Eden Alternative has positive effect on residents

Harbourview Lodge embraces the Eden Alternative model.

By Corey Aalders

From its state-of-the-art building made from responsibly sourced and non-toxic materials to its person-directed care model, Harbourview Lodge Continuing Care Centre embraces a mission to provide the best care to residents.

Sunlight, gardens, fresh air and nature views were all key elements of the Sheet Harbour building’s design, along with the mandate to make it feel like home. That approach is paying off for residents.

Recently, The Eden Alternative® Registry, which recognizes organizations for their commitment to improving quality of life and care for the people they serve, added Harbourview to its list, recognizing a high level of quality.

A group of leaders and employees at Harbourview Lodge, which is staffed by NSHA employees, also completed professional development training in person-directed care, created and delivered by The Eden Alternative. Person-directed care is structured around the unique needs, preferences, and desires of the individual. Through this approach, decisions and actions around care honor the voices and choices of care recipients and those working most closely with them.

Separated into ”neighbourhoods”, Harbourview Lodge offers three distinct homes: Oceanview Court, Lighthouse Way and Gardenview Terrace. The neighbourhoods are all connected, each has common rooms with fireplaces and large-screen televisions and a kitchenette, which becomes a lively gathering space.

For resident Helen Spears, the Harbourview provides the accommodations she needs to feel at home.

“I was at a Halifax nursing home. I was on the seventh floor and couldn’t leave because of my fear of elevators,” says Spears. “I am from Sheet Harbour, so when my room became available in March, I came here to this nice one-level facility.

“I am certainly happy to be back home; all my friends and my family are here. My relatives visit more; it’s good company.”

Staff receive detailed education and training to promote choice in the everyday lives of residents, and affirm their independence and feelings of belonging.

“Our goal is to become fully Eden-certified and represent the highest standard of care for our residents, in surroundings that are comfortable, social, engaging and welcoming,” said Roberta Duchesne, health services manager.

“Residents are free to choose their routine and we want them to feel completely at home. We want them to live life the way they want to live. Residents can eat when they want, sleep when they want, decorate their rooms the way they want.”

Resident Zona Hutt describes Harbourview Lodge as “a lovely place to live.”

“They have all kinds of fun activities. In the morning we play a game called Farkle. It’s a dice game. I am normally good at dice games, but I Farkle all the time!”

Harbourview Lodge's programming and activities aim to enrich residents’ lives.  The programs are fulfilling and encourage residents to celebrate the joy of every day.

“The residents are happy. They enjoy the activities that we have,” said Sandra Carver, recreation co-ordinator. “We do a ton of activities like bowling, crafts, movies and bingo. The ones that don’t like bingo, we take out on the new bus for a drive along the water.

“We have Church once a week. We celebrate birthdays together instead of doing individual days, so we have one big party each month, with cake and local music.”

Harbourview Lodge’s commitment to the resident’s quality of care and access to the things they enjoy has resulted in a home atmosphere filled with laughter and smiling faces.

Treating residents with dignity and respect has encouraged them to participate fully in their environment.