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The Selfhelp Home: Enhancing Qualities with Continuum of Care

Efrat Dallal | CMO | The Selfhelp Home
Efrat Dallal | CMO | The Selfhelp Home

What matters most when you need home care is connecting with a remarkable caregiver! Nursing and residential care facilities are essential in that they provide a positive quality of life for aging people.

At some point support from family, friends, and local programs may not be sufficient. People who require full-time assistance may be moved to a residential facility that provides many or all of the long-term care services they need. Assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and continuing care retirement communities are just a few examples of facility-based long-term care services.

While some facilities merely provide housing and housekeeping, many offer personal care and medical attention altogether with life enrichment for residents, such as live music from Classical to Klezmer, music and art therapy, and the highest quality of rehabilitation and effective care. This is where The Selfhelp Home shines out in the spotlight.

The Selfhelp Home thrives as a boutique Jewish community where older adults experience the highest quality of life possible, founded on the principles of compassion and dignity.

Under the adept leadership of Sheila Bogen, Executive Director, The Selfhelp Home ranks at the top nationwide in short-term rehab and skilled nursing care. This year the facility was also named the ‘best’ senior living community in the country by US News and World Report.

The Legacy

Selfhelp Home was founded more than 75 years ago with a singular vision to be a refuge for victims of the Holocaust. Today, this continues to be the model for how the Home serves older adults in the community. The best practices that have been at Selfhelp for decades are love, compassion, dignity, kindness, and respect for the whole person.

Moreover, Selfhelp Home is trusted by one of the most renowned orthopedic surgeons— Dr Henry Finn. Dr Finn is a renowned Orthopedic specialist. He is one of the few doctors in the United States capable of successfully operating on arthrofibrosis patients. A patient of Dr Finn, Julie M. was excited to discover that real progress was possible with the treatment.

Julie knew what she needed to do. She made the trip from Texas to Illinois for the arthrofibrosis procedure. Then, she turned to The Selfhelp Home for her Orthopedic recovery and physical therapy post-surgery. She continues to express enthusiasm and hope on her path to recovery. Adding to this scenario, Dr Finn mentioned, “Our patients are flying from all over the US to rehab with The Selfhelp Home after their surgeries.”

Over the years, the legacy and reputation of The Selfhelp Home serve as the leading organization that continues to advance as a culturally rich community that offers top-quality care for those that live at Selfhelp, come for rehabilitation, or work here.

Assurance of Quality and Convenience

The Selfhelp Home is the only Jewish CCRC offering a niche atmosphere. All the factors for successful aging are within its walls. Lifelong learning is part of its fabric: Life enrichment for residents such as live music from Classical to Klezmer, music and art therapy, and the highest quality of rehabilitation and care. The authentic engagement of diverse residents, together with the ability to ‘age in place,’ defines The Selfhelp Home.

This year Selfhelp was the first community in the nation to ever receive Joint Commission certification for Assisted Living. This is a new category for Joint Commission in response to its industry seeing an older and more frail population in assisted living than ever before. Older adults are waiting longer to move to senior living or waiting for a life-changing incident like a fall to make the transition.

Like many assisted living facilities around the country, The Selfhelp Home is experiencing an acuity level increase for residents in assisted living. The facility also noticed that it is already doing many of the required components to be certified by the Joint Commission in Assisted Living, a new certification established by the Joint Commission in response to the rising care needs in Assisted Living Communities.

Therefore, The Selfhelp Home went for it as it was essential to go ahead and certify its efforts, be the first community to achieve this and hope that the industry will follow to raise the bar in assisted living communities across the country.

The staff and the excellent care truly set Selfhelp apart from the rest. Providing the best high-quality services to its residents is its top priority. There is an authentic culture of care at Selfhelp. Selfhelp has retained a remarkable record of staff longevity where staff have been here for many years.

Adept Leadership

Sheila Bogen has a special connection to Selfhelp as being a first-generation child of survivors, “The mission of the Selfhelp Home immediately resonated deep within me.” Her professional life has revolved around senior care and hospitality and answering the call to provide the best service to Chicago’s only Jewish non-profit Continuing care retirement community.

Sheila has a lifetime career in senior care and grew up in the hospitality business. Her family owned a deluxe Kosher resort hotel; she understands the importance of providing excellent service and making people feel good.

Benchmark of Credibility

Selfhelp creates a boutique atmosphere for seniors providing a personalized care plan for each resident. The facility looks at the resident, who they are, where they have come from, what they enjoy and what they need to feel comfortable and have a high quality of life. Selfhelp provides the entire continuum of care; this provides a more streamlined approach to the patient or resident.

The Selfhelp Home is a one-stop shop for seniors who want to live an extraordinary life in a safe environment and can feel safe to age in place without moving to another home when their care needs change. For example, residents that move in under assisted living know they have a safe place to recover here if they become ill.

Its rehab patients often decide to stay long term or continue therapy with the outpatient therapy services, or they stay in a respite apartment for a couple of additional weeks after rehab if they are not ready to return home.

Pearls of Wisdom

Sharing her opinions on how advanced technologies and gadgets have aided the nursing home industry, Sheila shared, “We are using a new tool called VirtuSense Technologies. We assess every new resident and use it in our rehabilitation unit to ensure patients are safe to return home. Our therapy services extend throughout our entire community giving easy access to each resident to be living their best life.”

Moreover, as advice for the budding aspirants willing to enter the nursing home niche, Sheila expressed, “Be prepared to work extremely hard, invest yourself into the entity, treat your employees like family members – at least the ones you like.”

“Treat every resident as if they are your grandparents or parents. Every decision you make should be preceded by “is this decision the best one for the residents,” added Sheila.

Embracing the Future Roadmap

The Selfhelp Home plans to add Home Care as an added service to its continuum of care. This would take its services out into the community and allow the facility to reach people that are not ready to move.

Moreover, sharing her opinions on the impact of home nursing services in today’s world Sheila stated, “We have known for some time that as the Baby Boomers age, the demand for health care workers would be stretched to the max. No one anticipated a worldwide virus that would throw every country into turmoil and affect so many ordinary everyday events and families.”

Some of the most substantial impacts are staffing within Health Care areas, especially in the Senior Care field, which arises from low wages for every level of care.

The Medicaid reimbursement for Long Term Care residents is woefully underfunded. Every state has its own axe to grind, but the challenge is even more significant in Illinois, which ranks third from the bottom of the nation’s reimbursement.

In the current financial situation where inflation is galloping ahead of us, that diligent C N A is only making $15 an hour in the city of Chicago. If you were financially responsible for your spouse, two children and a goldfish, could you afford rent, food, clothing, transportation, etc., $15 an hour? So as other, less taxing, less responsible, less stressful opportunities arise, nursing home staff are leaving the industry in droves.

Some strategies can mitigate this “Nursing brain drain” – hopefully, many operators have spent time, money, interest, and personal involvement to nurture their staff. At Selfhelp Home, we are proud to say that we have employees who have worked with us for more than 20, 30 and even 40 years. It is all due to the culture that pervades in the Home.

Secondly, it is about time that the Immigration Authorities allow qualified Health Care personnel to enter this country to work. Instead of ignoring the thousands of illegal, non-medical personnel, let us open our borders and welcome qualified nurses, aides, etc.

By the time Immigration Officials retire, there might not be any professionals around to care for them. “And finally, let us create programs at the high school level where careers in Nursing, Senior Care and Hospitality can be encouraged, taught, and lauded as The Best Career in The World,” she added.



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