CaringEdge is a program Edgewood Healthcare has rolled out across multiple communities to connect residents with care services and resources as close to home as possible. Not only do we view it as a way to reduce distance that needs to be travelled for appointments, but also as a way to coordinate better care delivery as a cohesive team of Edgewood professionals and clinical partners.
The benefits of the CaringEdge have already been discussed, but it's worth seeing them in action again to realize how progressive and valuable the program is.
Take Danielle Wallner's story for example. A speech language pathologist working with geriatric patient populations for over 20 years, Wallner recently became part of CaringEdge after her employer, All Care Home Health, merged under Edgewood Healthcare. One of the only speech therapists working with seniors with dementia in Idaho, Wallner has credited the united approach of CaringEdge as being uniquely beneficial for residents, as well as for herself.
Each day is different
As a speech language pathologist who's dementia-care certified, Wallner's main professional responsibilities include cognitive assessment and voice treatment. She specializes in evaluating a resident's current mental function, like their capacity for problem solving and new learning. These competencies factor heavily into communication skills and how Wallner works with residents living with dementia to ensure a high quality of life.
For example, consider if a resident's physical condition requires them to use a walker, but cognitive decline makes it difficult to learn without having used such equipment before. Wallner's expertise is crucial here, helping seniors to grasp new situations and refine their comprehension and communicative abilities to fit their needs.
Wallner' also devotes her attention to working with family and staff, who interact with residents and need similar education on memory loss and communication. Getting the most out of a visit is an oft-broached topic with loved ones, she says, while staff also need strategies for engaging residents. It's this responsibility that Wallner sees as being among the most meaningful.
Yet while Wallner's general duties may remain the same, she travels from community to community in Idaho. That variance paired with the nature of cognitive decline means each day is different. But it's the team effort and inclusivity of the CaringEdge that helps her manage the day-to-day and provide the best care to residents.
"It makes my job so easy, to feel welcome at the community, not just as professional, but as a member of the team," Wallner says. "All the Edgewood staff know me by name and feel comfortable enough to come to me with questions and concerns. We all see each other as a resource and work hard to set each other up for success."
Collaboration improves care quality
It is this coordinated approach to on-premise care that Wallner identifies as being the driving force of what makes CaringEdge so successful.
"Care is becoming more complex, and the thing I love about Edgewood is the vision they had to create this model to keep residents as safe, healthy and independent as possible for as long as possible," she says, mentioning how residents can transition from home health to hospice under the care of a unified team.
"It's this dynamic partnership between direct care and therapists and staff that enables more and better services to benefit the quality of life," Wallner continues.
The level of dedication Wallner sees from Edgewood is something she says inspires her to strive and provide the highest level of care to residents. That goal is further strengthened by what she finds to be the perfect partner in Edgewood.
"I don't even know how to say it other than I'm spoiled with Edgewood," Wallner says. "The lines of communication are so strong and everyone's held to a higher standard, which leads to all parties involved doing their job tremendously. The level of nursing care is fantastic."
In many ways, Wallner chalks up that high level of performance to Edgewood's commitment to providing for residents in any and all ways.
"They are fiercely invested in their work, and protective of residents," she says.
Wallner has seen the positive effects of the CaringEdge program first-hand, as well as the dedicated services Edgewood offers each resident. Not only has this impacted her professional career, but also her personally. Knowing that only Edgewood could offer her grandmother the level of care and amount of attention she needed, Wallner recently got her loved one to move from Florida to Idaho.
"I know she will be treated so incredibly well and cared for mentally, physically and emotionally," Wallner says.
She says an activity director for Edgewood even volunteered to fly out and help with the move, yet another factor that Wallner cited as showing the lengths to which Edgewood will go.