"...people with a practical vision of how to create a sustainable healthcare system"
The first baby boomers turned 65 in 2011 and became eligible for Medicare. By 2020, those same people will be 74 years old. Over the next 20-plus years the United States will experience what has been referred to as the Silver Tsunami. This represents an epic demographic shift, with more elders needing care than has ever been experienced in human history.
Unfortunately, by that time, if current trends continue, more than half of the nurses in this country will have retired and may need care themselves. Meanwhile, low retention rates and decreased employee satisfaction resulting from workplace stress and overload has many people avoiding the healthcare profession or leaving the industry altogether. The projected numbers of new nurses will fall far short of the demand. The healthcare industry is clearly ripe for and in need of transformation.
Fortunately, there are people with a practical vision of how to create a sustainable healthcare system.
Santa Fean Camille Adair conceived of FairCare™ in collaboration with her colleagues and other healthcare experts. Adair, a nurse and documentarian, has been a thought leader and visionary in the fields of conscious aging, end-of-life care and healthcare reform. In 2008, she developed the Green Hospice Philosophy and the Shades of Green Program, with the intention of applying the triple-bottom-line, where the relationship of the people, the environment and the prosperity (profit) are interconnected, measure organizational success and drive the bottom line. This has the potential to provide a new paradigm for an industry that has been excessively driven by fiscal compliance and productivity, and less by a human context.
FairCare is offering a certification program to healthcare organizations that could be likened to the healthcare version of the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Along with guidelines and standards for sustainable practices, it provides support and resources to achieve these goals. The certification process begins with an assessment for how to move forward with a customized plan for each business or organization.
FairCare is introduced in three phases, beginning with Planet, where the focus is on the carbon footprint, carbon offset, recycling and eco-friendly working conditions. This is an opportunity for branding, building positive community perception and increased workplace morale.
The second phase, People, addresses staff retention, recruitment, employee satisfaction and education. The development of Emotional Intelligence and Resilience Training is a big part of this. It is an approach backed by studies at institutions such as the Harvard School of Business. “Unlike most certifying entities within healthcare,” says Adair, FairCare is designed to provide support and solutions, rather than imposing weighty restrictions and regulations that often choke a healthcare provider’s ability to empathize and tap into the true resource of people’s humanity. And people-oriented skills can make a positive impact on the financial bottom line.”
The third phase, Prosperity, focuses on achieving sustainability through succession planning, leadership development, cooperative community relationships and transparency.
Advantage Home Care and Hospice team (l-r) Tamara Rodriguez, RN; Elis Wilson, SW; Paulina Jones, RN; Kathryne Lim, SW; Denys Cope, RN. Photo: Camille Adair
In addition to taking care of people, FairCare addresses environmental concerns through recycling and carbon-offset strategies. In partnership with Tree New Mexico, FairCare organizations will donate $1 per patient in support of treeplanting efforts in NM. FairCare’s 2013 goal is to plant more than 1,000 trees.
The pilot of the FairCare model in New Mexico is being integrated into a family-owned and operated healthcare agency, Advantage Home Care and Hospice. Adair is also taking the model to hospitals, cancer centers, long-term care facilities, home-care and hospice organizations. A group of national healthcare experts is working together to develop a plan for national expansion.
“For some, sustainability in healthcare is a new way of thinking,” says social worker Elis Wilson, who works for Advantage. “For Norteños, it is a reminder of our communal, subsistence- and land-based past. For the families of the mercedes (land grants), the ejido provided land for everyone to graze their livestock and cut their firewood. The acequia systems have also sustained the land, people and communities in this way. Stewardship, as the FairCare model recognizes, is not just of the land, but also of the community and culture. This model appeals not only to my social work values; it also speaks to my roots in the mountains, streams and communities of northern New Mexico.”
If you are a part of a healthcare business, a sector of government, a healthcare professional, private caregiver or someone in need of services, and would like to learn more about the movement to shift the healthcare paradigm through FairCare™ Certification, contact Adair at 505.470.3838 or Camille@CamilleAdair.com.
A group of hospice and healthcare professionals interested in FairCare™ meets in Albuquerque and Santa Fe each month. Many of these people intend to train as FairCare facilitators. There will be three emotional intelligence and resilience trainings as part of a certification process that is a prerequisite for caregivers who want to work with the model as well as be part of the certification process. Those trainings are May 23-25 and Oct. 3-5 for Level 1, and Oct. 17-19 for Level 2. Camille Adair, RN and UNM professor Dr. Amy McConnell Franklin, an international expert in emotional intelligence, are developing the training.
Seth Roffman, editor of Green Fire Times, is a writer and photojournalist. His work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, Native Peoples, Native Americas Magazine, Weekly Reader, New Mexico Magazine and many other publications.