Graduate Student Spends 10 Days Living in an EMHS Continuing Care Facility


(Waterville, ME) – Starting July 18, Kara Janes, age 44, a graduate social work student at the University of Maine, will spend 10 days as an “elderly resident” at Lakewood, a continuing care center, on the Inland Hospital campus in Waterville. It’s part of a program called “Learning by Living,” and Lakewood is one of only eight facilities in New England participating in this unique study.

At Lakewood, Kara will be required to live the life of an elderly resident, complete with medical diagnoses and standard procedures of care. She is eager to start her exploration at Lakewood. “Learning by Living creates a unique opportunity, allowing myself to be immersed in an environment that may affect the aging population at some point in their lives. Through my own experience at Lakewood, I hope to get a better understanding of one's emotional, physical, and spiritual journey while living in a facility,” says Kara.

The Learning by Living project was designed and implemented by Marilyn Gugliucci, PhD, director of Geriatrics Education and Research at the College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England (UNECOM) in 2005, and since then students from UNECOM and other schools have integrated themselves into nursing home facilities to experience how a resident is cared for, 24 hours a day.

Dr. Gugliucci explains, “This program is intended to provide students, studying to be physicians or in other health professions training, a first-hand experience of living the life of an older adult with a health condition. In the end, these students will hopefully become better care providers because of this personal experience and unique connection they have made living as a resident.”

The facilities are not compensated for taking the student in as a resident, but the staff at Lakewood feel this experience is just as beneficial for them as it is for the student. According to Shannon Coro, Lakewood administrator, “We are excited to help future care providers gain personal insight into our residents’ experience at Lakewood. This is their home and the relationships we build with them are so important to their quality of life.”

Lakewood is part of EMHS, which has seven other long-term care facilities including: Aroostook Health Center and within Rosscare, in partnership with First Atlantic, Ross Manor, Sylvia Ross Home, and Stillwater Health Care in Bangor, Colonial Health Care in Lincoln, Katahdin Health Care in Millinocket, and Dexter Health Care in Dexter. At this time, only Lakewood is participating in the Learning by Living Project.

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