Proposal #18



January 28, 2004


Mr. Robert L. Winford, Executive Director
The Robert L. Winford Foundation
P.O. Box 1225
Warrensburg, MO 64093

Dear Mr. Vickers:

Greetings! [The introduction paragraph is purely to connect. . . Either 1) first- or second-generational connections/relationships, 2) geographic connections, and/or 3) field of interest connections AND/OR relationships.]


Hubert H. Humphrey once said the following:
"The true measure of society is in how it cares for those who cannot care for themselves.
Those in the dawn of life–the children. Those in the twilight of life–the elderly.
And those in the shadows of life–the sick, the needy, and the handicapped."

We face a critical problem in our nation… an Aging Society. And as America’s population has aged, so has America’s nursing home population--and the trend is particularly evident in Missouri. Of the state’s residents, 42 percent of those aged 85 and over live in long-term care facilities, compared to only 25 percent of their peers nationwide. This most elderly of the older population is more likely to need round-the-clock skilled nursing care and assistance with daily activities, such as bathing, eating, toileting, dressing, and transferring from bed to wheelchair.

Research shows the conventional approach to long-term is costly in dollars and quality of life. Seventeen percent of the nursing home residents in Missouri use psychotropic drugs, fifteen percent experience pressure sores, and almost twelve percent have urinary tract infections, which leads to a decreased quality of life. Human beings need variety in their surroundings. Everyone lives close to the rhythm of the natural world. Caring is important, but we must allow the continuum to flow through our residents and employees as they experience independence and control.

The Vickers Center at Warrensburg is committed to overcoming loneliness, helplessness, and boredom by empowering our employees with decision making, enhancing our environment with animals, children, and plant gardens, and allowing the community to be a greater part of the facility. Our goal is to weave the philosophy of The Eden Alternative into the existing application and make it work in the real world of long-term care. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our residents and employees.

There is one powerful solution to this dilemma… The Eden Alternative.

Review of the current public discussion on long-term care issues reveals that significant energy is focused on the negative aspect of the industry. There seemed to be a void of "encouragement" in nursing homes. We are involved in a program which can change the attitude of the employees, give hope and encouragement to the residents, and allow the community to be an intrigent part of an ongoing process. We can now begin to think of our nursing homes not as an institution, but as a human habitat. With a staff of employees, who are now making decisions, and residents who are now "caregivers," a new world of hope and challenges can energize the community to participate in a positive process. We can now start to see ourselves as a collection of species in one place, at one time, and for one reason in a uniquely human, highly unnatural development. With these resources and your financial support, we can bridge the current practices with a future that delivers a dramatically improved quality of life for the residents

We are strategically positioned, we have a plan, and we have the relationship with our residents, employees, and community who are ready to respond--but we need help. We need your help! The Vickers Center at Warrensburg has a plan that is ready and in place. The time is NOW for this initiative! We have a desire to be the best and we are seeking your help. Our employees and residents are depending on us to continue this process. Every employee we have wants to a better decision maker, each of our residents wants to be a caregiver and our community wants to be part of the human habitat! The funding of this proposal will allow that to happen.

We are prepared to support them. Here’s our plan. The Vickers Center at Warrensburg has become a certified Eden Alternative facility. This is a long-term process that required a formal commitment from the Board of Directors, a commitment from a few identified employees, and the administration. It is our belief that we can help eliminate boredom, loneliness, and helplessness of our residents by instituting the Eden Principles.

It is our intent to retrain our staff to be problem solvers and team oriented players. After training, the staff will form committees to address each part of Eden such as dogs, cats, fish, plants, and children. We will have animals that live in our Center. Each resident that wishes may have a bird at his or her bedside. We will also encourage the residents to grow plants and will have special plant boxes that roll from room to room. We will also add aquariums to our common areas. During the next year, we will begin a refurbishing process to make the health center more attractive and make each floor a small community. At Vickers Center at Warrensburg we will honor the dignity and value of each life in order to create a human habitat and a place of joy for the resident, their families, the employee, and the community.

Our plan is in place. We are now scheduling committee meetings for the different areas (dogs, cats, birds, etc.). Only one barrier stands between us and accomplishing this initiative at our facility and in the community… adequate funding. You can help make our plan become a reality. Please review the attached proposal and support our work. I am respectfully submitting the enclosed proposal for you to consider funding. If you need additional information, please call me at (660) 747-6390.

Please accept my sincere "thanks" for your efforts and willingness to support our innovative approach to overcome the three plagues of long term care institutions–loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. I hope you share our excitement about the potential for our plan to have a significant impact on our employees, our residents, and our community. I am excited about establishing a partnership that will bear much fruit.

Respectfully submitted


Steve Chalcroft, Administrator
Vickers Care Center at Warrensburg



The Eden Alternative:
Vickers Center at Warrensburg
Summary Page

Mission and Purpose Statements:
The Vickers Center, a retirement home for elderly, is related to The United Methodist Church and serves the Mississippi and Missouri River Valleys of East Missouri and Southwest Illinois. The Vickers Center is a long-term care center which provides a complete range of programs, services, and activities designed to enhance the life each individual resident.

Project Statement:
We want The Vickers Center at Warrensburg to be a place of joy, where residents have their lives enhanced, employees enjoy coming to work, and the community feels a part of the facility. We want to be part of the solution for loneliness, helplessness, and boredom. We believe that The Eden Alternative can do that by enhancing the quality of life for our residents, keeping life and joy at the forefront of their care, empowering our employees in the care giving process, and allowing our community to be a part of the Eden process. The Eden Alternative is a proven way for this to take place through the introduction of birds, dogs and cats, fish, and other processes into the care facility (See attached articles).

