To keep pace with the medical and nursing complexity of geriatric patients who were leaving hospitals and skilled facilities, the Fields quickly increased the number and qualifications of the nursing staff. An early initiative Dr. Hopkins undertook was to paying tuition and test fees for any of the staff interested in Hospice certifications.
Several staff passed the national examinations and later re-certifications and the Fields was out front in the hospice/assisted living movement. Dr. Hopkins and friends built the Hyder Family Hospice House and John was the last board chairman of the Seacoast Hospice.
For 2021 and beyond, health care at all levels faces a critical staff shortage in several disciplines.
The core, key staff of the Fields are Licensed Nurses Assistants and they are in short supply. The Fields have LNA training programs in conjunction with Dover High School at Watson and with LNA Health Careers at Bellamy. Bellamy also trains Medication-certified LNA’s, an advanced skill level that entitles LNA’s to dispense medications under the supervision of licensed nurses at both communities.
Many families searching for the right community for their elders are gratified by our approach to care and comfort. Palliative care is a clinical philosophy and Hospice is in a distinct Medicare coverage category. Together, they represent a range of care options that are highly specialized. American medicine in geriatrics is coming to grips with the reality that not all diseases, illnesses and complex syndromes of aging can be cured.
Consequently, the expectations of the patients and families turn to quality of life considerations, rather than quantity of life. Bellamy and Watson are prepared to develop treatment plans that carry out family values around quality of life.
Licensed Nurses Aids are in short supply and Watson Administrator, Wendy Switzer works with the Dover High School and American Red Cross to use Watson Fields as a training site for LNA’s. Wendy serves on the Board of the New Hampshire Association of Residential Care Facilities as well.
The social model of assisted living falls short of the needs of today’s complex geriatric residents. The Fields are developing the new professionals who will unify healthcare and hospitality for maximum quality of life.