25000 Country Club Blvd. Suite 255, North Olmsted, OH 44070

A Legacy of Care

From L to R: Bob Speelman, Joanna Wright, Chris Wingo, Eve Mueke, Carrie Chutes, Connie Hughes, Cathy Love

December 13, 2018
I spent the day yesterday at Avon Place, our 95-bed nursing home in Avon, OH. Courtney Craig is the administrator there and she has an amazing team of caregivers. Avon Place is a skilled nursing facility with a wide array of services, including ventilator care, long-term care unit, and a memory care unit serving residents with Alzhemier’s and Dementia. I had the honor of working alongside a group of caregivers and employees with a total of 190 years of service to this facility!

The original plan was for me to work on the East Unit with “The Three Cs”, Cathy Love (30 years at this facility), Connie Hughes (30 years at this facility), and Carrie Chutes (15 years at this facility, 24 years as an STNA). We stuck to that plan for the most part, but as we worked and talked, they kept telling me about two more STNAs that have been at Avon Place for 42 years! Further, they told me there’s a housekeeper on that unit that has been at Avon Place for 31 years! When we got caught up, they took me to meet them.

When you are around a group with this kind of dedication and experience, the best thing you can do is to soak it in, learn everything you can, ask a lot of questions, and watch and listen!! That is exactly what I did. They have been caring for residents there through the good times and the bad.

Because of their experiences and deep knowledge of the facility, I asked them three questions:
1. When was the support from the company at the very best?
2. When was the support from the company at the very worst?
3. How are we, Foundations, doing as a company?

They all told me the absolute best time at the facility was when the three sisters owned the facility. The three sisters all worked up in the front office but were constantly out on the floor helping their employees. “It was like a family,” they said, “and we all loved coming to work.” One of them told me, “you would never hear them say, ‘ladies, that bed isn’t made,” because they would go in and make the bed themselves. The STNAs told me that because the management was always willing to help out, they never wanted them to find a bed that was unmade. Their managers lead by example, and these caregivers greatly respected that.

They also told me that the absolute worst time was when a new owner came in and slashed wages, took away their 401k, took away any and all incentives for employees, and completely demoralized the building. I wondered why they would stay around after being treated so poorly. The answer across the board was unanimous – because the residents.

I asked them how we were doing as a company and they told me how much they respected and appreciated Courtney Craig,  the Administrator, and Joel Mayes, the Director of Nursing. They gave me several suggestions on things we could do as a company to make things better for recruitment and retention. I almost hate using those words because they sound so sterile and business-like, but maybe a better way of saying it is that they gave me several suggestions on how to express our love and appreciation to our employees, and how to further build our “Culture of Care.”

Working alongside these women yesterday was an absolute joy! They are the Foundation of Foundations. They are everything that is good about Long Term Care. I’d love to locate any of the sisters who use to own this facility and take them out for dinner, along with these ladies, and thank them for the legacy they have left us and a standard which we will strive to maintain as a company. We will strive to create a great place for great people to do great work! Thank you Joanna, Chris, Eva, Carrie, Connie and Cathy! You are great people who do great work!!

"No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.
The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."
- Alfred North Whitehead

Bob Speelman, STNA

Avon Place Website

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