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Nursing home care is topic of documentary

April 4, 2007

KALAMAZOO--Nursing home care in America today will get a closer look at Western Michigan University Wednesday, April 11, when the PBS documentary "Almost Home" is shown and followed by a panel discussion on long-term care.

The event was originally scheduled for Dec 1, but was canceled due to inclement weather. It has been rescheduled to 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 4010 of the College of Health and Human Services building and is being offered by the Department of Occupational Therapy and Bronson School of Nursing. 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 work toward a better quality of care in these settings."

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. Those planning to attend should call (269) 387-7260. For more information on the documentary, visit www.almosthomedoc.org.

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

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