Our Changing Language, A Message From The Executive Director

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Plymouth-Village-308.jpgWe often hear people referring to certainties in life noting that there are very few things that are certain. How many times have you heard someone say the only certain things in life are death and taxes? While this is a pretty bullet proof statement, I would challenge it suggesting we need the constant of change to this list.

Change is inevitable with thousands of years of evidence supporting the fact that the inability to change leads to extinction of species and failures of civilizations. Plymouth Village is not immune to change. Residents and team members with longevity at Plymouth Village would likely be able to list numerous changes ranging from business systems, regulatory environments, activity content, methods of care, billing and clinical systems, dining services, resident preferences, and more. Yes, change is a daily occurrence that we often fail to embrace.

Perhaps one of our more subtle changes has been our language as it refers to our community, our philosophy of living, and expectations of service provided. Philosophy of living is one of those subtle changes, as not long ago, we spoke about care and levels of care. During our last CARF/CCAC accreditation process, we received our accreditation in Person Directed Care.

This demonstrated our commitment to changing the philosophy of how care is provided by celebrating that a resident is the expert of their life and should have significant input into how services are provided and what services are provided. At the time, we focused on our Village and the services offered there. With a Masterpiece Living, this concept quickly expanded to our Village. Yes, subtle changes in terminology abound that make subtle changes in our culture and the way we interact every day.

I will never forget a conversation I had with a visitor, now a resident, who was comparing communities. After experiencing Plymouth Village, this individual made a comment to me that several other communities they had toured, felt like places they would go to die. However, after arriving at Plymouth Village, they knew they had found a place to come and live! Indeed, this is what we are about; the vibrancy of life, living, continuing to learn, and grow.

When I am asked by a person having picked up on some of our choice of language, we have to smile knowing that the change has been recognized. Each selected word supports our philosophy of engagement, ownership in living, and self-determination. Others are empowering speaking to the philosophy of service or self-direction.

Consider the following:

  • Level of living vs. level of care. Level of living speaks to vibrancy and active, intentional living whereas level of care conjures visions of being actively cared for as one is no longer capable of doing for one’s self or making decisions.
  • Village vs. skilled nursing facility. Village speaks to community, activity, closeness, and family whereas skilled nursing facility creates the feeling of dependence, frailty, and sickness. Our Village promotes return to home and attainment of one’s goals.
  • Team member vs. staff member. Team supports the fact that we are all vital to the overall success of our community and mission whereas staff member is more singular, leaving out the significance of the strength attained through the sum of the pieces.

Look for more subtleties in our changing language and I ask for your input and ideas moving forward as truly the combined input of all is greater than any single person can realize.

- Keith Kasin, Executive Director

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