By Jean Clark
Several groups enjoy entertaining for the appreciative, although captive, audience of elders in the Wharton Homes. It has been three and a half years since the four new Wharton Homes opened in Pleasant Hill. They were named for three previous medical directors — Doctors Braun, Dougherty, Lake and Munson. Each home houses 15 or 16 residents and is served by its own team. Two homes join into a “neighborhood” with access to an outside garden and have common areas where the residents may come together for special activities.
Uplands Village staff members and volunteers continually update their Eden Alternative training by attending workshops both in-house and throughout the country. They collaborate with family and the elders of the Wharton Homes to make them truly elder-centered, creating a home where life revolves around close and continuing contact with other people. The Eden Alternative is a person-directed care philosophy. It is dedicated to creating care environments that promote quality of life for Elders and those who support them as care partners.
Walking into one of the homes is quite different than what might have been experienced in nursing facilities in past years. You may see volunteers calling out bingo numbers as elders and youngsters eagerly search their cards. Sally Nash, activities director, has instituted a student corps made up of young people who enjoy volunteering during their school vacations. They can be seen playing catch with either ball or balloon, playing parachute w/ balloon, pushing elders in their chairs or just visiting. Many of them are children of staff workers.
Two puppy dogs, Lucy and Harley, belonging to a staff member may be seen snuggling on the laps of elders. Another dog, named Scarlet, comes with a visitor of one of the elders. One of the elders has a cat who comes to visit periodically as she is only there temporarily. Wharton Homes has an open pet policy. Pets just have to have a current rabies vaccine on file. On these cold days a cheery fire burns in the fireplaces of the hearth gathering rooms.
The May Cravath Wharton Association sponsored Christmas parties in each of the four homes. They purchased gifts for around 60 children of the staff and all elders. There were several visiting performers during the holidays. The Pleasant Hill Ensemble and the Pleasant Hill Noters dulcimer group entertained. Several church youth and choir groups regaled elders and led sing-a-longs. An assemblage from Cumberland Fellowship gave gift bags to several elders without family close by. Each of the homes had New Year's Eve parties with sparkling cider, cheese, crackers and sausage.
Recently, Wharton Homes has had two very good surveys by the state and federal surveyors from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare.gov rates nursing facilities on a basis of one to five stars. They were informed that their rating has increased to four stars and, when all the reports have been processed, will most likely increase again to the highest level of five stars.
These stars represent quality care. Achieving this outstanding rating has been accomplished through the hard work of all the staff at the Wharton Homes. The Eden concepts have assisted them to accomplish these high standards. The Wharton Homes are known throughout this area for compassionate care, which has now been confirmed by these recent surveys.
Of great help to people in the surrounding areas, Uplands Village has been approved for Medicare A/skilled care. This means that the Wharton Homes are able to provide in-patient rehab services and patients may utilize their Medicare A benefits in the Homes.
This week in Pleasant Hill:
Friday, Jan. 17 — Chili dinner and fellowship at 6 p.m. at the Pleasant Hill Baptist Mission at the corner of Main St. and Browntown Rd. The dinner is free, but bring toppings and dessert. See www.phillbaptist.com.
Monday, Jan. 20 — Court of Honor for Pleasant Hill Boy Scout Troop 170 at 6 p.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community House at Main and Church Streets. See www.phtroop170.weebly.com.
Tuesday, Jan. 21 — Hike at Cane Creek Park, Cookeville and Cummins Falls overlook, Cummins Falls State Park, 10 miles northwest of Cookeville. Meet at 10:30 a.m. in the Pleasant Hill Community Church parking lot on the corner of Church and Main Streets to carpool to the trailhead. Contact Cheryl Heckler at firstname.lastname@example.org or 277-3518 ext 103.