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Panel discusses documentary, nursing home care

Nov. 30, 2006

KALAMAZOO--Nursing home care in America today will get a closer look at Western Michigan University Friday, Dec. 1, when the PBS documentary "Almost Home" is shown and followed by a panel discussion on long-term care.

The event, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 1010 of the College of Health and Human Services building, is being offered by the Department of Occupational Therapy. It is free and open to the public.

"Almost Home" was shot on location in a nursing home that undergoes a dramatic culture change to improve the quality of life for both residents and staff. The film captures the efforts of a visionary nursing home director, who is committed to transforming a hospital-like institution into a community that more closely resembles a true home.

Event organizer Dr. Maureen Mickus, associate professor of occupational therapy, saw the film last year on public television and found it powerful. She hopes that students and community members will attend and start a dialogue aimed at changing the culture of long-term care.

"Many of our students have a negative view of long-term care," she says. "And with recent examples of horrific incidents in nursing homes, we need to have a conversation about how we can make things different."

Despite an aging population, few people are trained to work with older adults, Mickus says. "Anything we can do to encourage students to pursue careers in aging will benefit us all."

Members of the public, as well as professionals in aging, family members of those in long-term care facilities, residents of those facilities and those involved in making a decision about long-term care are encouraged to attend.

For more information, contact Dr. Maureen Mickus at maureen.mickus@wmich.edu or (269) 387-7326. For more on the documentary, visit www.almosthomedoc.org.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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