Community living centers offer unique chances to learn and share

Carrie Tyler, a resident at the Highlands at Brighton talks with Phillip E. Rockwell and Taylor Eshleman, students in the School’s Accelerated Program for Non-Nurses

Carrie Tyler, a resident at The Highlands at Brighton talks with
Phillip E. Rockwell and Taylor Eshleman, students in the
School’s Accelerated Program for Non-Nurses.

The School of Nursing provides vital, far-reaching services throughout the greater Rochester community, particularly evident in the partnerships they foster within the University system’s continuum of care. These can be hospital-based initiatives, projects in home health care, or collaborations with the University’s long-term care division. The Highlands at Brighton and The Highlands at Pittsford are two more examples of University affiliates unique in their offerings and eager to collaborate.

The Highlands at Brighton is a skilled nursing facility that offers residential health care in addition to specialized services such as transitional post-acute care and rehabilitation, and dementia and behavioral step-down care. It houses the only unit of its kind in Monroe County designed for patients with severe neurobehavioral diseases and disorders; here, individualized programs in behavior management are offered on a short-term basis. It also boasts a highly specialized, stand-alone unit for ventilator-dependent patients; no other skilled nursing facility in the area offers this specialized type of around-the-clock care.

The breadth of services and patients treated—residents range in age from 15 to 103—means that The Highlands at Brighton can offer dynamic and diverse experiences to nursing students completing clinical requirements on site. “Because we are not a traditional nursing home,” said Cindi Barry, administrator, “I think we can provide a look at the future of long-term care as well as expose students to that stage in between hospitalization and long-term care.”

The Highlands at Brighton began welcoming people—not just nursing students but respiratory therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists and geriatric fellows—into the facility four years ago for training purposes. And while nursing students do not currently spend time in the specialty areas, Barry hopes to work with the School to change that. “I’d love to show them that they don’t have to get all of their experience in acute care in a hospital setting,” she said. “They can get it in a smaller, controlled environment like ours, where they potentially will see more and may be able to be more hands-on.”

Donna Grosstephan, RN, director of nursing at The Highlands at Brighton, said that while nursing students benefit from the clinical experiences available at her facility, the employees gain something as well. “It’s really good for our staff and physicians and nurses to see students come through. It reminds them that we are doing really important work here and are a part of a larger medical and educational community,” she said.

The Highlands at Pittsford is a university-based retirement community that sits just outside the village of Pittsford. A direct affiliate of the University of Rochester Medical Center, nearly 40 percent of its resident base has a direct connection with the University system. Offering a full continuum of care on one campus, it provides cottages and apartments for independent living, enriched-living apartments, skilled nursing care, orthopaedic rehabilitation, and adult day programming to nearly 400 residents. The facility has a rich history of partnering with the School of Nursing to offer their residents educational programs and engage them as part of various research studies.

In 1998, The Highlands’ Health Affairs Committee, a resident-initiated workgroup, and the School jointly explored how participation in health promotion and prevention activities would support residents’ independence and health. Studies followed in 2000 and 2002 that looked at fall prevention and depression among seniors. In addition, the School holds annual vaccination clinics at The Highlands at Pittsford so that residents are protected against seasonal flu and shingles and, this past winter, the H1N1 flu virus. Speakers also present on topics of interest. In July, Kathy P. Parker, RN, PhD, FAAN, dean of the School, talked about sleep issues. 

“We are proud to be a university-based retirement community and like to draw on all the strengths that accompany that, whether they be on the educational, research or clinical side,” said Lloyd R. Theiss, executive director of The Highlands at Pittsford. “Our residents benefit from our partnership with the School of Nursing.”

Multimedia in this Issue:

Commencement 2010

reunion slideshow

View a slideshow of the event.

Nursing and medical school students partner to learn teamwork

joint simulation video

View the video.

URMC First in Nation to Implant Heart Failure Device

HeartNet video

Learn more about the device.