A New Kind of Nursing Home


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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa – Some may call it a non-traditional way to run a nursing home and it’s happening right behind the walls of Oakwood Care Center in Clear Lake.

“They’re working hard on this so it’s something that we all would like,” says Hazel Miller.

Hazel has been a resident at Oakwood for almost 7 years and she’s seen a lot.

“It amazes me the people that come, we see people come in and be scared and back and don’t day anything but in no time they’re friends,” explains Miller.

That’s in part thanks to an initiative they’re using here:

Person Directed Care” – or, PDC is meant to put residents like Hazel in the driver’s seat.

“[It] is really about giving our residents as many opportunities in being empowered to make all the decisions in their daily lives as possible,” says Oakwood staff member, Katie Mason.

The nursing home started implementing the model of care about six years ago and it changed the entire way the facility operates.

“No longer do we wake up our residents at the same time every morning just because that’s the time we decide you want to get up, we don’t tell you when you have to eat we don’t just put your meal in front of you and say this is what you’re going to eat,” adds Mason.

PDC is spreading in popularity across Iowa and it’s quickly becoming a new standard. Traditionally, nursing homes stick to a medical model where people are treated based on their diagnosis and medical needs.

But PDC nursing homes recognize the difficulty some residents have when they move into a place like Oakwood.

“Before our residents moved here they had daily routines, they had habits, they had families, they had hobbies and none of that should change just because they moved into a nursing home,” says Mason.

And long-time residents like Hazel notice the difference.

“It’s home, it really is the place to be,” says Miller.

Oakwood Care Center is working towards being a certified Personal Directed Care facility; they are about 75% of the way there and hope to complete certification this year.

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