Shahbazim Take Elder Care to Higher Level
When it opens in April of 2016, Pompano Beach will be home to Florida’s only Green House Model health center, The Woodlands at John Knox Village.
Between now and then there is plenty of behind the scenes work to be completed, including the hiring and training of essential staff members eager to adopt this new philosophy of providing care to seniors.
Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of THE GREEN HOUSE® Project and whose elder care blueprint John Knox Village will implement, believes this innovative model of care needed a new name for its caregivers. He chose “Shahbaz” (Shahbazim for plural).
Shahbaz is a Persian word referring to a fabled guardian and literally means “King’s Own Royal Falcon” – one who watched over and protected the kingdom. Caregivers at The Woodlands will watch over our elders as fiercely as those in generations past.
The Woodlands will feature 12 Green House homes with 12 private bedroom and bathrooms in each home that encircle a living room, open kitchen and dining area.
Promoting a “real home” experience through compassion and respect, each Shahbaz will bring a perspective that includes the blending of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
It is the deep, trusting relationships developed with the elders that assure a meaningful life in an environment with choices and that also protects their privacy. The Shahbazim work together, as a family, and are responsible for managing the personal care, housekeeping, cooking and other duties for each elder.
Every home will have six Shahbazim per day dedicated to protecting, sustaining and nurturing the lives of the elders residing in The Woodlands, according to Wendy Bednarcik, Director of Human Resources.
“The Shahbaz position will continue to evolve, and our staff is ready for the necessary training for this new role,” Wendy said. She and others remain busy developing the job description, as well as beginning to recruit potential Shahbazim.
Susan Boley, Assistant Director of Nursing; Shante President, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Unit Secretary; and Sheila Belliot, CNA are three Health Center staffers eagerly anticipating the transition.
A Green House visit in the northeast convinced Susan that John Knox Village should embrace the Green House model of care.
“I took a trip to Boston and visited the Green House in Chelsea, (MA),” she said. “I was so impressed with what I saw. I have worked in long-term care for years and it has all been based upon the hospital model of care. When I saw how the Green House model worked and how the employees and elders interacted, I said to myself, ‘this is a light which I need to follow.’”
Susan’s visit showcased The Green House model’s core values of Meaningful Life, Empowered Staff, and Real Home in very demonstrative ways. “I saw for myself that this (Green House home) is a place where elders receive the care they need, yet there is a true sense of home where they have dignity, privacy and respect.”
At The Woodlands, every Shahbaz will be a licensed CNA but have responsibilities far beyond what has been the norm in a traditionally organized long-term care center.
Sheila Belliot has been a CNA at John Knox Village since early 2014, but has many years of experience in the health care field. “I was working on Wall Street in Manhattan, but on the side, I worked on private cases with a Home Health Agency,” she said.
Despite her daytime work on Wall Street, Sheila had a calling to work hands-on with seniors in a long-term care setting. When job and family commitments allowed, she moved to South Florida and worked at an Alzheimer’s unit in Boca Raton.
“I liked the small setting and working one-on-one with the residents. We were close and it really was like family. Between another CNA and me, we knew everything about our 14 patients including their families. It truly felt like home.”
When Sheila learned about the future Green House homes at John Knox Village she knew the concept would fit her. Susan interviewed Sheila when she applied for a CNA job.
“Susan told me about the Green House model of care that was in the future at The Woodlands,” Sheila said. “I got excited when I interviewed at John Knox. I thought ‘Oh, yes, this will be like working with family again.’ I will get to do arts and crafts, play cards and get connected with the elders.”
Sheila’s Green House training has already begun. Along with other co-workers, she attended a four-day conference of presentations, seminars and training sessions in Denver and is confident this is just the beginning of a long career as a Shahbaz at The Woodlands.
Shante, another Health Center staff member planning a career as a Shahbaz, has worked at John Knox Village for eight years and is currently a nursing assistant and unit secretary, where she oversees the needs for 50 Health Center residents.
When she first heard Dr. Thomas speak, Shante felt he embodied an idea she envisioned years ago.
“When I was in school studying to be an assisted living facilities administrator I wanted to have a small home where everyone was treated as family,” Shante said. “My dad and uncle have an assisted living facility in Malabar (FL), that is a six-bedroom home and the atmosphere and care given are just like what Dr. Thomas talks about.
“I have visualized the emphasis on resident-centered care, and to see it come together makes a lot of sense to me.”
Among their many responsibilities the Shahbaz will take care of the cooking duties for each home of 12 family members. Shante sees the opportunity as chef going beyond just elders’ daily needs. “I am going to know the residents and what they like. If two like to bake, then I will work with them. Whatever gifts each has, we will try to match them up.”
Sheila also looks forward to her Shahbaz responsibilities. “It is going to be great. I see it as being with my own family. We can do arts and crafts, watch the Food Network on TV, and actually cook together along with the show,”
All meal preparation will be under the menu guidelines of the Agency for Health Care Administration and elders will have the opportunity to choose their meals based upon those guidelines. Additionally, Rachel Graham, Chief Clinical Dietician at John Knox Village and Executive Chef Mark Gullusci will work regularly with each Shahbaz on nutrition and food preparation.
Along with CNA certifications, all Shahbazim will need to be First Aid and CPR certified; illustrate the ability to effectively read, write and speak English; show basic math and computer skills; and successfully complete a minimum of 128 hours of Green House education.
That training will include 48 hours of The Green House core principles, communication, roles and responsibility, self-managed work teams, and care and clinical decision-making.
There also is another 40-52 hours of culinary skills and food safety training, which teaches the basic cooking methods and fundamentals to making breakfast items, soups, sauces, side dishes, entrees and baked desserts. It also demonstrates plate presentation and table service, recipe review and food ordering for full meal service.
Finally, there are 40 hours of hands-on learning including equipment use, supply ordering, emergency management/drills, housekeeping and laundry procedures and basic maintenance tasks.
“Our employees will have the opportunity to grow and experience new ways of providing care,” Wendy said. “It will take time to adapt to the change, but in the end, we will have a new Health Center full of caring and compassionate Shahbazim.
“Our elders will also be fortunate to experience continuity with the Shahbazim, since the Shahbazim will work in the same home each day.”
For more information about The Woodlands at John Knox Village and the benefits of The Green House model of care, visit our Website (www.WoodlandsJKV.com) or call Cristina Rodriquez, Admissions Coordinator, at (954) 783-4041.