Target Market:
The elderly and handicapped residents being admitted to The Vickers Center at Warrensburg from the greater East Missouri and Southwest Illinois area.

Organizational Type:
The Vickers Center is a 174-bed intermediate and skilled nursing home facility, which is a part of a regional network in East Missouri and Southwest Illinois. We are incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) organized in the State of Missouri in 1981 and are governed by a Board of Directors of 36 (See Attachment).

Primary Contact Information:
Mr. Steve Chalcroft, Administrator     (660) 747-6390
Vickers Center at Warrensburg         (660) 111-1111, Fax
408 Seventh Street Terrace               E-mail:
Warrensburg, MO 64093                   Website:

Financial Request and Purpose:
A financial need to improve the quality of life for residents who live at The Vickers Center at Warrensburg. This concept would create a controlled habitat for dogs, cats, birds, plants, and children in the rooms, halls, and setting areas for the residents. Total Amount Requested $35,000

Evaluation Procedure/Method:
We are committed to integrity and will perform any reasonable accountability measure required by a funder. However, we will be particularly monitoring certain areas such as: Documented reduction in drug use, which leads to less falls, less decubiti (bed sores), less infection, a richer quality of life and a lower mortality rate for the residents. A lower turnover in employees, who are given empowerment in the decision making process. At the Chase Memorial Nursing Home in New Berlin, New York monthly drug cost (in 2 ½ years) was cut from $5,000 a month to $2,800 a month. Based on the New York model, the Institute of Quality Improvement in Long Term Health Care at Southwest Texas State University is conducting research on the Eden model in Texas. The project, now in its third year involves collecting data from the six Texas nursing homes that are participating in the research project. Psychotropic drug use dropped 92 percent.


The Eden Alternative:
The Vickers Center at Warrensburg

Summary of the Problem:
To develop a tool to improve the quality of life for residents who live in long-term care facilities. This instrument would eliminate the plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom by rejuvenating residents, empowering employees in the care giving process, and ending the stigma applied to nursing home environment.

Project Description:
The Eden Alternative is a set of ideals and practices, which enhances the experience of aging in long-term care. This is done by empowering employees through team building techniques to participate in the care planning process of the resident who in turn would care for companion animals like dogs, cats, and birds living at the facility. Other stimuli like plant gardens and children would be available to create opportunities for variety and spontaneity. This human and animal community would promote each other in a balance that encourages the virtues of daily life.

The Method and Procedures:
The data and source documents for this project will be obtained from the Medical Administration Record of the non-skilled residents to show the reduction in drug use. The facility’s Incident Report will be use to record the falls and will be calculated at the end of each month to determine trends. The Monthly Pressure Sore Report will show the increase or decrease in the number and stages (I, II, III, or IV) of pressure sores. The monthly Death Register will be used to determine the increase or decrease in mortality rate from previous years. The employee turnover rate is monitored monthly by our Corporate Human Resource Department and will use past history as a standard. The population for the project will be selected by the Director of Nursing or the Assistant Director of Nursing and will be monitored to determine results.

Background and History:
The setting is a 174 bed long-term nursing facility overlooking downtown Warrensburg. It features a 36 skilled bed unit for residents who require specialized geriatric rehabilitation services. The balance of the 138 beds are for non-skilled resident who require less attention from licensed personal. The residents in this facility are predominantly white (165 whites and 4 blacks) and are 11.8 percent males and 88.2 percent females.

Project Goals and Objectives:
1. The introduction of dogs and cats to the health care residents.
Objective: To purchase one dog per floor (4 floors), to be completed by April 2004.
Objective: To purchase two cats per floor (4 floors), to be completed by April 2004.

2. To implement Indoor and Outdoor plant designs:
Objective: To purchase plants and planters of different height for each floor (4 floors) at different intervals, to be completed by July 2004.

3. To have an on-going team building program for present and future employees.
Objective: To have Chairperson and Committee for each goal meeting by January 2004.

4. To make available to each resident (in their room), a caged bird.
Objective: To purchase special cages and selected birds from a certified vendor by July 2004.

Previous Program Accomplishments:
The Vickers Center is not only active in spirit, but in volunteerism. The Vickers Center Volunteer Auxiliary in 1996 and in 1997 was nominated for the Missouri Health Care Association’s Volunteer Group of the Year Award. This award recognizes the group or organization which best exemplifies the spirit of volunteerism. The 70 member auxiliary is busy every day creating items for the annual two-day Fall Bazaar, conducting Bingo games and furnishing prizes, visiting patients and assisting with their needs, training new volunteers, fundraising, providing musical entertainment, and decorating and helping maintain the building. To help patients realize their potential for independence, the volunteers often take patients shopping in the Auxiliary-run boutique, and they purchased equipment to help room-bound patients become more connected with others and have provided many needed services at the facility for more than 19 years. The group also played a large part in a major landscaping project at the facility in 1996. The auxiliary donated $1000 to launch the first phase of the grounds’ renovation.

In 1997, The Vickers Center Auxiliary was an award finalist in the J.C. Penney Co. Golden Award. This award, a community-wide competition held yearly to encourage public service, rewards outstanding work by individuals and groups with monetary contributions to their programs.

Our Timing:
The Eden Alternative is a process not a program. There is no end and there will always be change. We the management and employees are determined to establish this process at Vickers Center at Warrensburg and are preparing at this time to institute the project. We are strategically positioned, we have a plan, and we have the opportunity to reach more that 375 residents and 200 employees who are ready to respond. We are excited about taking this project to the next level with some expanded funding—but we have already started implementing this concept. Everything is in-place, on going, and will continue to proceed. We are ready and able to expand. However, financial partnering is needed.