Executive Director Fosters A Positive Environment

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What do you want to be when you grow up? And if you’re doing it, what did you do to get there? How did you know it’s right for you?

The number of opportunities after graduation feels limitless to many students. But opportunity can also feel daunting. How do you know that your passion and abilities will translate to the real world? For many students, that answer lies not in the classroom, but in the community, where it takes the form of internships, research, service learning, and global and leadership opportunities.

It’s through these activities, dubbed Experiential Learning, that students are exposed to people and circumstances different than their own and through which they discover the relevance of learning – and more about themselves.

Public health alumna Aubree Olmstead, BS ’15, experienced this firsthand. In her final term, she completed a required 360-hour internship at Columbia Basin Care, a skilled nursing facility in The Dalles, about a half hour from where she grew up in Hood River.

For Aubree, the internship wasn’t just another box to check. “I looked at it as a chance to see if I liked the field and to hone in on my skill set.”

“I tell students to be open to all possibilities,” says Karen Elliott, who teaches a pre-internship course and assists in helping students find internships throughout the state and sometimes internationally. “When you stop thinking about a grade or credits and ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do?,  you discover amazing things about yourself, what fuels your fire and what gets you going.”

Aubree took that advice. The first Beaver alum in her family, she also credits professors and instructors, including Karen, who brought their passion and real-world experience to the classroom.

A little over halfway through her internship at Columbia Basin, Aubree was offered an Administrator in Training (AIT) position – 960 hours of training under the supervision of a preceptor – with the understanding that she would become administrator after completion. During that time, she worked to gain a diverse understanding of operations, covering areas such as leadership and management, quality of care, human resources, finance, and the physical environment.

The 22-year-old successfully completed both her internship and AIT and has served as executive director since May 2016, managing 100-plus employees in the 90-bed facility.

“My roles tie directly into what I studied while at Oregon State,” Aubree says. “I truly believe my education and degree gave me a competitive advantage and the knowledge I need to ensure I am successful as I move throughout my career.”

That’s music to Karen’s ears. “It’s truly rewarding to see students excel and be involved in this process that can be life changing,” she says.

To ensure that all students get this same opportunity to succeed, the college initiated a series of changes in 2015 that began with the creation of its Office of Student Success.That change transformed the academic advising office into a hub of services that support students, including study abroad, career and professional development, peer advisors and an internship coordinator. The team, led by Associate Dean for Student Success Vicki Ebbeck, is working to increase the college’s number of experiential learning opportunities, including new experiences in the Dominican Republic, Bangalore and Botswana. These experiences add to its existing programs, such as with Fu Jen Catholic University in Taiwan, the longest faculty-led program at Oregon State.

Experiential learning promotes student success, Vicki says. “Research shows that students are more likely to persist with their studies and improve their academic performance, and that every student benefits – especially historically underserved students. The key is to engage all students in these high-impact practices that can be transformative.”

Aubree’s advice for current students is to see college and the path after graduation as an opportunity for growth. “Look outside your comfort zone, explore options, set goals, value your time, identify a role model or mentor and take chances,” she says, “but most of all respect yourself and those around you.”

She puts her advice into practice daily, whether it’s overseeing departments, managing employees, staying within budget, working with local hospitals and physicians, or staying on top of a stream of new rules and changing regulations.

“There is always something to be learned and something to be improved upon,” Aubree says. “I enjoy working with diverse groups and finding ways to encourage, lead and manage my staff. Knowing what makes them ‘tick’ is important, and I think that’s what excites me most. Fostering a positive environment truly creates increased success and happiness all the way to those we interact with and have the opportunity to serve.”

— by Kathryn Stroppel. Republished from Oregon State University’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.  

Music in the Park

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It’s summer. Let’s play!

Please join us for a special concert series in the new Columbia Basin Care Park & Pavilion. This event is specially created for our Residents, Staff, Volunteers & their families.

Free Outdoor Concerts

Sunday, June 25 at 6:30pm
Hardshell Harmony — traditional bluegrass

Tuesday, July 11 at 6:30pm
Harmony of the Gorge — women’s chorus

Sunday, July 23 at 6:30pm
Ted Horwitz — keyboards & voice

Sunday, August 13 at 6:30pm
Willy & Nelson —  acoustic duo


Bring a blanket or beach chair and relax in our park. 

How to Have Fun

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18581512_1670333436595005_2367097537605466200_n18556129_1670333253261690_3491666600269506832_nFrom birthday parties to dress-up days. From luaus to live music, we know how to have a good time!

Columbia Basin Care has a full schedule of events and activities that bring residents and caregivers together in lighthearted fun.

What’s happening now? Check out the Columbia Basin Care Newsletter & Calendar.

What’s the Difference?

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vs-assisted-livingSkilled care center? Assisted living? What’s the difference? Making the decision to move from home can be overwhelming. Let’s work through the details:

The biggest and most important difference is that nursing homes — also called skilled nursing facilities — are licensed and equipped to deliver skilled medical care. They offer the attention and care of a professionally trained medical staff, combined with the comforts of home.

