Two elders reading in the galleria at the Jewish Home

Learning Matters in 2008

Accountants from Japan tour the Home and discuss the business side of elder care

The Jewish Home’s reputation – not only in the community but abroad now, too – means that it has become a destination point for various groups and entities wishing to tour our facility and learn about our services. Last month a group of accountants from Japan were given a tour of our campus by Edwin Cabigao, chief nursing officer, followed by a discussion with Kevin Potter, director of Finance, Shirley Huan, controller, Serena Lei-Ng, assistant controller, and Tiffany Luong, financial analyst.

Apparently there is a great shortage of nurses in Japan. When the visitors enquired about how the Home recruits nurses, Edwin could proudly tell them that, as the Home is well known for being a provider of high quality care and services, nurses actually approach us about employment opportunities.

American Institute of Architects’ Design for Aging has their eye on the Home’s design

Design for Aging Group of the San Francisco American Institute of Architects will be given a tour of our campus by the Home’s medical director, Dr. Jay Luxenberg, in January. The mission of this group is to foster design innovation and responsiveness, and to disseminate knowledge necessary to enhance the built environment and quality of life for an aging society. They are looking forward to learning what staff and residents consider to be favorable or unfavorable physical aspects of the Home.

Making music means making memories

Dr. Theresa Allison, director of STARS, our short-term and rehabilitation services unit, is also a musicologist. Dr. Allison is so impressed with the Home’s music program that she selected it as the topic of her doctoral dissertation, currently in progress. Recently Dr. Allison spoke to a gathering at the residence of dedicated Jewish Home supporters Paulette Meyer and David Friedman (past chair of the Home’s board of trustees) on Singing and Songwriting, Music and Memory at the Jewish Home. Among her findings: music programs keep our residents engaged in our community; music evokes memories; and miraculously, even people with dementia can remember songs.

CNE gets prepped – boot-camp style – for upcoming survey

Edwin Cabigao, chief nursing officer, attended a week-long training in Chicago covering the Department of Public Health’s annual survey. The intensive, hands-on program by HCPro, an industry authority in healthcare regulation and compliance, included the new Quality Indicator Survey (QIS), a comprehensive review of all the federal tags, and instruction on how to respond to citations and immediate jeopardy deficiencies. Participants were given mock survey tools and other useful measures for continuous quality improvement.

Putting his past experience together with this recent training, Edwin has compiled two manuals that will help prepare our staff for the coming survey. Jewish Home Survey Resource Manual and Jewish Home Survey Tools are now available for review on all our units.

Sherie Koshover talks about the Home’s initiatives

The board of trustees of Menorah Park senior housing in San Francisco met at the Home on Tuesday, October 7. Sherie Koshover, director of Corporate Planning & Communications, made a presentation to them about the Home’s current and future initiatives, followed by a tour of our campus.

… and discusses trends in senior living in Miami

As a guest of his firm, Sherie Koshover was invited by Dave Mitani, principal with The Steinberg Group, the architectural firm for the Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, to co-present with him on Trends in Senior Living to the Senior Housing Council of the Urban Land Institute at their conference in Miami, October 29-31.

Dr. Jay Luxenberg views aging from a humanities perspective

The Home’s medical director, Dr. Jay Luxenberg, participated in UC Berkeley’s “Engaging Aging Through the Humanities” conference on October 11. The purpose of the conference was to look at aging and old age through the various lenses of the arts and humanities, and to that end included presentations and discussions with a poet, a dancer/choreographer, a neurolinguist, a photographer, an anthropologist, and a musician-neuroscientist. Considering the humanities and aging aspect was Dr. Luxenberg, whose talk was aptly titled A physician looks at the humanities and aging.

