- 2019 Posts
- Local Donation Avenues
- SNAP Benefits Will Be Funded Through February & Will Be Issued by January 20
- Tish Rudnicki Joins North Shore Senior Center as Executive Director
+ 2018 Posts
- Navigating the Holidays with a Family Member Living with Dementia
- Caregiver Specialist Heather Resnick on Caregiver Support
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren
- Center Launches North Shore Senior Options
- On Blindness, Alzheimer's and Love
- Shared Vision: Winnetka Congregational Church Woman's Society Benevolence Committee
- Protecting Seniors and Adults with Disabilities: Adult Protective Services
- A Jack of All Trades: Al Davis
- Family Tradition: Gone Fishin'
- Dedicated Volunteer: Fern Kamen
- Generous Soul: Mitchell Slotnick
- Assessing the Older Adult Members of your Family
- Giving Back: Fay Goldblatt
- Adult Protective Services (APS) Program Benefits from Shamrock Shindig
- Humble Beginnings: Bobbi Halloran
+ 2017 Posts
- Arts and Crafts at the Center
- #GivingTuesday at North Shore Senior Center
- Leisure Time Well Spent - Daytrips at the Center
- New Advisory Council Formed
- Playreading with Vivian Mitchel
- North Shore Senior Center's Foundation Board
- Wills vs. Trusts
- Joan Golder Distinguished Senior Lecture Series showcased actor Mike Nussbaum
- 20/20 Corporate Campaign
- Functional Fitness: Training for Everyday Life
- Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Memory Loss
- Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Benefit from Oktoberfest
- Small Screen Big Stars: Oh What a Night!
- Sharing a Common Thread
- Helping You Make Informed Choices for Care
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Distinguished Community Partner
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Dedicated Corporation
- 2017 Janet Burgoon Philanthropic Excellence Award for Outstanding Philanthropist
- Special Needs Trusts
- Gifts in Kind Increase the Center's Impact
- Enrich your Life with Lifelong Learning
- A Little TLC Goes a Long Way
- PEARLS: Reducing Symptoms of Depression Home-based Counseling Services Available
- Big Stars to Chair Annual Benefit
- Evanston Community Foundation
- Million Dollar Round Table Foundation
- Super Senior Day
- New Physical Therapy Services Now Available at North Shore Senior Center!
- Stroke Prevention Tips
- Why Powers of Attorney are Important to You!
- Get Expert Help with Your Tax Returns
- North Shore Senior Center Awarded Gold Status for Philanthropic Efforts
- Fitness as a Goal for Life
- Men's Club Offers Unique Programs to Community
- Spread the Love at North Shore Senior Center
- Jean Griswold Foundation supports House of Welcome Adult Day Services
- "I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for people." - Maya Angelou
- "A true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart." - Zeus from Hercules
- Winter Safety and Health Tips
- "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself." - Joseph Campbell
- A Granddaughter's Love for her Grandmother
- Six Things to Consider Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren
- Lending Closet for Durable Medical Equipment at North Shore Senior Center
- Seniors Can Save Lives by Donating Blood
+ 2016 Posts
- Lifelong Learning Catalog Wins International Award for Best Brochure
- Life Stories are Gifts that Keep on Giving
- Visiting Aging Parents During the Holidays
- Edna Weber Garden of Light Wing at the House of Welcome
- Learn More About What Makes This World Tick
- 60 Years of Service: Advocacy
- 60 Years of Service: Compassion
- Myrna and John Cruikshank, III: Steady and Committed Philanthropists
- Kenilworth United Fund: Longstanding, Civic-Minded Community Partner
- Radford Green at Sedgebrook: Dedicated Corporation and Vested Supporter
- Simple Tips to Improve Your Balance
- 60 Years of Service: Creativity
- Daily Money Management Fosters Peace of Mind
- Opportunities for Learning, Exploring, and Connecting
- The Edna Weber "Garden of Light" Wing
- Protecting Vulnerable Seniors: Adult Protective Services Promotes Quality of Life
- Top Ten Reasons Why Older Adults Continue to Work
- Super Seniors We Admire!
- Scams and Fraud: Protect Yourself
- The State's Devastating Impact on Our Budget
- North Shore Senior Center Southern Hub Moves to Niles
- Alzheimer's Family Support Group
- Evanston Support Group for Family Caregivers
- Family Caregiver Support Group in Skokie
+ 2015 Posts
- Music + Dance + Dialogue = A Musical!
- Flex and Strengthen Your Muscles
- Generous & Caring Corporate Citizen
- More Than Service and Fellowship
- Art Gallery a "Hidden Gem" at North Shore Senior Center
- Sound Off on Hearing Loss
- Making Sense of American Poltics
- Fitness Center Enhances More Than Muscle Strength
- Virtual View of Art: From the Basics to Specialties
- Social Connections are a Key to Successful Aging
- North Shore Senior Center Celebrates Super Seniors!
- Super Senior Spotlight
- What is a Senior Center?
- MDRT Foundation Aids Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Program
- Social Worker Reaches Out to Seniors in Need
- How to Achieve Your Healthiest Brain Yet
- AmazonSmile: Your Online Shopping Can Help NSSC!
+ 2014 Posts
Helping You Make Informed Choices for CareAugust 15, 2017
By Jan Klingberg
You are 70 years old and you’ve just had hip replacement surgery at Lutheran General Hospital—or another area hospital—and are about ready for discharge. Chances are you have met one of the case managers from North Shore Senior Center’s Choices for Care program!
