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Bayberry Commons

By Patti Shaffer

If you think there are no new advances in nursing home care in Rhode Island—think again!

Bayberry Commons Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in Pascoag, has developed an innovative and unique program called C.A.M.P (Centered Activities Memory Program), which is modeled after an adult day care center. And it’s the first of its kind in the State of Rhode Island.

Residents from the special care Alzheimer’s and dementia unit spend the majority of their day at C.A.M.P, which utilizes Bayberry’s main dining room and secured courtyard. Here they create a day similar to being at home. If able and willing, participants set the dining tables, serve their own food and wash the dishes. Walks outside, gardening, observation of the weather and connection to nature are also encouraged.

Inside, there are a variety of stations set up for the day such as laundry folding, puzzles, crafts and games. Exercise, music, yoga, massage, aromatherapy and art are also integrated into their day on a regular basis.

Bayberry also involves outside community groups such as the Girl Scouts, folks at Harmony Hill School, along with local school programs, churches, including the Jewish Community Center, and monthly entertainers and guest speakers.

“So far the results of this new program are very positive,” says Millie Campbell, admissions director at Bayberry Commons. “By keeping people busy and functional, and using less psychotropic medications, they have fewer falls and behavior problems. What’s more, the staff noticed residents are eating and sleeping better and are more verbal and engaged. It’s like a day-care program right in the facility.”

Bayberry also offers an innovative palliative care program, for pain and symptom management, one of the first to be implemented in nursing homes in Rhode Island. Using holistic and alternative therapies such as massage, music, yoga, aromatherapy and counseling techniques, Bayberry helps treat pain, anxiety and improve sleep for residents with serious or chronic diagnoses such as cancer, heart failure, emphysema, kidney failure, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. This program also helps to reduce medication needs.

`Under physician supervision, and specially trained and certified palliative care nurses, social workers and spiritual care coordinators, Bayberry’s staff addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of each patient, resident and family member.

Unlike hospice care, which is meant specifically for those in the final stages of life, palliative care is appropriate for any stage of illness even if aggressive, restorative treatment is being sought.

Bayberry’s family-oriented facility also provides short-term rehabilitation programs, a transitional step between hospital and home where physical occupational and speech therapy is offered seven days a week. They also provide medication and equipment for individual diagnosis and needs.

Additionally, their long-term rehabilitation program manages residents with more chronic medical problems. Long-time residents live here, so Bayberry provides as close to a home atmosphere as they can. They also provide for hospice patients.

Sixty-six year old Helen Beaudreault ,of Chepachet, is a diabetic and after a recent fall, she had to have her toes on one foot amputated. She is now a short-term rehab resident at Bayberry. Her daughter had previously looked at other facilities and felt Bayberry was the best place for her mom. She expects her mom to be there from four to six weeks.

Helen says, “Therapy is strengthening my legs and I am learning how to do things with just one leg. The staff is excellent, including the nurses, food servers, and CNA’s. They are all friendly and help me tremendously. If you can’t be home, this is the closest thing to home.”

Seventy-one year old Wayne Trudelle, is a long-term resident at Bayberry. Originally from Providence, he has been a resident for seven years due to various medical problems.

He says, “It’s better than most other nursing homes. They are compassionate and sensitive to my situation and I get good care. If I need help, they come right away and that’s important. The food is also good, and you have a choice of meals unlike some nursing homes. I also like the fact that they have a visiting counselor and we get to voice our opinions without reprisal. And the nursing staff always tries to accommodate a resident’s wishes.” He adds, “The staff is caring and they like to mingle with the residents and they are always on top of what’s going on. They take their jobs seriously.”

At Bayberry Commons physical, occupational and speech therapy is also provided in the building seven days a week. Medical services such as x-rays, lab work, podiatry, dental and optometry are also provided within the facility.

In addition, residents go on community trips monthly to such places as Iggy’s, Paw Sox games and LaSalette Shrine around Christmas time. There are also picnics and once a month they can order “take out food” of their choice.

On staff at Bayberry, there are also two, full-time social workers, plus intern students from Rhode Island College with bachelor and masters degrees in social work. Bayberry also offers family support groups for those residents who want to attend.

At present, residents range in age from 50 to 100 years old, and are from Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

“Today, there are a growing number of people with chronic illnesses who are living longer and need nursing home care. At Bayberry Commons, we strive to provide quality care to our residents and support to their families in a home-like setting.” says Campbell. “

Bayberry Commons, a five star facility, is part of the American Health Care Association and is located at 181 Davis Drive in Pascoag. All insurances and private pay are accepted. For more information, call 568-0600 or visit their website at: www.HealthConceptsLtd.com.

Mark your calendar: Their annual holiday bazaar will be held on Nov. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is open to the public. There will be crafts, a bake sale, raffles, and white elephant tables. They also rent tables to outside vendors for the day.