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Franciscan Sisters of Chicago Announce Theresa Dudzik Innovation Grant Winners

(Scroll down to view photos from the grant check presentation)

Lemont, IL - February 21, 2019 - The Franciscan Sisters of Chicago have named The Village of Victory Lakes in Lindenhurst, Illinois, St. Joseph Village in Chicago, and Mount Alverna Village in Parma, Ohio, as the recipients of its annual Theresa Dudzik Innovation Grant. The purpose of the grant, established over 25 years ago, is to encourage advances in serving the poor, elderly, and needy, by providing seed money for outstanding initiatives.

Submissions were accepted from member organizations designed to increase the quality and quantity of programs and services offered within Franciscan Ministries, sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago. Additionally, the award encourages creative problem solving and encourages professionals to document, display, and share their successes with others in a spirit of caring.

All of this year’s winners are senior living facilities. Two of the facilities tied for the first prize, and will receive $10,000 each in seed money to develop their innovations which address the memory issues which afflict numerous elderly. The third facility will receive $5,000 to carry out its innovation of compassionate discharge care.

The Village of Victory Lakes is developing a program called, “Person-Centered Dementia Care - Know the Person." This program seeks to know the residents’ background, lifestyle, preferences, values, and strengths. It recognizes the whole person, not only their functional abilities and healthcare needs, but also their spirituality, their source of joy, their social needs and abilities, and their role in the community. It includes how dementia is impacting how these residents see the world. In the skilled care setting of their facility collecting this information is challenging, but only part of the challenge. One of the bigger challenges is how to communicate this information to the entire care team and what to do with that information once it is shared. The seed money will enable this facility to develop a Person-Centered Care Profile tool as well as the process for sharing it and using it.

St. Joseph Village of Chicago will be implementing a program called, “It’s Never Too Late (iN2L): An Interdisciplinary Initiative.” It is an integrated software and hardware computer program designed to stimulate cognitive abilities, engage residents, promote communication of the residents with their family, reduce agitation, and enhance therapy outcomes. The seed money of the grant will allow St. Joseph Village to customize iN2L for each resident, taking into account his/her nursing, spiritual care, dietary, life enrichment, social services, and therapy needs. The customization will also take into account the language, culture, interests, abilities, and personal needs of each resident.

Mount Alverna Village is implementing "Food for Your Journey". The purpose of the program is to make the transition home easier for residents who are discharged from the facility by providing them with a variety of different nutritional foods in an insulated bag. This innovation addresses the situation that is typical after a short term stay in rehabilitation. Upon discharge, the resident with his/her family or friends have numerous challenges to face in getting the resident home safely with all their medications and healthcare supplies. The food which was in the home refrigerator and pantry is often either expired, spoiled, or not appropriate for the new health status of the resident. Providing residents with a bag of nutritious food gives them quick and easy access to healthy foods from the moment they arrive home, and ensures that they are being well-nourished. In the long term, the handouts included in the bag provide guidelines for proper nutrition, once the food in the bag is gone.