Elder care setting enhances student experience
18, 2009 -- A
unique partnership between SF State and an assisted living facility in
San Francisco provides School of Nursing and other students opportunities
to gain clinical experience working with elders.
A privately run nonprofit facility for the past 125 years, the University Mound Ladies Home (UMLH) was scheduled for closure and demolition until community members and eldercare experts stepped forward to save it, enlisting help from members of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's staff.
The home's new staff and board of trustees, which includes three SF State
gerontology program alumni, hope to make UMLH a model for affordable elder
residential care and nursing training.
"It's a win-win situation for everyone involved; residents as well as students," said John Fecondo, UMLH's acting executive director, who received a master's degree in gerontology from SF State. He noted that had the home been forced to close, residents would have had limited options, such as being housed in nursing homes or psychiatric wards.
"A training site located at an assisted living facility is very unusual," said Cristina Flores, RN, a lecturer in gerontology at SF State and an assistant adjunct professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at University of California, San Francisco. "We are hoping that the students who learn here are inspired to dedicate at least part of their professional lives to elder care."
Throughout the summer and fall semesters, first-year nursing students made weekly visits to the facility. Paired with one UMLH resident each, students were responsible for monitoring and recording vital signs, weight, medication regimen and nutritional status as well as assessing their client's safety and mental health status.
Nicole Wigton, who plans a career in women’s health, maintains that her weekly one-on-one experience with a woman who suffered a stroke was rewarding as well as instructive. "I helped her to get started in the morning and participate in group activities," she said. "I learned a lot about how stroke victims are affected and I also learned how to get someone who is unmotivated moving again."
The contractual agreement with UMLH provides learning opportunities for students in several disciplines. Students from the graduate physical therapy program have gained hands-on experience at the UMLH, performing fall and safety assessments. Gerontology students completed 10-week internships.
Management at the UMLH have also enlisted the talents of a student of interior design to bring the home back to its original warmth. In the future they hope to extend opportunities to SF State students in other fields including nutrition and recreation.
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