Sun Health Senior Living Opens New Residence at the Colonnade

villa2 wideSun Health Senior Living is growing up, so to speak, with the official opening of a four-story villa featuring 36 apartment-style homes.

Nearly 200 people turned out for an Oct. 30 ribbon cutting for the Villa, the second such building on The Colonnade campus. Construction on the second Villa began last November, following closely on the heels of the September 2013 opening of the first Villa. The ribbon cutting event included tours of two model-apartments and common areas both inside and outside the structure.

Situated on the 40-acre campus, the second Villa’s floor plans range from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Each home comes with high-end floor coverings, cabinetry, appliances and stylish finishing touches. Other amenities include a community art/music room, a movie theater, underground parking for cars and golf cars, extra storage and access to all amenities in Sun City Grand, a nearby active-adult community.

Barbara Foster, executive director of The Colonnade, welcomed guests to the ribbon cutting and shared her vision for new residents.

“We look forward to keeping you young with laughter, new friendships, lots of good times, worry-free living and the security of Life Care. You’ll be surrounded by an affectionate family of staff and residents who are like the stars at night; you may not always see them, but you know they are always there for support and encouragement,” Foster said.

Only three units in the second Villa are still available. The Sun Health Services board recently approved capital funding to build two more 36-unit Villa apartment buildings to meet a growing demand. Deposits are now being taken on a first-come, first-served basis, with more than 30 units already spoken for.

The design-builder for the $8.1 million project was The Weitz Company. Orcutt-Winslow Partnership did the architecture. Civil engineering was done by HilgartWilson, interior design by Thoma-Holec Design and landscape design by Greey Pickett.

Sun Health Opens Innovative Memory Support Residence

Grandview senior leaders Penny Jacobs (L) and Bhakti Gosalia show off a front porch in the Grandview Memory Support residence.

Grandview senior leaders Penny Jacobs (L) and Bhakti Gosalia show off a front porch in the Grandview Memory Support residence.

Sun Health recently completed construction on an innovative residence for memory-loss patients called Grandview Memory Support.

“Every detail is designed to help residents feel at home, well-cared for and secure,” Grandview campus Executive Director Bhakti Gosalia said.

The residence features 16 private, studio-size suites built specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Entrances to each suite feature an indoor front porch complete with a picket fence, chairs and flower boxes. Residents and their loved ones can personalize their front porch using familiar and meaningful decorations so it’s easier for the resident to recognize his or her “home.”

The suites and common areas feature extensive use of natural light, secure yet open floor plans, and a décor designed to appeal to the senses. A “sensory room” offers residents a calming place with aromatherapy, music and a ceiling that mimics day and night skies. A centerpiece of the sensory room is a large touch-screen computer called “It’s Never 2 Late.” Adapted especially for individuals with physical and mental impairments, it can be used to play interactive games, watch movies or television, play music and more.

The secure design allows residents to live in a caring home environment, while providing comfort and safety for residents and families.

Services for residents include 24/7 care, an on-site physician and nurse practitioner, fine dining, a secure, outdoor garden, life enrichment activities, a beauty/barber shop, housekeeping and laundry services. Families will be welcome and invited to take part in activities, including support groups.

Grandview Memory Support is expected to have residents move in in November, pending licensing by the Arizona Department of Health.

The architect for the project was the Orcutt-Winslow Partnership, the interior design was developed by Thoma-Holec Design and the general contractor was The Weitz Company.

Sun Health Shows the Love for Employees

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Celebrating each other – Service Awards highlight employee excellence
Sun Health celebrated some of its best and brightest employees at the inaugural Service Awards banquet held Sept. 19 at Grandview Terrace. Almost 100 employees and their guests gathered for a night featuring a gourmet dinner, socializing and recognition – lots of well-deserved recognition.

