Home > News

Posted:Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

CHCC’s resident council lets residents contribute to how the center is run

Once a month at Christian Health Care Center in Lynden, a group of residents gather in the activity room to discuss how life is going for the center’s long-term residents.

They discuss everything of importance to them, from the quality of the food in the dining room to privacy concerns.

Resident council members are an important part of life at the skilled nursing center, says Brett Bajema, interim director of therapeutic recreation at CHCC.

Topics brought up by the resident council can be complex, he says, and CHCC holds the residents’ input in the highest regard. The essence of the council, he adds, is residents representing themselves and making space for discussions.

“Often, concerns or praises arise organically during conversations, and resident council meetings make space for these topics to be brought to a larger audience,” Bajema says.

At each meeting, individuals who are receiving long-term care at CHCC have time in private, without staff present, to discuss any issues and concerns they might have. Then, during a portion of each meeting when department heads are present, the council can discuss matters directly with them.

CHCC department heads work hard to find answers to issues raised at the meetings; typically they’ll provide an update or response at the next meeting, Bajema says.

Resident council meetings are run by members of a resident leadership team, who are voted on by other individuals who live full-time at CHCC. Officers are the president, vice president and board advisors. All residents are invited to each meeting, as are the heads of the dietary, environmental services, administrative, social services and therapeutic recreation departments. Meetings typically consist of updates from each of the department heads on various projects and changes, such as new staff, new policies, new menu items, new activities and so on.

Recently, the council has been discussing dietary options on the menu. Those discussions have resulted in a new omelet cart being available to residents one day per week. Some residents have been stumping for more mentally stimulating games, such as Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, trivia and brain teasers. In response, CHCC has added those games to this month’s activity schedule.

Other recent conversations at council meetings have included availability of TV channels, phone services and privacy questions.

“Resident council groups are vital,” Bajema says. “Having a place where residents can share their thoughts and ideas directly with department heads allows for open communication between the facility and those who live there for long-term care.”

It’s just one more way that the Lynden health-care center works to provide compassionate care in a loving environment for those they serve.

To learn more about Christian Health Care Center or to inquire about admissions to our facility in north Whatcom County, visit the CHCC website or contact 360-354-4434.


Posted:Tuesday, February 7th, 2017

Family atmosphere, community support and employee input make CHCC unique

What sets Christian Health Care Center apart?

For one thing, it’s our family atmosphere. The members of our social services department, led by Steve Wallace, are, in many ways, like family for our residents. They’re hand-picked for their ability and desire to welcome residents to the facility and take care of their needs. They’re trustworthy and reliable, always around to help when they’re needed. Our residents, and their families, laugh with them, cry with them and rely on them greatly.

There’s also our chaplaincy team, who provide support for all residents who seek it.

“The healing process is not just medical,” says Patrick O’Neill, Christian Health Care Center’s CEO. “It’s also emotional and spiritual. All of these come together to help people heal or find comfort in difficult situations. “The chaplaincy program is one of the services we offer that’s not available at many other facilities.”

A chaplain’s job is to meet with residents, often just to chat but also periodically to pray, to provide support, to see if the resident has any special needs.

“They are often available if people want a visit,” O’Neill says. “And if they don’t, that’s fine, too. We respect people’s choices.”

Another thing that sets CHCC apart is the fact that it’s devoted to listening to our employees and to implementing positive changes based on that feedback.

CHCC recently formed a committee of employees from departments throughout the organization; that committee meets regularly to discuss how things are going and what needs to be improved.

“They’ve been really helpful,” O’Neill says. “We want to hear their opinions; because of that we’ve been able to make a lot of changes.”

Recently, for example, CHCC has given employees an extra paid holiday, improved vacation accrual speed, upgraded computers that needed replacing and reorganized offices to improve efficiency. All of that came from employee input, O’Neill says.

To fulfill its mission to provide the best possible care for residents, CHCC has to listen and be serious about implementing changes, he says. And he thinks they’re on the right path.

“It’s an ongoing process,” he says. “Our employees and residents have always said we do a phenomenal job of providing a full spectrum of care. And part of that is always striving to improve, no matter how well things are going.”

And then there’s the incredible support of the surrounding community.

