4. Identify effective approaches to bridging the cross-cultural gap that may prevent families from using nursing home facilities when they are in the elders' best interests.
The following strategies will be used to help achieve the above-stated goals:
1. Develop expertise in writing grant applications.
2. Identify nongovernmental organizations that provide funding for these types of social programs.
3. Formulate a community education program to inform the people of Liberia of the need for long-term care facilities for the elderly when immediate family members are unable or unavailable to do so.
4. Develop a training regimen that can be used to help employees become familiar with the day-to-day care needs of the elderly and what part they will play in the process.
Given the current reluctance of the international community to make substantive investments in Liberia, the short-term tactics used to achieve the above-stated goals would require an aggressive public relations campaign to raise awareness among potential donor countries of the need for a nursing home facility in Liberia and the positive outcomes that could result. Assistance would also be solicited from accrediting agencies such as the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) in the United States to provide guidelines that should be followed in recruiting and training staff members and what factors should be addressed in facility design to ensure the safety and comfort of the elderly residents. Finally, a series of grant applications would be prepared and submitted to as many foundations as possible to gauge reactions and fine-tune the application process for future submissions.
Measuring the effectiveness of the funding received will be a fairly straightforward approach to monitoring the effectiveness of the grant application process, but there are other variables that can serve as metrics as well, including the percentage of beds filled in the nursing home, the turnover rate among staff and the number of patient-related incidents such as falls that occur. By keeping track of these statistics and developing trending graphs, problem areas can be identified and acted upon before they threaten the viability of the initiative.
The same cultural forces that hold the elderly in Liberia in high regard may adversely affect the ability of the nursing home facility envisioned herein to attract a sufficient number of residents. For example, according to Bray (2009), "The story is Liberians really care about the elderly because in Africa the elders stay with the family and are deeply respected. They play with the grand children and then they pass away right there in the home" (p. 3). In addition, resources for such an enterprise will be difficult to secure without the intervention of a nongovernmental organization such as the United Nations given the continuing stark economic conditions in Liberia today. There are also significant communications problems in Liberia, with almost all of the landline telephone services being restricted to in and around the nation's capital, Monrovia. Cellular telephone service is becoming increasingly commonplace even in rural areas, though, but Internet access remains sparse with just 2,000 Internet users in the entire country (Liberia, 2009).
The research showed that Liberia is a relatively small nation in West Africa with a population of approximately 3.5 million people. The research also showed that Liberia has experienced a series of bloody civil wars in recent years that have left its economy and population in disarray. Despite the cultural forces at work in Liberia that place a high regard on the elderly, the deaths of tens of thousands of younger Liberians have created a situation where an increasing number of elderly citizens in this country may not enjoy the family resources they need to live their lives out in comfort and safety. In this environment, the nursing home initiative describes above represents a timely and valuable enterprise that will serve as a model for other such projects throughout the country in the years to come.
Bray, M. (2009). The Mabel Bray Foundation. [Online]. Available: http://womeninactionfor progress.com/.
Liberia. (2009). U.S. government: CIA world factbook. [Online]. Available: https://www.cia.