Earlier this year, employees nominated co-workers for recognition in four categories:

  • Innovator And Creator Of Efficiencies – I.C.E.
  • Excellence In Growth And Education
  • Creative Initiatives
  • Customer Service Excellence

A cross section of Sun Health directors and managers judged the nomination submissions and narrowed it down to three finalists in each category. An outside judge then determined the winners. Below is a list of this year’s finalists and winners in the four categories, along with names of employees celebrating longevity milestones with Sun Health, who were also guests at the banquet.   Continue reading

‘It’s Never 2 Late’ Right on Time at La Loma Care Center

It's Never 2 Late, a computer designed for ease of use has become a big hit at La Loma Care Center.

It’s Never 2 Late, a computer designed for ease of use has become a big hit at La Loma Care Center.

La Loma Care Center is the proud owner of an adaptive computer system called It’s Never 2 Late. The system features user-friendly technologies such as touch-screen monitors and an adaptive keyboard, which allow individuals with cognitive or physical limitations to play games, listen to music, or watch videos. It’s kept on a rolling cart making it easy to move from room to room.

“We’ve been using it since May and have had a very good response from our residents and their families,” Ione Murray, Life Enrichment coordinator, said. “It was exciting to see how interested people were in it right from the start and that they took the initiative to learn how to use it.”

Some of the most popular activities with residents include playing games such as Hearts or Scrabble and watching shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” or exercising to yoga videos. “Families are really interested and engaged in it and want to learn the process to be able to use it with their loved ones,” Murray said.

“It’s Never 2 Late appeals to people of all ages and at all levels of computer literacy,” Murray said. “The wide variety of choices means there’s something for everyone, and it can be used in group settings or for single use. It seems like the sky’s the limit and we are so excited to see where it will go.”

Student Nurses Make a Good Impression

Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program on the Banner Boswell campus,   cared for Sun Health Senior Living residents this summer as part of their clinical rotations.

Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program on the Banner Boswell campus, cared for Sun Health Senior Living residents this summer as part of their clinical rotations.

Nursing students from the Grand Canyon University program on the Banner Boswell Medical Center campus spent two months this summer honing their clinical skills at Sun Health’s three senior communities. They were assigned to work with residents who had health concerns.

The students worked up health profiles on participating residents and consulted with Sun Health nurses, other health professionals, and in some cases, the resident’s physician on how to help them.

The student nurses wrapped up their rotation with a “show and tell” class held at Sun Health earlier this month. It was attended by administrators and managers from The Colonnade, Grandview and La Loma. The students shared their experiences, findings and suggestions on how to improve health services on each of the campuses.

Teresa Brulé, director of Resident Services at The Colonnade and a nurse, admitted to being initially “reticent” about how the students would fit in but she quickly learned they had much to offer. “What you have given us is invaluable,” she said to the students. “You’ve done wonders for our residents.”

One of those students was Jeff Miller who proudly described how he and another student helped a resident learn how to manage her high blood pressure more effectively. The students evaluated the resident’s medications and consulted with her doctor, who recommended a new timetable for taking her medications. “It was a nice experience being able to go to resident’s homes and work with them to improve their health,” Miller said.

The next group of student nurses will begin on Sept. 10.

Packing it in

About 60 foster children living in Surprise received new, fully-stocked backpacks compliments of Sun Health residents and employees.

About 60 foster children living in Surprise received new, fully-stocked backpacks compliments of Sun Health residents and employees.

Nearly 400 foster kids from the Northwest Valley, ages 7 to 18, headed to school this month with new backpacks filled with school supplies, compliments of the Sun Health SHINE (Sun Health Involvement Never Ends) summer backpack drive.

The drive was done in cooperation with OCJ Kids, a Valley-based foster and adoption agency. What started last year as a SHINE drive to donate 60 stock backpacks to area foster kids took on a life of its own as Sun Health residents, volunteers and employees gave well beyond expectations. The result was 242 backpacks.

This year, the SHINE Committee set a stretch goal of 300 backpacks, and once again the community rallied for the cause. A total of 384 backpacks were distributed to local children living in foster care.

“It means the beginning of a positive school year for these kids,” said Shevaun Sullivan, project manager with OCJ Kids. “The fact that they get new backpacks and not old ones; the fact they get to go in with new supplies and not a trash bag or no supplies, means they have a better chance of success at school this year. They are already labeled, and this takes one more label away that they are in foster care.”

