60 Seconds with ... Doug Pace, VP, Culture Transformation, AAHSA

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Q: Why the culture change push now?

A: One of (American Association of Homes and Services President) Larry Minnix's "five big ideas," issued in October at our annual meeting, is promoting culture change.

Q: What exactly does that mean?

A: We're talking about resident choice and staff empowerment. We're working closely with the Pioneer Network. We want to be a catalyst for our members and others to learn how they can improve the lives of the elders they serve and the quality of life for employees.

Q: Has your position as AAHSA's director of assisted living and continuing care helped?

A: Assisted living in some ways started as a culture change movement away from nursing homes. It showed you don't need a hospital-like setting to give some health service.

Q: Why bother formalizing this push?

A: We need it because it's the right thing to do. If you look at the history of long-term care, and specifically nursing homes, many years ago in their infancy they were sort of an outgrowth of the hospital institutional model. At that time, that was probably the right thing to do.

Q: What will this require from providers?

A: It takes a lot of re-organization. You're starting to see from places like the Greenhouse in Tupelo, MS — you will shift more of your direct-care dollars to frontline caregivers. We're really talking about an administrator being brave and being able to allow certain tasks to be delegated down the chain of authority.