“The community really wraps its arms around this facility,” O’Neill says. “It’s a very special relationship that’s apparent just by walking through the halls.”

CHCC’s residents are the community’s people. Familiar faces abound at CHCC, and it’s inevitable that any visit will result in long conversations with familiar friends. Christian Health Care Center has been a mainstay in Lynden since 1956, and it has become a community treasure, O’Neill says.

“The community owns this organization,” he says. “We’re a huge part of the community, and the community is a huge part of us.”

For more information about Christian Health Care Center, please contact us today. Our reception desk is open seven days per week from 8 a.m. through 9 p.m.

Posted:Saturday, January 28th, 2017

What are nursing assistants, and what do they do?

Andrea A, NAC -- Dec. 2016 shining starLooking for a job in Whatcom County? What would you say to a quick-start career with practically guaranteed full-time work?

The only caveat is that, like any nurse, you have to be compassionate and loving, with a servant’s heart.

Is that you? Great. Read on.

As the population ages, the value of nursing assistants (also known as Nursing Assistants-Certified or Certified Nursing Assistants) only grows. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts booming job growth for NACs through at least 2024. The predicted 17-percent growth rate for nursing assistants far surpasses the national average of 7 percent.

Not only is there a great need for nursing assistants, but the process of becoming a NAC is fast and easy. Christian Health Care Center offers free classes for anyone who wants to start a career in healthcare and work at CHCC.

The four-week training program teaches students about the roles and responsibilities of nursing assistants, residents’ rights, patient care techniques, infection control, observation and reporting skills, addressing mental health challenges, using modern technology to record medical records and much more.

NAC grads - Nov. 2016Quite a few people work as NACs while they’re going to school to become a registered nurse, a licensed practical nurse or while they’re earning a degree for another position in the healthcare field. CHCC has seen a number of people work as NACs while they attend educational programs at Bellingham Technical College, Whatcom Community College or Western Washington University.

What do NACs do on a daily basis?

“Nursing assistants are the heart and hands of the work we do here,” reports Heather Lewis, director of nursing services at CHCC.

A nursing assistant’s primary goal is to ensure that residents are well-cared for in a pleasant, positive and calm environment.

This means helping them perform activities of daily living, such as moving around, eating, using the bathroom, bathing, grooming and positioning. It also means measuring and recording residents’ blood pressure, weight, urine output, breathing and pulse.

“We know that a good NAC is a great communicator who always respects a resident’s rights and confidentiality.”

NACs also need to be attentive to residents’ needs. Sometimes, that might mean encouraging them to be more independent. Other times, it might mean encouraging them to accept help. While most residents have the same basic needs, the process of ensuring those needs are met differs from person to person.

Want to get started?

Nursing assistant grads--March 2016Christian Health Care Center is recognized by the Washington State Department of Health as an approved training program for nursing assistants. Classes at the skilled nursing facility are held several times throughout the year. To sign up, visit CHCC online or check in on Facebook for upcoming sessions. Believe it or not, there is no cost to students. CHCC pays all class-related expenses (more than $1,000 in value), including the instructor fee, books, testing fees and application fees.

Once they’ve completed their certification, graduates of CHCC’s free NAC training class receive priority consideration for any nursing assistant jobs that are available at the time.

Posted:Monday, January 2nd, 2017

What to consider before choosing a therapeutic rehab center

Outpatient Rehab UnitPhysical, occupational and speech therapy provide a number of benefits. You probably know this already, because if you’re reading this your doctor has likely prescribed therapeutic rehabilitation or has at least encouraged you to consider the many ways therapy can help.

To aid in the process of selecting a therapeutic rehabilitation center in Whatcom County, here are a couple of questions you might want to consider before picking up the phone:

What type of therapy does the center offer?

Here at Christian Health Care Center, our physical therapists can help diagnose and treat movement problems, helping patients regain mobility. And they can help patients avoid surgery in some cases and recover from surgery in others.

tuyyno_vdp0-sam-wheelerOur occupational therapists help patients correct or compensate for problems with daily living.

What’s the difference between physical and occupational therapy, you ask? Well, think of it like this. Physical therapy is about restoring general physical function — movement, balance, strength, flexibility. Occupational therapy is more about the specific movements required by everyday life. Or, put another way: Physical therapy will help you walk into the kitchen, and occupational therapy will help you cook dinner.