Medical director to present at AMDA’s 2009 annual symposium

Dr. Jay Luxenberg’s abstract, Innovative Uses of Lighting in Long-Term Care, has been accepted for oral presentation at the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA) 2009 Annual Symposium, to be held March 5 – 8, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

This year, over 100 abstracts were submitted to AMDA. In order to formulate a balanced program that meets their learners’ educational needs, the Program Committee had to reject some strong abstracts, allot less time to some, while others were asked to share time slots or combine their presentations. Dr. Luxenberg’s abstract (described below) will be included in the educational program as part of a shared session.

Session description:

Innovations in the use of ambient lighting and light therapy to address problems associated with dementia and frailty in long-term care residents will be discussed. In particular, using sunlight, increased broad spectrum ‘bright light,’ and specific light spectrums such as blue light, can potentially alleviate day-night reversal and other circadian disturbances associated with dementias, and address daytime somnolence and nighttime insomnia in elderly residents across the long-term care continuum.


Collaborating on exam rewrite

Chief Administrative Officer Sandra Simon was one of several Aging Services of California members who collaborated in April 2008 to rewrite the exam items used on the nursing home administrators examination. A beta test of the new exam items will be given in November, and the new exam will begin in January 2009.

At conference for chronic kidney disease …

Nurse practitioner Jennifer Serafin attended a June 2008 conference in Seattle on chronic kidney disease and the long-term care patient . She learned the new staging of chronic kidney disease and the ways in which we can help those with this ailment.

… and one for philanthropy

Director of Development Mark Denton recently attended the conference of the Association of Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP) in Portland, Oregon. AHP addresses the needs of professional fundraisers working in hospitals, long-term care facilities, and healthcare educational institutions. The conference focused on best practices and important new trends in philanthropy. Presenters included the Mayo Foundation (talking about donor relations), the Scripps Health Foundation (talking about planned gifts), and Seattle’s Group Health Foundation (talking about benchmarks for fundraising).

Update on research

Current projects being conducted at the Jewish Home by in-house and outside research investigators address issues related to aging.

The Home’s Research director, Dr. Janice Schwartz, is examining how a person’s age, race, gender, and other genetic factors influence the effectiveness and tolerability of commonly prescribed medications. In addition, she is studying the effects of vitamin D supplements on blood cholesterol, lipid, and cholesterol drug (Lipitor) levels. Drs. Glenna Dowling and Dr. Jay Luxenberg (medical director) are investigating strategies – such as bright light therapy and melatonin administration – for improving the rhythm and quality of the sleep-wake cycle in persons with Alzheimer’s disease.

Research conducted by Dr. Theresa Allison, in collaboration with Drs. Laura Hill-Sakurai and Kenneth Covinsky, focuses on enhancing quality of life. They are evaluating how music and the maintenance of caring relationships contribute positively to the well-being of individuals residing in long-term care facilities.

Two other researchers are seeking to better understand how people make important healthcare decisions and have applied to conduct research at the Jewish Home. Dr. Laura Dunn is exploring how relatives of people with Alzheimer’s or other dementia consider research, and how they make decisions on behalf of their loved ones regarding research participation. Dr. Sharon Kaufman is examining how older people and their family members decide whether or not to pursue life-extending medical treatments or procedures. Results from these studies will help educate healthcare providers and researchers about significant concerns that patients and families share as they approach such challenging decisions.

Dr. Luxenberg focuses on delirium

The Home’s medical director, Dr. Jay Luxenberg, was interviewed on “Spotlight,” the Podcast of Clinical Neurology News (March 14, 2008 edition), when he elaborated on the importance of recognizing and treating delirium. Delirium – a potentially reversible confusion that can be due to drugs, illness, dehydration, and many other causes – is a common problem in elderly persons.

On the circuit

A number of staff participated in various events during May, 2008.

ADN Joan Accarino went to Pasadena, Calif., for an end-of-life nursing education consortium. She tells us: “The training session I attended focused on promoting palliative care in geriatric settings. Attendees were from long-term, hospice and acute care, and even the prison system, where we are facing major aging-related issues.

