Our Journey

K-State PEAK Program

Our facility is proud to be featured on the KSU Center on Aging PEAK website. The beginning of the website video explains the purpose and goal of the PEAK program. Shawn Sullivan explains how the PEAK program allows changes to put the resident back into the center of life in their nursing home. Stay tuned at 2:05 for the early journey of Person Centered Care for Leonardville Nursing Home.


Leonardville Nursing Home

We are the 2014 winner of the Kansas Culture Change Coalition state wide video contest. This is the video that we submitted.

Our journey began when several area churches identified a need for long-term care living options in the community.

They elected representatives from each of their churches and formed an advisory board.  Our home opened August 1, 1967.  The advisory board elects a smaller board to serve as our board of directors.

Along the way our home has grown.  In 1984 a tornado shelter and additional healthcare rooms were built.  In 1989 nine Independent Living apartments known as Beninga Acres were built on the campus.  In 1992 an addition was added to the original dining room and the beautiful chapel we enjoy today was constructed.  Another wing of healthcare rooms followed in 2002.

Throughout the years we created a reputation for providing excellent medical care to elders in our community.  We have also been known for our caring staff.  We have enjoyed the benefit of a very special group of caregivers, several of whom have been with us for many years.

In 2012 we began a very important leg of our journey.  We had heard the term “Culture change” being used in our industry but really did not understand how significant this term would become to us.  As we learned more we became curious.  Were we missing something?  Could we do a better job for the elders we love and care for?

We hired educators and consultants in the field of long term care and began learning.  We read, watched videos, attended trainings and webinars, invited in speakers and talked.  A Lot!  We learned of a model of care that would change our lives, Person-centered care.

Over the next year and a half we met weekly for trainings, discussion and planning sessions.  We struggled as we came to understand there were changes we needed to make and developed our plan to make them.  We realized this was not going to be easy.  This was and is a DEEP change in the way we do things, in the way we think about things, in our culture.

One of the first things we learned was while we were doing a great job of “taking care of” elders that care was often a reflection of what we thought was best for them.  As we learned about person centered care we came to understand that an important part of being an adult is making decisions for ourselves and being in charge of our own lives.  We realized that often elders who move into nursing homes often lose this “control” over their daily lives.

We decided early on in this journey of discovery that we were not OK with that.  We knew as a group that we had deep respect and love for the people who lived here and we wanted to support them in living life as they chose.  Elder choice became the heart and center of all of our discussions and decisions.  We changed how we organized our work so we could better accommodate elder choice in their daily routine.

We are now able to support the individual daily routines.  Elders eat, sleep, bathe, take medicine, play and relax when they want to.  We work to support the routines elders have lived throughout their lives.

To make it easier to support these flexible schedules we opened three Neighborhoods:  Serenity House, Harmony House and Kindred House.  Our neighborhoods are small areas in the home where a group of 16 to 25 elders live.

After months of planning the neighborhoods opened on July 1, 2013.   Each neighborhood has its own kitchen and living room area.  Elders living in the neighborhood make the daily decisions in their neighborhood.  What do I want to do today?  What do I want to eat today?

With satellite kitchens in each neighborhood it is much more convenient to fix a quick bite to eat when someone is hungry.  Elders eat together if they wish in a smaller setting rather than going to a large cafeteria for each meal.

Caregivers work in the same neighborhood every day so each nurse works with a smaller number of elders and caregivers and elders get a chance to get to know each other better.

We also looked at our home environment.  We all know that nursing homes in general feel more like hospitals than home.  We looked for ways to change that.

One of the first things we did was gather a group of elders and tear down our nurse’s station.  Nurses now work in the neighborhood where elders live.  We installed a personal pager system so we no longer hear that constant sound of call lights and overhead pages.

Our elders privacy is respected and team members seek permission before entering their bedrooms.  Housekeepers coordinate cleaning schedules with the elders and avoid disrupting their daily routine.

Elders are helping with family meal preparations:  Peeling potatoes for our Thanksgiving meal and helping to decide what we are going to make for our meal.

We have an elder who hadn’t spoken in a few years and we had thought she was just in the later progress of Dementia…. Low and behold after just a year of person centered care she started to talk again and is now carrying on conversations with staff and her family member and making her preferences known!  Her family is so excited to see this change and so are we!

Outside adventures!  We took a few elders out to the Clay Center Zoo and Utility Park.  We asked elders if they would like to go for a van ride and go to the zoo.  Our elders were so excited… one was even so excited she cried.  We all had a wonderful time at the zoo.  We fed the ducks and walked around the zoo and enjoyed the scenery of all the blooming lilac bushes.  We then took a drive around the Clay Center square as a few of them reminisced.  We finished the trip to Wendy’s where we got Frosty’s for the drive home.   It was trip they still talk about to this day.  We are trying to take more trips out of the facility.  We have also taken elders to the Tuttle Creek Dam/Spillway to see all the water we have gotten over the past few weeks.  The tubes are open and flowing!  We packed lunches for a picnic afterwards and are enjoying  fun stories of their adventure!!!

As our journey continues we know we have more work to do to support meaningful life for those who live and work in our home.

We continue to look for creative opportunities to enjoy life together.