Licensed doctors and nurses supervise the care of every patient. Medications are carefully administered by professional staff and are reviewed by physicians and pharmacists. At Columbia Basin Care, even nursing assistants — who help residents with daily activities such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, transferring, and toileting — are licensed and work under the direction of a licensed nurse. CNAs must undergo a minimum of 150 hours of state-approved training, including training in a clinical environment. Candidates must then pass the Oregon Nursing Assistant Competency Exam, consisting of a written exam and a test of manual skills.

An assisted living facility is not licensed to give nursing care and not licensed by Medicare or Medicaid to give skilled care. Many assisted living facilities do not have any licensed nurse on staff. Because they are considered non-medical facilities, in some states having a licensed nurse is not required by law. Even if a nurse is employed by the assisted living facility, the nurse cannot give hands-on care in the form of dressing a wound, administering around-the-clock insulin, administering oxygen, or other tasks that are defined by the federal and state governments as “skilled nursing care.”

Typically, assisted living facilities are places where elderly adults live in a supervised community, with some personal care services available. Meals and social activities are offered and in these communities the focus is on providing a healthy social environment and preventing residents from becoming socially isolated.

Skilled nursing facilities, however, comply with numerous complex legal regulations and requirements and are closely monitored by the State Department of Health. Assisted living facilities do not have the same safety or administrative requirements as a skilled nursing facility, and they are prohibited from giving care they are not licensed to give.

A frequent misconception is that skilled nursing facilities are a “last stop.” In fact, the opposite is often true; many go to a nursing home for short-term therapy services after surgery, injury, or illness. At a skilled nursing facility, such as Columbia Basin Care, a licensed team of physical, occupational and speech therapists provide comprehensive rehabilitation services. Patients recuperate under the care and attention of medical professionals and once recovered, return to their homes.

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facility. CBC offers an in-house geriatric nurse practitioner who serves as primary care physician, and a team of licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide comprehensive rehabilitation services.

Columbia Basin Care is located in the Columbia River Gorge, in The Dalles, 1015 Webber St., 541-296-2156.

 

 

The Recipe for Good Health

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We’ve got the recipe for good health: knowledge + nutrition.

And with our team of certified professionals, we’ve got the tools to really cook!

Jill Lindstrand, Food Service Director, recently achieved top status as a state and national Certified Dietary Manager / Certified Food Protection Professional. To earn this certification, Lindstrand completed over 250 hours in the Nutrition and Foodservice Professional Training Program before passing a comprehensive half-day exam.

With this achievement, Lindstrand has earned the highest level of professional competency in her field. Certified Dietary Manager / Certified Food Protection Professionals are nationally recognized experts at managing dietary operations and are trained and qualified in menu management, food purchase, food preparation, nutrition principles, food safety, team management, and more.

Columbia Basin Care is now cooking with double-power, offering the expertise of a Certified Dietary Manager and a Registered Dietician. Jennifer Zimmerman, RD, works closely with Lindstrand to ensure the diet and nutrition needs of each resident. She has a degree in Food and Nutrition Dietetics, and has worked with Columbia Basin for 17 years.

Meal preparation for a senior population is a complex endeavor and having seasoned professionals is critical to success. Health challenges can limit ordinary meals. Those who’ve had a stroke, for example, may have difficulty swallowing making pureed foods a necessity. Others may have salt or sugar limitations or food allergies. Not consuming adequate calories and nutrients can lead to unhealthy weight loss – a very real concern among the elderly – and put residents at greater risk for a range of health issues.

In addition, age and medication can alter the taste of food for older individuals, making it less appealing, and often more difficult to satisfy dietary desires. “For some people, food just doesn’t taste the way it used to taste,” explains Lindstrand. “We work hard to make residents happy, and keep them healthy too. “

“Combining my hands-on experience with our dietician’s knowledge reaps rewards for everyone,” says Lindstrand who has worked 20 years in the food industry, as a cook, caterer, and kitchen manager. She joined Columbia Basin Care in 2015. “With our strong team of professionals, good health is a part of every meal.”

 

Pretty, please

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maria-manicure lee-gets-a-buff-1-web alesia-bernice-manicure-webSometimes it takes so little to lift the spirits. Our weekly, free manicures keep us looking good and feeling good. Whether it’s a buff, a polish, or just time to chat and laugh, Beauty Tuesdays brighten our days!

A Success Story

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Who is that on the magazine cover?

It’s Aubree Olmstead, our executive director! The latest issue of Oregon Stater, the magazine of the Oregon State University Alumni Association, features Olmstead and her swift rise to success.

The story, “Seeking a Higher Degree of Success,” in the Spring 2017 issue, highlights Olmstead’s unique professional achievement — from college student, to intern, to executive director, in less than a year.

