Staff Spotlight: The Lakeshore’s Community Health Director Receives Nursing Certification in Gerontology
At Era Living, we believe in the value of continuous, life-long learning. That is why today, we are pleased to highlight the work and recent accomplishment of our Community Health Director at The Lakeshore, Sarah Chimbanga. Sarah, who has been in her role at The Lakeshore for 5 years, recently became board-certified in Gerontological Nursing, helping both her and her team take a more specialized and holistic approach to the care they are providing for our residents.
Becoming board-certified can provide numerous benefits. According to the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL), some of these benefits include:
- Improved patient outcomes
- Better communication with patients and their families
- Overall increase in care quality and patient safety
- Greater patient/family satisfaction
Along with the benefits listed above, Sarah says that for her, receiving the Gerontological Nursing certification has helped her to take a step back when working with a resident in order to get a better understanding of that person’s situation and how it could be impacting the person’s health and treatment plan. Her courses also helped her identify how to better incorporate care that is unique and specific to the population she and her team are serving.
“Geriatrics [which is another nursing certification focused on senior care] is more focused on disease processes in seniors, whereas Gerontology takes it a step above that to not just focus on diseases that are unique to seniors, but to also look at wellness in seniors more holistically,” shares Sarah.
“In this specialty, we not only ask, ‘What are the diseases we see in seniors?’, but also ‘What are some of the challenges that are unique to seniors?’ For example, medications can provide challenges specific to seniors, because they will often affect someone in their 30s or 40s very differently than they would someone who is in their 70s, 80s, or 90s.”
This certification has also helped Sarah better identify some of the common myths surrounding age-related health and wellness. For example, Sarah says that many people assume that most memory loss is a normal part of aging. But that isn’t necessarily true, and some seniors who begin to show signs of short-term memory loss could miss out on proactive care from family members and health professionals due to this common misconception.
“We also often hear from seniors that they have back pain and they say ‘that’s just because I am getting older,’” Sarah shares. “Getting this training helps me to understand that what a lot of people, both seniors and the general public, perceive to be signs of normal aging is not actually normal. It’s a disease or condition that requires us to ask ‘What can we do to help facilitate either a diagnosis, intervention, or a follow up plan specific to that person’s situation?’ Because it isn’t just that the person is getting older.”
Overall, Sarah says that getting this certification is important in or to stay up-to-date on the most current care practices.
“We need to be constantly learning and educating ourselves. Practices change. If I was in nursing school 10 years ago and I haven’t done anything to continue to be caught up on not just what is specific to the general population but also the population I am working with, I think we do a disservice to our residents,” shares Sarah.
At Era Living, we are so grateful to have such dedicated, compassionate staff working on our team. If you are interested in learning more about the care we provide at our communities, please reach out to us today. To receive more community updates on a regular basis, sign up for our newsletter below.