February 14th, 2002

Great River Medical Center’s Living History program has been named a national winner in the American Society on Aging’s (ASA) fourth annual Healthcare and Aging Awards. The program received honorable mention in a special award category created by the ASA and Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals: “Managed Care and Aging: Recognizing Innovation and Quality.”

Judging was based on innovation, potential for replication, effectiveness in meeting the immediate needs of the people served, potential impact on the senior population and benefits. The award ceremony is scheduled for April 5 in Denver during the 2002 Joint Conference of The National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging.

Making connections is the premise of the Living History program, which began in December 2000. Specially trained employees from various hospital departments interview selected patients and write their life stories. The stories are placed at the beginning of patient-care charts and caregivers are required to read them. The information can be used to establish connections between patients and employees. Storywriters also create a quick-reference poster featuring a bridge, which is placed prominently in patient rooms.

“We have felt for months that the Living History program helps improve the way we care for our patients, especially the elderly,” program creator and director Sheila Brune said. “It increases our compassion and understanding, and gives us a new way to deepen relationships with patients and their families. This award validates that others believe the work we are doing is good, and that it must continue.”