planning a ResQUIP program to help residents adjust to the upcoming move to their new facility.
"Our 2000 project is called 'Happy Trails,'" Schaffer said. "We have some residents who are very excited about moving to the new facility and some that aren't too sure about it. We thought a program where we could get residents involved in the move would really help with the transition."
Costanza said that residents will be looking at blueprints, designing memorabilia boxes that will be hung outside their new rooms.
The group will also go on field trips to the new facility.
"I'll be taking a video each week of the construction progress at the new facility. In the end, we'll have a complete video, from start to finish, of the new ECC," Costanza said. "We think this program will really help with the challenges of moving the residents to a new place. Some of our residents have been here 10 years and it will be quite an adjustment when we move. It will be a big change and change is difficult."
The ECC staff and residents plan to move from their current location adjoining Routt Memorial Hospital to their new facility on Central Park Drive, on the campus of the new Yampa Valley Medical Center, in October or November.
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