Speech therapy can be necessary following a stroke if language has become impaired. Speech therapists help individuals increase functional communication. They can also help with related swallowing challenges by modifying feeding techniques and diet requirements.

No matter what type of rehabilitation you need, CHCC’s therapists will craft a plan that’s specific to your needs. They are compassionate, well-trained healthcare providers.

Are the recovery rooms private or shared?

DSCF1026At our healthcare campus in Lynden, WA, CHCC provides top-of-the-line physical, occupational and speech therapy for a wide range of patients. Whether you’re planning a recovery from surgery at PeaceHealth Medical Center, recuperating from a workplace injury or recovering from a stroke, CHCC’s rehabilitation services can provide just the care you need. Our therapy services are available to patients six days per week.

Through a partnership with Infinity Rehab, a global leader in physical and occupational therapy, CHCC offers specialized, personal care in a private setting. In-patient therapy patients love that our physical therapy wing has its own entrance – separate from our long-term care wing — and each of our rooms has its own private bathroom. There are shared spaces for therapy sessions, socializing and visiting with family, but each of our therapeutic recovery rooms is private.

How does one schedule time in a therapeutic rehab center?

Admission to the therapeutic rehab program at CHCC involves three simple steps.

First, your physician will need to provide a summary of your health status and orders for medications, treatments, diagnostic studies, specialized rehab services, diet and physical mobility restrictions, along with plans for continuing care and discharge.

Second, you’ll need to provide CHCC with assurance there is funding in place for care services. If you’re not sure whether CHCC works with your insurance, give us a call at 360-354-4434.

Finally, our admissions approval team will carefully consider our ability to provide an appropriate level of care, maintain a safe environment and ensure proper staff levels and training.

If you have additional questions about admissions for therapeutic rehabilitation, please contact us at 360-354-4434 or via email at admissions@chcclynden.org.

Posted:Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

The benefits of therapeutic recreation in a long-term care setting

“Recreation’s purpose is not to kill time, but to make life; not to keep a person occupied, but to keep them refreshed; not to offer an escape from life, but to provide a discovery of life.” -Author Unknown

The staff and volunteers at Christian Health Care Center have taken this motto to heart.

pic 2

Through its therapeutic recreation department, CHCC is committed to providing numerous activities aimed at ensuring residents have ample opportunities to exercise and socialize. Our paid staff and community volunteers love keeping residents engaged and active all year long.

It’s not just for the fun of it all. Therapeutic recreation has been shown to provide many benefits related to emotional, physical and mental well-being.

What is therapeutic recreation, and how does it benefit those who live at CHCC?

In short, therapeutic recreation programs are designed to facilitate patients’ physical and emotional well-being by providing activities that help improve cognitive, social and motor functioning. Structured activities at CHCC are part of a holistic program that has been designed to help individuals keep their minds and bodies fresh in all kinds of ways.
Even a single 20-minute exercise session, for example, can help people significantly reduce their anxiety and stress. Activities such as board games and bingo, both favorites at CHCC, help improve hand-eye coordination, fine-motor skills and gross-motor movement. Activities like this can be both challenging and rewarding for both mind and body; all of our activities are designed with this in mind.

Some of our residents’ favorite activities include: music, socializing, scenic outings, worship services, pet visits, movie nights and bingo. Sounds fun, right?Yukon and his owner Elmer 2016- pet therapy visits

Activities also are designed to improve cognitive health. People with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia can see improvements when involved in a therapeutic recreation program.

One study, for example, showed that individuals involved in therapeutic recreation had fewer days in which they exhibited dementia-related behaviors. Therapeutic recreation resulted in greater engagement and more displays of positive moods.

Other studies link recreational therapy to increased activity and alertness, fewer falls and less use of medication. And exercise programs, especially among frail adults, can lead to greater cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure and increased flexibility, strength and ambulatory skills.

pic 4At Christian Health Care Center in Lynden, we know that positive, engaged interactions are critical to maintaining and even improving health and well-being, regardless of age or ability.

For more information, contact us and ask about how our therapeutic recreation program can make life better for those who call CHCC home.