Olmstead grew up in Hood River and is a graduate of Oregon State University where she earned a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Management and Policy, and a minor in Business.

osu-aubree-magazine-spread-copyShe was a just over halfway through her internship at Columbia Basin Care — the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facilitywhen she was offered 960 more hours of supervised training, with the understanding that she would become an administrator after completion. In May 2016, at the age of 22, she became executive director of the facility, managing 100 employees and overseeing the health and care of over 60 elderly residents.

“My roles tie directly into what I studied while at Oregon State,” she told the magazine. “I truly believe my education and degree gave me a competitive advantage and the knowledge I need to ensure I am successful as I move throughout my career.”

A strong but reserved leader, Olmstead doesn’t reach for the spotlight. It was her husband who, unbeknownst to her, contacted the magazine to share his wife’s success story.

“Over the course of eight months,” Zack Schreiner told the magazine, “she went from being an unpaid intern who had not yet received her diploma to the executive director of a facility with over 100 employees, and is responsible for the care of 50-plus residents. At this time she was only 22 years old. She attributes a lot of her success to the skills and education that she gained while at Oregon State.”

Olmstead’s advice for college students also echoes her leadership style: “Look outside your comfort zone, explore options, set goals, value your time, identify a role model or mentor and take chances, but most of all respect yourself and those around you.”

To read the story, go here or here.

 

Easter: Young Hearts, Able Hands

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easter-eggs-bernice easter-eggs-georgeann easter-eggs paint-day-agnes-and-bernice paint-day-bunny-blue paint-day-bunny-pink tootsie-bunny paint-day-georgeEaster is for all ages!  We’ve enjoyed a full week of crafts and activities — from painting to egg decorating (with whip cream color!) to Tootsie Pop Bunnies and more.

Each of these fun and creative efforts are proof the heart is young and the hands are able. Residents enjoy the small actions that trigger memories — Remember penny candy, asks one woman. Yes, says another, and how about those Easter dresses?

And between the memories and joyful recollections, is the best part of the holiday: fresh laughter and new joy.

 

 

Furry Friends Boost Health & Happiness

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wilma-with-dog_300sandra-laura-and-beagle-300A stroke left Wilma without words but a friendly dog speaks the language of a wagging tale. The best medicine, it turns out, isn’t a pill or procedure, but Bomber, Belle, Snowball and other furry friends.

Thanks to partnerships with Home at Last Humane Society and Heart of Hospice, residents of Columbia Basin Care are enjoying weekly boosts of comfort, joy and good health — in the form of visiting cats and dogs.

The nonprofit care facility, located in The Dalles, is home to over 60 senior citizens, many with acute health challenges who respond to the love and attention of a friendly animal.

Increasingly, research shows happiness is a warm puppy, just as cartoonist Charles Schulz told us years ago. Studies show as little as 15 minutes of bonding with an animal sets off a chemical chain reaction in the brain, lowering levels of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol and increasing production of the feel-good hormone serotonin. The result: heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels immediately drop. Over the long term, pet and human interactions can lower cholesterol levels, fight depression and may even help protect against heart disease and stroke.

Using animals to offset emotional and physical problems and improve quality of life is especially helpful for seniors, who with the loss of mobility and independence commonly experience loneliness and depression.

Each week Rheva Wren, with Heart of Hospice, brings her dog, Joki the Goldendoodle, to Columbia Basin Care. The results are often profound.

“Sometimes it is a dramatic moment where someone just snuggles up to him and doesn’t want to let go,” she says. “Other times it’s a quieter moment where someone who never participates in activities reaches out to him.”

And often, she adds, it’s the caregivers who appreciate a snuggle.

emily-belle-and-gordon-5x7The pet visits also stir happy memories. For 102-year-old Gordon, a visiting Corgi recently reminded him of his beloved childhood pet, a German Shepherd. “He was a good dog,” he recalls. “I loved him.”

Columbia Basin requires pet visitors that are calm, friendly and obedient, with certification of immunizations.

And while seniors enjoy the licks and wags, they aren’t the only ones benefitting.

“We have a great time visiting with the residents,” says Geanna, a Home at Last volunteer who enjoys sharing the shelter animals. “It is so great seeing the smiles on their faces.”

 

 

Columbia Basin Care Is A ‘Success Story’

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caleb-spread-1 caleb-coverFor “cooking up success,” Columbia Basin Care is prominently featured in the 2016 Annual Report for the Oregon State Rehabilitation Council.

The report documents the status of the Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Program and highlights success stories throughout the state. In a two-page magazine spread, Columbia Basin Care is lauded for its partnership with the local Youth Transition Program.

The program prepares youth with disabilities for employment or career-related education. Working with YTP, Columbia Basin Care created a special position for Caleb Weiss, 22, to work as a kitchen assistant. For over a year, Kitchen Manager Jill Lindstrand has worked closely with Caleb, offering hands-on instruction and guidance.

“The program is incredibly successful thanks to such strong support from the community and places like Columbia Basin Care,” says Yvonne Wheeler, YTP specialist for North Wasco County School District. Each time a business owner says yes to this program, she says, “they are doing more than just providing a great position. They’re giving them an opportunity that changes lives.”