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melody chatelle, touchstone communities The Times are Definitely a-Changing Written by: melody chatelle, touchstone communities
Issue: July 2014 | NSIDE Medical
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A new look at long-term care services

Iconic songwriting legend Bob Dylan penned one of the most recognized anthems of the civil rights movement entitled, “The Times They are a-Changin.’” The title of this pop culture mega-hit, probably listened to and sung by people now in their 70s, 80s and beyond, sounds the perfect chord for thinking about the present-day long-term care profession because things are definitely a-changing – and for the better!

Nursing homes of years past were often options of last resort. They were places built around central nursing stations and long hallways where patients most often sat quietly in their wheelchairs. Sometimes a weekly bingo game materialized, or a church volunteer group stopped by on a Sunday afternoon. The pace was often slow and the routine the same on any given day. Nursing home care of yesteryear was definitely considered more along the lines of convalescent care, a traditional medical model that oftentimes offered end-of-life services only.

But wait. Fast-forward that image to 2010. Hit the erase button on your videocassette player and grab that iPod, because the nursing homes of today have become living communities full of lively people, laughter and loving care for seniors and others who need a little extra assistance as provided within long-term care centers. They deserve nothing less.

Today’s long-term care communities are all about meeting the individualized physical care needs – however simple or complex – of people of all ages. They are about short-term stays and making people better so they can return to their own homes and get on with their lives. They are about intensive rehabilitation sessions with expert staff that limit patient stays. They are about offering specialized stroke care, hip and knee replacement services and many other responses to complex medical conditions.

Today’s long-term care profession is also moving away from institutional-like care toward smaller, more home-like environments. Some long-term care communities brand their own unique types of specific care services in which centers are divided into neighborhoods, pods or living spaces where smaller groups of residents live together, much like in their own homes on a daily basis. In these environments, residents can be much more independent, living by their own schedules and creating their own life journeys the way they want them to be.

“The small-house concept of rehabilitation and long-term care is definitely blowing in the current winds of outstanding long-term care services,” said Carl Fellbaum, president of Touchstone Communities. “We completely support the idea of a more personalized environment of care. In fact, our organization, Touchstone Communities, will be managing the first-ever small-house concept for Texas veterans in Tyler, Texas.” Expected to open in 2011, the campus will host 10 residents in each of the 10 homes being built.

And can you say, long-term care chefs? Even the culinary times are a-changing in the long-term care profession. More and more residents of skilled nursing centers are ordering straight off menus whenever they get hungry, not whenever dining hours are posted. Foods are tastier and the options more varied in many long-term care communities. Check it out for yourself. Take a risk: Visit a long-term care center, and enjoy a meal. Or stop by for the wine and cheese happy hour. You’ll probably be amazed.

“Here’s to an extremely innovative and out-of-the-box, quality-based future for long-term care consumers and their family members,” Fellbaum added. “That’s our vision, and we’re working hard toward making that change happen within our own organization for those whom we’re privileged to serve.”

Yes, the times are a-changing in the long-term care profession, and we’re all the better for it.

For more information regarding Touchstone Communities, call 210-828-5686 or visit

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