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Perham Memorial Home representative presents at conference

Karen Laughlin, Perham Memorial Home (PMH) life enhancement coordinator, along with Carmen Bowman, a leading culture change consultant, recently presented at the annual Pioneer Network Conference in St. Charles, Mo.

Laughlin's role at PMH is to assist in providing opportunities for residents to maintain lifestyles as close as possible to how they lived prior to moving into the facility.

"It's our responsibility to bring quality of life - meaningful life - to all in our care," Laughlin said. "One way we accomplish this is to support our residents in how they wish to live."

Laughlin is one of the leaders instrumental in the culture change movement at PMH and recently added a wellness program to her duties. She is a certified activities director and has been employed at PMH since 1981.

Bowman, one of the original pioneers of the long-term care culture change movement, spent time at PMH observing first-hand the impact of 'Person First' and the household model of care. Lessons learned during this time culminated in her co-authoring a book titled "Vibrant Living."

"Perham's transformation is so motivating it inspired me to co-write a book," Bowman said. "One of the most profound observations I noted from my time in Perham, was when people live 'in family,' in a home where they are well known, so many institutional practices are no longer needed. This is when culture change truly occurs."

Bowman attended Concordia College in Moorhead and did her social work practicum at Frazee Care Center. She is the daughter of David and Karen (Ohman) Ohlde who summer on West McDonald Lake near Perham.

As guest speakers at the Pioneer Conference, Laughlin and Bowman were asked to share with their peers in the industry their experiences and ideas for creating a meaningful life for residents in the nursing home setting.

The Pioneer Network sponsors the annual conference to promote culture change in long-term care. Its mission is to advocate and facilitate deep system change and transformation in the culture of aging through creating networking and education; building and supporting relationships and community; identifying and promoting transformation in practice, services, public policy and research; and developing and providing access to resources and leadership.