After your physician wrote an order for your release to a skilled nursing facility for short-term rehabilitation, the behind-the-scenes work of discharge planning immediately kicked into gear. A hospital social worker likely asked which facility you preferred. Before you could actually be transferred, though, a case manager from the Choices program stopped at your bedside. This visit was to verify that you needed skilled care and to provide information about all of the options for care available to you.
The State of Illinois created the Choices for Care program in 1996 to address costs and quality-of-life issues related to institutional care versus care in the home. The Center is one of several organizations statewide that has a contract to prescreen seniors before they are placed in an extended care facility. This pre-screening—or an immediate screening after placement—is required to confirm that skilled care is the best option for the patient’s safety, care and comfort.
For example, George (the patient’s name was changed and some details altered to protect privacy) had undergone an intensive inpatient treatment process for an autoimmune disorder that caused progressive muscle weakness. He had improved enough with therapy for his doctor to recommend that he could continue his rehab in a skilled care facility. Ning Sun, MA, supervisor of the Choices for Care program at the Center, received the referral to do George’s pre-screening before his scheduled discharge. Ning talked with him about his ability to care for himself, his home situation, and how he was doing. Ning learned that although he was feeling stronger, he still had considerable numbness in his feet and a bit in his hands. He could cut his food and feed himself, brush his teeth, and wash his hair. Yet getting into the bathroom to shower or use the toilet was a challenge. Ning also could see that George was alert and able to make his own decisions about care. He understood that going to a facility for short-term rehab was the best way for him to recover and regain strength.
But George was apprehensive about how he would manage after his discharge from a skilled nursing facility. He already had decided to live with his daughter for a time until he was ready to return to his own apartment. George and his daughter were both concerned, though, about how he would navigate the stairs to the second floor bathroom or manage showering. The information that Ning provided helped to relieve his mind. He learned that community resources abound to help seniors at home, such as a home-care assistant who could help him shower a couple of times a week.
The screening process gives seniors and their families the opportunity to ask questions, discuss their needs for services after a prescribed stay in a nursing facility, and learn about community-based and institutional options for continuing care. In 2006, Ning and her staff of 12 case managers conducted the physical, cognitive, and emotional screening process for more than 10,000 older adults. Yes, that’s 10,000! Ning and some of her staff are based at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital. Other case managers work out of one of five other hospitals in the Center’s service area: three hospitals that are part of NorthShore University Health System (Evanston, Glenbrook, Skokie) and two in the Presence system (St. Francis and Holy Family). Choices for Care case managers provide screenings seven days a week.
Although an extended-care facility might seem like the best option for a senior who has limited ability to care for himself or herself, institutional care could make it difficult for a patient to transition back into the community. “Prescreening should be viewed as an opportunity to prevent unnecessary institutionalizations,” states the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA). The aim of IDoA is to help seniors remain in their homes and live independently as long as possible by providing in-home and community-based services. That aim meshes with the mission of the Center, which is to foster independence and well-being, enhance dignity and self-respect, and promote participation in community life.
Ning commented that George’s situation is straightforward and uncomplicated. But the case managers in the Choices program also encounter patients whose circumstances are more challenging. “Choices case managers would be unable to communicate with a patient who is intubated or not fully alert,” she said. Since no meaningful conversation could take place, they would have to gather information from other sources—medical charts, hospital staff, family members—to complete the assessment. In many such cases, case managers must use their best professional judgment about the situation, including knowing when to back off if the patient or family is too stressed to handle a visit. In Ning’s 20 years of experience in the Choices program, she has learned to respond compassionately to tricky situations, glean important information from whatever and whoever is available, and identify patients’ care needs in a short time. She coaches her staff to do the same.
Another situation a Choices case manager may encounter is a patient whose self-neglect is evident. Mental health support might be helpful once the patient is discharged from skilled care, but the person might refuse the assistance. “Often in self-neglect cases,” commented Elizabeth Gordon, Ph.D., director of North Shore Senior Options (formerly CareOptions), “the person is cognitively able to say, ‘Not interested’ and we have to respect that. Autonomy and self-determination is considered in all of the services provided by the Center.” Exceptions include concern about harm to self or others.
Armed with the information he received from Ning, George could contact the Center to arrange for essential services. The Center is the official entity— the Care Coordination Unit (CCU)—authorized by the state to conduct assessments in this area to determine housing, financial, personal care, and housekeeping needs of seniors and to discuss available services. Social services case managers complete the IDoA 21-page assessment on each client referred to the Center’s Central Intake by a long-term care facility, hospital or the family itself.
After receiving a call from George or his daughter, the case manager would do the required in-home assessment to learn about his specific needs and help develop a care plan. Some of the services George might use—e.g., personal care and household tasks or the loan of durable medical equipment—might be provided by the Center. Other services, such as light housekeeping or home-delivered meals, would be delivered by another area senior services provider. Depending on the older adult’s assets, some services are funded by the state and federal government and others can be purchased by the client. The web of state and federal government programs for seniors is complex, so the Center’s role as a CCU is crucial to the well-being of older adults and their families.
Whatever the person’s care needs after hospitalization may be, the important, unified message from the state, the Center, and case managers who are on the front line of service is, “You are not alone. You don’t have to navigate this by yourself.” That reassurance is a major factor in enhancing the well-being of older adults and helping them avoid isolation, which can become a real negative force affecting their health and longevity. And with the appropriate services wrapped around a senior who has returned to a safe home environment, the chances of readmission to the hospital or rehab center are reduced.