Asbury Methodist Village: A Week-Long Lens on Culture Change and Technology

Center Post

Filming the next "Future of Aging" video at Asbury Methodist Village offered a birds-eye view of their commitment to culture change and technology adoption.

As a LeadingAge staff member, I have visited several members but rarely had the chance to spend more than a day or part of a day at a member organization.  That changed for me this week as I spent Monday-Friday at Asbury Methodist Village for the filming of an upcoming CAST video that will be the sequel to Imagine -- the Future of Aging.

Our video will chronicle an 83-year-old woman named Alma as she lives independently, suffers a stroke, goes to a hospital, then rehab and then back home. Throughout, technology supports care coordination and aging in place. Asbury was the most accommodating hosts we could ever imagine. They gave us full access to a vacant apartment to use as the set for our video,  In addition, Alma became a temporary fixture at Asbury. She participated in an exercise class, did some therapy in the physical therapy lab and walked through the corridors and common areas.

With Asbury's help, we created an electronic medical record for Alma and furnished her apartment with home monitoring and telehealth technologies. One of the most difficult parts was helping us stage a room in their nursing home to look like a hospital room. Because of its commitment to culture change, Asbury has no bed rails or tray tables. All rooms have carpet and home-like decorations. We had to import most of the hospital furnishings from the outside.

Having interacted with many residents and staff, I was struck by how the culture change commitment pervades throughout the organization. Everywhere I went, I saw staff members hugging residents, having informal conversations before beginning to clean apartments or drive shuttle buses, and genuinely enjoying each other's company. It is a massive campus, but you could feel the strong sense of community. 

I was also taken with how technology facilitates quality and culture at Asbury. The electronic medical record is extensive and includes touch screen kiosks for direct care staff. Residents use a virtual reality program for therapy and many wear safety pendants. Asbury is always looking to advance its technology portfolio.  One of the technologies we used in the video will stay there for a demonstration and potential implementation as part of their therapy suite.

The furniture in the apartment we used was left by a resident who moved out to be donated to the CCRC's "Bargain Mart." There, other residents can purchase furniture and other home furnishings and all proceeds are donated to Asbury's foundation. I met a gentleman in an elevator who was carrying a lamp he had just purchased and he was very pleased to have found this treasure. I made a mental note to make a donation to the foundation.    

We are grateful to Asbury for assisting with the production, and I am personally grateful to Asbury for reminding me why I love working on behalf of not-for-profit aging services.