One of the very important differences at Sherbrooke is that care and service is resident directed as opposed to resident centred. This means that residents direct their own lives, and staff support them in their choices. A resident-centred approach implies the care team makes decisions for the residents that they believe are in the residents’ best interests.
The Village Model supports Sherbrooke’s mission and the Eden Alternative ® philosophy. Implementing the Village Model requires much more than just a change to the physical environment, it also requires organizational culture change to make it work. Staff need to adopt the concept that “life is the program,” moving away from traditional ways of doing things, and focusing on creating a human habitat where people can grow and thrive.
The Sherbrooke Village Model was developed in response to information gained through focus groups with potential users of long term care services. People voiced that they wanted small homelike settings that were not institutional, where they could have control over how they spend their time and continue to have meaning and purpose in their day to day lives.
The Village Model has been in operation at Sherbrooke Community Centre since 1999, and we continually find ways to improve and grow. Below is a video that was made in 2004 to highlight the Village Model in use at Sherbrooke.
The Village Model concept centers around nine to 10 residents living together in houses which are attached to the rest of the home by an internal street. This is similar to houses on a residential street with the exception that the internal street is protected from the elements.
The connection of the villages via the internal street to the rest of the home allows residents easy access to a wide variety of services and amenities such as a spiritual care centre, multipurpose rooms, the Tumbleweed Gift shop, art studio, accessible computer room, farmers’ market, and hair salon.
The small grouping of residents in each house promotes formation of a family-like household, where the residents can direct how the day unfolds as opposed to having to fit in to an institutional routine. The small size allows for a great deal of flexibility and leads to the houses taking on unique personalities based on the people who live and work there.
Multi-skilled workers called daily living assistants, assigned to a specific house, provide the care and services in the villages. The staff are qualified special care aides with additional training in housekeeping methodology, food safety, and medication administration. Staff are responsible for all aspects of maintaining the household.
The daily living assistants are accountable to the elders in the house and report to staff support managers who oversee daily operations in the villages in the area of care and the environment.
Registered nurses are available to the elders in the villages, in a model that resembles that of home care without the need for travel.