The Columns Community Care Center

3025 4th Street
Jonesville, Louisiana 71343

The Columns has removed the institutionalized, cafeteria-style approach from its dining experience and replaced it with more of a restaurant vibe. Specifically, The Columns plays soft background music in the dining room, and a harpist will visit frequently to play live music. The facility’s tables are set with linen napkins and tablecloths, and residents may choose to refrain from wearing clothing protectors. The residents are also given more choices, like with the dessert cart that goes around the tables during meal times. Each resident (diabetic or not) can have more than one dessert, which may include strawberry cheesecake, chocolate cheesecake, and brownie delight. Staff members bring residents their choice of beverage (i.e. coffee, tea, punch, lemonade) and water to tables, just like patrons experience at restaurants.

Soft-serve ice cream is provided at the residents’ disposal throughout the day and at night, along with a beverage bar that offers hot chocolate, punch, coffee and tea. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. to accommodate both early and late risers; and continental breakfast is offered to all residents a few times each month. Some mornings, the residents can enjoy made-to-order omelets and pancakes. On Mondays, the facility honors residents’ preference for traditional red beans and rice as a dinner option. Also, fish is offered on Fridays for Catholics and other residents who prefer a non-red-meat option.

The Columns also allows residents to choose their bathing times (whether they prefer to be bathed in the evening, afternoon, or even late at night), 24 hours around the clock, just as they would bathe when they want at their own homes.  The Columns has revamped its Whirlpool rooms, so they are spa-like; which makes them more inviting and less institutionalized.

This year, the facility also started offering an intergenerational program where students from Jonesville Block High School visit with the residents three times a week and engage in exercise, bingo, and other activities and games.

Over the last year, The Columns acquired Precious, a Yorkshire Terrier, who makes her way throughout the facility, greeting the residents who want to see her. These residents treat Precious as if she is the facility mascot, and one resident in particular lets her sleep in her room.

Some additional culture changes are the negation of overhead intercom paging, which has created a more tranquil environment for everyone at The Columns; and designating functional roles for residents who seek them. For instance, one resident was a seamstress at an earlier age, so she now assists the facility with fixing buttons and stitching. Another resident, who was a dry cleaner, now irons clothes at the facility. 

One other additional culture change experienced at The Columns is the learning circles, which have given the staff and residents the opportunity to discuss concepts and issues they wouldn’t normally have a chance to discuss or learn. From this circle, staff members implemented the use of dining mats for bed-ridden residents who are unable to eat in the dining room, so eating in their rooms feels more home-like and less “tray-like.”  The idea of getting a pet like Precious came from these learning circles as well.

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