“Discussions included the principles of palliative care, ethical issues, pain and non-pain symptoms at the end of life; loss, grief and bereavement for the family and caregivers; and self-care strategies. Lectures, videos and role-playing were used throughout the teaching sessions. Sharing ideas and experiences was a wonderful learning tool.

“I went to the consortium with the knowledge that the Home is good in the areas of pain management and end-of-life care. What I learned there is that we really are very good. However, we also have a long way to go. I hope over the next year everyone in the organization will be introduced to these basic concepts and that we will continue to develop and fine-tune our programs.”

Rabbi Sheldon Marder spoke on the same theme, end-of-life, for the TV program Mosaic (which aired on CBS’s ch. 5 on May 18). Hosted by Rabbi Eric Weiss, executive director of Bay Area Jewish Healing Center, co-guests were Gene Kaufman (executive director, Sinai Memorial Chapel) and Lee Pollak (NextSteps program director). Rabbi Marder and volunteer Helen Luey discussed Kol Haneshama, the Home’s award-winning end-of-life care program.

President & CEO Daniel Ruth, Sandra Simon (chief administrative officer), and Dean Fredrickson (director of Operations) attended Aging Services of California’s annual conference and exposition in San Diego. Aging Services’ members include 400-plus non-profit providers of senior living and care throughout the state, which together serve the needs of more than 100,000 seniors. Although not physically present, many Jewish Home staff were nevertheless seen at this event: For a slide show that was featured at the conference, we submitted 23 images showcasing a range of our staff – from Nutritional Services, Nursing, Medical Services, Activities, Pharmacy, etc., – that captured the spirit and essence of our Home.

RN Marina Rubin (Staff Education) attended the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology meeting in Walnut Creek, while Pharmacy’s director Tom Bookwalter and Jane Chan, pharmacist-in-charge, traveled to Las Vegas for the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists’ geriatric conference. ASCP is the international professional association that advances the practice of consultant and senior care pharmacy.

Las Vegas was also the destination for Finance director Kevin Potter. The site of bankers Cain Brothers’ annual Health Care Derivatives and Finance Conference, finance professionals in health care learned about new opportunities, heard about strategies other institutions are employing to manage the current volatility in the economy, and networked with peers.

The written word

Drs. Jay Luxenberg, Medical Director, Janice Schwartz, director of Research, and Theresa Allison recently had a number of chapters and papers published in books and related medical journals.

Dr. Jay Luxenberg collaborated on a chapter in “Physiological Basis of Aging and Geriatrics” (4th edition). Entitled Pharmacology and Drug Management in the Elderly, it focuses on how best to evaluate the utility of a drug for use in the elderly. It notes therein that “studies have demonstrated that the elderly are two to three times more at risk for adverse drug reactions as compared to younger adults.” (p. 358)

Luxenberg’s second collaborative effort appears in “Behavioral Medicine: A Guide for Clinical Practice” (3rd edition). Older Patients focuses on mental health and illness, and provides some case discussions that illustrate how clinicians can effectively treat the vulnerable elderly. And this one is hot off the presses: Dowling GA, Graf CL, Hubbard EM and Luxenberg JS. Light Treatment for Neuropsychiatric Behaviors in Alzheimer’s Disease. West J Nurs Res 29: 2007; 961-975.

The spoken (and written) word

Dr. Janice Schwartz will participate in a project funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation in collaboration with the American College of Cardiology and the Society of Geriatric Cardiology, supported in part by the Donald Reynolds Foundation and Association of Subspecialty Professors. This two-year project is designed to develop a modular, Internet-based educational tool for cardiology fellows to teach key concepts of caring for older adults with cardiovascular disorders (through a series of case-based and interactive learning modules), as well as improve knowledge, skills, and confidence in providing optimal care for older adults. The first meeting to start writing the curriculum will be in Washington, D.C., February 19-20, 2008.

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