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Beth Baker
Beth Baker
Q: What impressed you most after visiting 24 nursing homes around the country?

A: It was fascinating that people, independent of one another, were coming up with very similar ways to transform nursing homes. People (residents) were content and serene. I visited all kinds of facilities, including those with high Medicaid populations, and those associated with the Eden Alternative, Green House, Kendal, Pioneer Network and others.

Q: What struck you most?

A: How inextricably linked residents and staff are. You cannot have high quality of care when you have staff turnover of 70% to 100%.

Q: How else did your thinking evolve?

A: I honestly came to believe that the traditional model contributes to residents being slumped over, resigned to being miserable. I want to stress this is a systemic problem. This is not about blaming bad people (caregivers). There needs to be an overhaul, and it doesn't necessarily have to be the (physical) building. It's culture change, not building change.

Q: What does “culture change” mean?

A: It's about allowing individual choices, empowering staff, involving pets and children, and more homelike designs.

Q: Any surprises since your book came out earlier this year?

A: I haven't been getting “push-back” from providers. I'm not hearing a lot of defensive reaction.

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