Mission Health Services’ “Eden Alternatives” is a philosophy that changes
how average nursing homes are run. This non-profit organization aims at
improving the conditions of the average nursing home. The “Eden
Alternatives” core principals encourage long-term facilities to give more
personalized care in a more vibrant, relationship-rich environment that
focuses on helping the elderly advance through life.
Marla Devries of Mission Health Services talks about “The Eden Alternative:
Principles of Care.”
“The Eden Alternative: Principles of Care”
The Eden Alternative is an international not-for-profit organization based
on the core belief that aging is a continued stage of growth and
development, rather than a period of decline. The Eden Alternative’s
principle-based philosophy is a powerful tool guiding organizations
through the journey of culture change.
Guided by the Ten Principles of the Eden Alternative long-term care
organizations are seeking to eliminate the institutional plagues of
loneliness, helplessness, and boredom rampant in most long-term care
settings. Through human and animal companionship, opportunities for
residents to give as well as receive care, and environments rich in variety
and spontaneity, these nursing homes are becoming relationship-rich,
vibrant communities, rather than just places to die.
Some key aspects of the Eden Alternative principles at work at Mission
Health Services care communities include:
· Relationships are at the heart of creating a caring community.
Relationships between residents, with residents and staff, and the
organization’s relationship with residents’ family members are honored in
order to create a warm, vibrant environment.
· A place of belonging: Residents are known, not merely by their
medical needs, but by what makes them a unique individual, with unique
interests, hopes, and abilities.
· Resident-centered decision making: For the residents and their
families it’s the little things that matter; little things such as getting up and
going to bed when you want, eating foods you enjoy at the times you
prefer, having meaningful daily experiences with those you care about, and
having opportunities to be involved in the community. Residents are
partners with the staff in life at the Mission care communities.
· Medical treatment is the servant of genuine human caring. Eden
homes honor the rhythm of daily life for each resident, fitting in the
necessary medical services in a warm, nurturing environment.
· Staff are care partners with one another, the residents, and the
residents’ families to ensure individualized quality care for each resident.
Founded in 1994 by Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard-educated physician and
board certified geriatrician, the Eden Alternative recognizes over 200 long-
term care organizations across the United States committed to
implementing the Eden Alternative principles through the Eden Registry. Six
care communities in Utah have this distinction. In homes that have adopted
Eden as an organizational-wide philosophy, there is often improved staff
satisfaction and retention and significant decreases in the overuse of
medications and restraints.
Additionally Eden has spread internationally into Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Japan, Bermuda, Iceland, India, England, Denmark, Switzerland,
and other European countries. The mission of the Eden Alternative also
extends past the walls of the nursing home, offering support for the entire
continuum of care including environments for those individuals with
cognitive disabilities, and for individuals living in their own homes.
Mission Health Services offers a unique look at elderly living. Their
organization is committed to implementing the “Eden Alternatives: A
Principal of Care”, a philosophy that seeks to ensure those living within
long-term communities experience growth and comfort. They strive to
eliminate the typical long-term facility that is filled with loneliness and
boredom, and replace it with a vibrant atmosphere where residents feel a
place of belonging. Mission Health Services steps away from labeling
residents by their medical conditions, but rather identifies their individual
talents, interests, and abilities. The Eden Alternatives philosophy caters to
individual preferences with regards to meals, meal times, family visits, and
more. It also provides the residents with an opportunity to participate
within the community.
This non-profit organization’s unique principals are recognized in over 200
long-term care facilities across America, with six care communities in Utah
also committed to the Eden Alternatives. Mission Health Services is also
recognized internationally, and extends beyond the walls of nursing homes
by providing improved care to those with cognitive disabilities or those
living at home.