Family Letter: Professor Sandra W. McLeskey, RN, PHD

February 29, 2013

Walter Fanburg, MD
Arbor Place
4413 Muncaster Mill Road
Rockville, MD 20853

Dear Dr. Fanburg:

As you know, I am a nurse who is a professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing. I have been in many health care facilities over the years, and have a good appreciation for what constitutes a good facility. I have also dealt with geriatric patients for many years. In fact, my initial nursing experience was on a geriatric floor. I have encountered many patients with dementia, and have a good appreciation of the special requirements for their care and the problems one may encounter when providing care. When my husband developed Alzheimer’s disease, I kept him at home for several years with the assistance of home care aides. However, this past summer I began to realize that his care was becoming so burdensome that I needed to investigate residential facilities.

When I began my search for a facility, my heart sank when I went into some of them. There was nothing particularly wrong with them, except that they were depressing and dreary, with patients sitting around sleeping in wheelchairs in front of a TV. But when I went to Arbor Place, I felt very happy. Patients were participating in activities and many of them appeared to be having fun. Others were sitting in chairs in various states of animation, but everyone looked clean, healthy, and contented. My husband accompanied me on the visit and was able to participate in the activities. When I got home, I told my daughter that I had just visited a facility that I loved. She said, “No one loves an Alzheimer’s facility!”

Nonetheless, my initial impressions of Arbor Place have been borne out. The staff there makes sure that the patients are healthy and happy. They engage the patients during every waking moment but also provide ample opportunities for rest. Since I have been visiting, I have also become aware of many measures they take to keep the patients safe – to keep them under close surveillance, limit their access to items that could hurt them, and to prevent falls. These safety-related measures are kept in the background, but are constant and careful. There are also constant measures to maintain the health of the patients through a sound diet, careful supervision of medications, and close monitoring of symptoms that might appear. When my husband developed behavioral problems, you and the staff worked with me to find a solution. I am happy to say that these efforts were successful and that today my husband is happy and healthy at Arbor Place. I feel that his quality of life has improved from when he was at home because I and one home care aide could not provide the stimulation and variety of activities that are available at Arbor Place. My husband says that the people at Arbor Place like him, that the food is delicious, and that he has fun there. I could not wish for a better outcome. I am extremely grateful to you and the staff at Arbor Place for providing such a good environment for my husband.

With warm regards,

Sandra W. McLeskey, RN, PhD

Professor, University of Maryland
School of Nursing

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