The Wal-Mart Super Center in Surprise worked with SHINE to order the packs and supplies in bulk. Sun Health employees volunteered over a lunch time to stuff the 384 packs. The drive culminated with a party in late July at The Colonnade for about 60 local foster children. Several employees hosted the party and provided the guests with refreshments, an art project, games and line-dancing. Each child picked out their own backpack available in seven solid colors.

Eleven-year-old Esteban (last name withheld) choose a red one, his favorite color, and he expressed appreciation for the party and the gift. “This is very nice,” the affable 6th grader said. “It shows that people care about us.”

Sun Health & Benevilla Working to Improve Transportation in NW Valley

PrintSun Health and Benevilla, a regional nonprofit social service agency, conducted a community needs assessment in 2013 to identify ways to help Northwest Valley seniors remain independent and age in place. Focus groups, community meetings and a survey mailed to 20,000 residents revealed that transportation was a major issue for many seniors.

To address the issue, Sun Health and Benevilla created Northwest Valley Connect (NVC) a non-profit mobility and transportation organization dedicated to serving older adults. Through a grant, NVC created an executive director position, which has been filled by Kathryn Chandler, a transportation executive with more than 10 years of experience in designing and operating transit and para-transit services. Previously, Kathryn was the mobility manager for the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transit Authority.

Kathryn Chandler

Kathryn Chandler, Northwest Valley Connect

Later this summer, NVC will launch a Mobility Management Center, a one-stop transportation resource to help residents access available public, private and volunteer transportation. Assistance will be available online and by phone. “We are excited about the opportunity to work with Benevilla to support and launch Northwest Valley Connect,” said Jennifer Drago, Sun Health executive vice president of Population Health and board chair of NVC. “Kathryn will partner with local transportation providers to increase awareness of available transportation resources, while helping fill identified gaps in service through a new volunteer-based transportation service and advocacy efforts.”

For more information on Northwest Valley Connect, call Kathryn Chandler, executive director/mobility manager at (623) 282-9300.

Sun Health Care Transitions and Banner iCare Join Forces to Improve Care

Holding Hands with Elderly PatientSun Health Care Transitions (SHCT) and Banner iCare™ have formed an alliance to serve chronically ill patients in the Northwest Valley.

The two programs will be sharing one hospital liaison at Banner Boswell and Banner Del E. Webb medical centers so that only one person is approaching patients to introduce each program. Additionally, eligible patients will receive services from both programs for continuity.

“The goal of both programs is to improve the quality of life of members while reducing the total cost of care,” said Jennifer Drago, Sun Health executive vice president of Population Health. Tom Snyder, director of Banner iCare echoed Drago, “This collaboration serves to achieve Banner’s mission of existing to make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care.”

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Grand Canyon Nursing Students Learning Skills at Sun Health

Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program at Banner Boswell attend orientation at Sun Health where they will be doing clinical rotations this summer.

People in purple scrubs will be popping up at various Sun Health locations this summer. The purple ones are senior nursing students at Grand Canyon University and each Tuesday, now through August, they will be doing community health clinical rotations at the Center for Health & Wellbeing, in the Care Transitions program or at each of Sun Health’s three senior living communities.

The students are part of a GCU’s College of Nursing and Health Care Professions based at Banner Boswell Medical Center. Continue reading

Sun Health Center For Health & Wellbeing Opening New Doors

Sun Health's Center for Health & Wellness - Grand Opening , March 19, 2014

Sun Health’s Center for Health & Wellbeing offers new twist on health and wellness with group classes and individual consultations with health professionals.

Edson and Loretta Allen were among the first visitors in the door at the March 19 grand opening of the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, a center that’s already opening new doors for health and wellness in the northwest Valley.

“We were very impressed with the people we met. They seem to have a sincere interest in helping people with their health issues,” Edson Allen said of the center’s staff members. Loretta described the center as “beautiful.” The Sun City West couple, who split their time between Arizona and Minnesota, was so impressed that they both signed up for the center’s gold-level membership, which includes a host of healthy perks.   Continue reading