Thursday, September 18, 2014

Welcome to the neighborhood

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 2/21/2014

WELLSVILLE — Beverly Bubeck loves the warmth of the new fireplace inside the Wellsville Retirement Community.

She’s lived at the retirement community, 304 W. Seventh St., Wellsville, for a year now, and in that time the building has undergone some big changes and additions, she said.

WELLSVILLE — Beverly Bubeck loves the warmth of the new fireplace inside the Wellsville Retirement Community.

She’s lived at the retirement community, 304 W. Seventh St., Wellsville, for a year now, and in that time the building has undergone some big changes and additions, she said.

The Wellsville Retirement Community opened the second of two new “neighborhoods” in the building Monday, Scott Averill, chief executive officer and co-owner with his wife, Susan, said. The newest space, which has not been named by its residents yet, is a skilled care neighborhood.

Bubeck, originally from Denver, not only enjoys the new fireplace but the spaciousness of the new area, she said.

“To me, it is very roomy and cozy at the same time,” she said. “The fireplace is wonderful. They seem to be very, very caring of their older population.”

The new neighborhood boosts the total number of people served in the licensed skilled health care wing to 60, Averill said. Along with adding more skilled care to the campus, the retirement community also added 18 new assisted living apartments. That neighborhood, named “Sunrise” by the residents because of its eastern position in the building, was completed and opened about two months ago, Averill said. It marks the first time that the building has ever housed assisted living patients, he said.

“Assisted is just a lower level of care,” Averill said. “It is a licenser level that the state does, and within assisted living you have very independent people and then people who need assistance with bathing and people who need assistance with medication. When you get to skilled, it is a higher level of care.”

BUILDING EXPANSION

The Averills purchased what was then Wellsville Manor six years ago.

“[Wellsville Manor] was just a small skilled facility,” Averill said. “What we’ve done is we’ve added assisted living apartments and added additional skilled. We also own Brookside in Overbrook [for the past 10 years]. My father, Chuck, who is still alive, was in on the initial ownership of both places also. He has since retired.”

The original building, known now as the Meadowlark neighborhood, still houses skilled care residents. With the $3.3 million in additions, the maximum number of residents the retirement community can hold is 80, and the current number of residents that live in the three neighborhoods is growing swiftly, Averill said.

“As of today, we have 60 total residents and anticipate pushing up to 80 real quick,” he said with a laugh. “Forty-five [residents] has been our average census for the last couple of years. We are already to 60, so we will get up to 70-plus here real soon.

“It is kind of interesting. We had people returning to Wellsville who had been living elsewhere,” he said. “We had a married couple who had built the grocery store [in Wellsville] years ago, the Cleiers. They were living up in Lawrence in a retirement community and came down and are now living here.”

With the expansion of the building also comes the expansion of staff and technology updates. Eventually, the Wellsville Retirement Community will add 20 to 25 new staff members, Averill said. The community also has added new technology for its staff.

“We eliminated the nursing stations and made nursing nooks,” he said. “We are in the process of going to a total electronic health record. It is wonderful. Everything is going automated. Our nurses do all of their charting on a wall kiosk.

“The other big thing is that we’ve embraced culture change, which some people refer to it as ‘resident-directed care’ or ‘resident-centered care.’ We embraced it at Brookside nine years ago, and we embraced it here from the get-go. It really drove the design of our building. So now, instead of one big kitchen and one big dining room, we have three kitchens and three dining rooms that are open literally 24/7. If a resident wakes up at 3 in the morning and wants a cheeseburger, they can get a cheeseburger. If they want breakfast at 2 in the afternoon, we’ll fix them breakfast at 2 in the afternoon. We orient everything around them and what they want.”

EMBRACING CHANGE

Residents and staff have embraced the changes to the building, Averill said.

“They absolutely love it,” he said. “We have the same staff in each neighborhood, so before we were at 45 people. The staff in this neighborhood will have 25 to 30 at the most and so will the other one, so you really get to know the individual wants and needs of the residents. It takes a lot of the stress out of a traditional health care job.”

Aside from caring for its residents, the Wellsville Retirement Community also is making outpatient therapy for people with such ailments as hip and knee replacements more accessible in its building construction, Averill said.

“We also do outpatient rehab, and that is a project that is going to be undertaken within the next several weeks,” he said. “We are going to move our therapy gym to a different part of the building, and it is going to be a bigger therapy gym. It will have its own entrance, which will be really nice for our people coming in for outpatient therapy.”

As for the construction, some landscaping by Loyd Builders, the contractor for the project, remains before the additions are complete. That work is expected to be finished in the spring, Averill said.

While the new additions to the building are nice, Averill said, it’s the people who make the retirement community a success.

“It all comes down to the staff,” he said. “You can have the greatest building in the world, but it takes the caring, empathetic staff. That is the key to the kingdom. We are blessed and fortunate to have an

comments powered by Disqus