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Visitors cross ocean for ideas

July 13, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

ryant@herald-mail.com

Residents of Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro had some visitors from across the ocean Monday.

A group of long-term senior-care providers from Japan visited Reeders as part of an exchange program between Asbury Services and senior centers in Yonago and Osaka, Japan.

The program is designed to give the two groups a chance to share ideas on improving care for senior citizens.

Tatsuko Kobayashi, director of Kohoen Corp., said long-term senior care is becoming important in Japanese society.

"(Senior) care is getting mainstream," she said. "It's not easy. Alzheimer's and dementia are creating a push for better care."

Asbury's assistant general counsel and compliance officer, Andy Joseph, said the United States and Japan face a growing demand for long-term senior care.

"The typical model of seniors staying at home isn't possible anymore," he said. "Japan is going through some challenges."

Kobayashi said having three generations of family under a single roof is no longer practical. The society is aging and more women are working, so senior centers are becoming necessary, she said.

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The officials from the Kohoen group in Yonago and the Jikyo-Kan group in Osaka were the third group to visit an Asbury affiliate since the program began in 2000. It was the first group to visit Reeders.

"The program has created benchmarking: sharing ideas on how to deliver care," said Doug Leidig, Asbury's chief operating officer. "We want to mutually face problems and progress."

"We want to learn from each other how to provide higher quality senior care," Takeshi Yabumoto, office chief at the Social Welfare Corp. in Kohoen, said through an interpreter.

Reeders Executive Director Melissa Hadley, Director of Nursing Marlene Gay, Joseph and Leidig led a tour of the center.

The group spent much of the visit in Lincoln Terrace, the ward for residents with Alzheimer's and dementia.

Group members jotted notes about patient-to-nurse ratios during night and day shifts, privacy in the residents' rooms, visiting hours and patient-care plans. They also snapped pictures of the rooms.

Yabumoto said the center's "soothing room" was something that his hospital had not included in its facilities, but had studied.

The dimly lighted room is filled with reclining chairs and stereos that project sounds of the wind, ocean and other relaxing sounds and is used for patients who might suffer from anxiety in group settings.

"I'm interested in implementing that," he said.

"There are a lot of similarities between the care provided in Japan and the United States, but I believe there are a lot of things we can incorporate," he said.

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