Altarum Launches Culture Change Initiative with Eden Alternative Training in Six Michigan Nursing Homes Serving Hundreds of Residents

February 27, 2019

Ann Arbor, MI — Altarum today announces the launch of a three-year culture change initiative in six major nursing homes under a project funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services with Civil Monetary Penalty (CMP) funds.

The project, entitled Accelerating Quality Improvement for Long-Stay Residents in Michigan Nursing Homes Using Culture Change, aims to improve staff skills and operational practices and protocols in the participating homes, and is being managed and evaluated by Altarum, a nonprofit health care research and consulting organization based in Ann Arbor.

Participating Michigan homes—a mix of government-owned, for-profit and nonprofit entities—are Beacon Hill at Eastgate, Metron of Forest Hills, Metron of Big Rapids, Spectrum Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Centers-United and Kelsey, and the Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility

 "Culture change" is the common name for a global initiative focused on transforming care for elders and individuals living with different abilities. It advocates for a shift from institutional methods of care delivery to practices and protocols that put the values and practices of the person first.

The Michigan project will center on education and coaching from The Eden Alternative®, a global non-profit organization dedicated to creating quality of life for elders and their care partners. The training is designed to help staff implement practices and protocols that gradually shift from institutional patterns of service delivery to care that is more individually tailored and oriented to honoring the voices and choices of the residents and those working most closely with them. It will emphasize closer connections between residents and staff, and how to configure daily operations to reflect the needs and preferences of each individual.

Altarum’s Program to Improve Eldercare will assess the impact and sustainability of culture change education by monitoring selected clinical quality measures, by analyzing quality-of-life reports from residents, family members and staff, and by assessing the economic impact. Anne Montgomery, Deputy Director of the Program to Improve Eldercare at Altarum, explains that “we will meet the participating nursing homes where they are and work within the realities of each home. Each will build on what they have already done.”

Altarum’s Sarah Slocum adds that “the communities we’re working with are all focusing on how to make life better for each resident, but what works will be somewhat different from home to home.  We’ll measure the varying impacts.” Slocum served as Michigan’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman from 2003 to 2016.

The six nursing homes participating in the project are eager to begin work:

  • “As a progressive provider of services to seniors, Beacon Hill at Eastgate is privileged to partner with Altarum and Eden in endeavoring to discover the best possible path toward knowing each of our resident’s personal needs, and fulfilling their needs through personalized care,” says Jeffrey Huegli, President and CEO.
  • “In over 27 years of service, The Eden Alternative philosophy is the best culture change catalyst I have seen,” Kevin Evans, Executive Director, Martha T. Berry Medical Care Facility says. “Once implemented, Eden training helps change employee perspectives and focus, moving away from a task based mentality towards true resident-centered care.”
  • According to Andrea Paladino, Chief Marketing Officer at Metron of Big Rapids and Metron of Forest Hills, “we are always striving to provide quality care for our patients and we are thrilled to be a part of this program. We know that our patients and our staff will thrive from learning new ways to grow our culture and provide the best quality of care.”
  • “The Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Centers at United and Kelsey Hospitals are honored and excited to be given the opportunity to embark on a cultural change journey with the Eden Alternative and Altarum,” says Shelly Parker, Nursing Home Administrator, Spectrum Health Rehab and Nursing Centers-United and Kelsey Hospitals. “Our facilities are excited to review our current processes and how to expand our services to promote and enhance the quality of lives for our residents, families and staff.”

Jill Vitale-Aussem, Eden Alternative President and CEO notes that “Eden Alternative Path to Mastery Guide services, a critical piece of this project, will provide dedicated consulting services to each nursing home, equipping teams with the information, skills and resources to drive and sustain this transformation long past the life of the project.”

Download this presentation to learn more about the project. 

Altarum is a nonprofit organization that works with federal and state agencies and foundations to design and implement solutions to improve the health of individuals with fewer financial resources and populations disenfranchised by the health care system. We achieve measurable results by combining our expertise in public health and health care delivery with technology, workforce training and continuing education, applied research, and technical assistance. Our innovative solutions lead to better health for beneficiaries and better value for payers.