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Redesigning to Accommodate Behavioral Problems

July 01, 2005
LINCOLN PARK CARE CENTER, Lincoln Park, New J ersey
When I took over as CEO of Lincoln P ark Care Center in September 2001, like so many nursing homes, we had many empty beds, the building was 30 years old, and the facility looke d tired. It no longer had curb appeal. We also had a large percentage of long-term care patients with a psych history, but our programs were mostly geared to traditional geriatric patients. We decided to make some big changes to give the facility a fresh look and create more prog rams that would benefit our growing population of behavior management–type patients.

We started with a new psychosocial program , promoting our psychiatrist to medical director of this special program. We increased staff training to ensure they were better able to han dle patients who needed behavioral management, especially those who might decompensate (regress back to an acute behavioral state). We added more psychologists under the direction of our psychosocial program medical director, and we renovated the facility.

Renovations incl uded a new front entrance to make it warmer and more inviting; more space for recreational activities, including two multisensory rooms (for olfactory, auditory, visual, and tactile stimulation); a large, open multifunction area; doctor exam room; counseling room; new lobby; and a new memorial park. The multifunction room has large palladium windows and 20' ceilings, and overlooks a garden, thereby creating an “ ;outdoor” environment inside. This added space also allows for simultaneous activities geared to different levels of care. We hired st aff for the additional activities and gave them special training to increase their awareness and sensitivity in working with behavioral mana gement patients.

We also realized how important food and smoki ng are to our patients, and we offer a buffet seven days per week, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and created two large comfortable c overed patios for smokers.

We have created a beautiful, elegant facility for the residents in our care. The warm and rich color schem e is soothing to anyone who enters, and the soft lighting and Renaissance-style furniture add to the ambience to create a calming environmen t. BHM

Mimi Feliciano is CEO of Lincoln Park Care Center . For more information, call (973) 696-3300 or e-mail mai
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