Anthem Memory Care Communities Earn Recognition for Customer Experience

Three Chicago area memory care communities were recently recognized for their continued dedication to providing senior health care. Anthem Memory Care’s Harvester Place in Burr Ridge, Emerald Place in Glenview and Porter Place in Tinley Park all received Pinnacle Quality Insight’s 2023 Customer Experience award.

“Our teams are dedicated to providing the highest level of quality care, comfort and support to our residents,” said Shannon Gutierrez, national vice president of operations for Anthem Memory Care. “We are pleased to be recognized for all of our efforts.”

Throughout 2022, residents and their families participated in monthly telephone interviews where they answered open-ended questions and rated the Anthem Memory Care communities in multiple categories.

By qualifying for Pinnacle’s Customer Experience award, Harvester Place, Emerald Place and Porter Place satisfied the rigorous demands of scoring in the top 15% of the nation across a 12 month average.

2022 COVID Recovery Accelerates Transformation in Operations and Places Spring Hills in Prime Position for 2023

EDISON, NJ—Over the last year, Spring Hills—a trusted name in senior living—has devoted significant resources to redefining operations and staffing. In response to the pandemic, labor challenges and supply chain disruptions that have affected the entire economy, Spring Hills has taken the opportunity to transform its organizational processes on three levels: operations, recruitment/retention and continuum of care.

“We have seen a lot of changes during [our] 20-plus years of experience—and especially over the past three years,” commented Alexander Markowits, president/CEO of Spring Hills. “What hasn’t changed is our motto, ‘Caring with a Commitment to Quality.’ This has remained our constant guiding principle through it all. It strengthens us, motivates us and inspires us to exceed industry standards.”

Pierre Verger, vice president of assisted living operations, is spearheading this robust transformation. The operational upgrade involves the creation of a dedicated back office to “prioritize what is important for the residents and associates at each location, while streamlining all other processes. The entire team at Spring Hills makes a real difference for our residents. I believe that the executive director has the best seat in the house—in front of our families—and we need to ensure that their time is truly spent in that role,” he said. Each executive director relies on support from the back office, and now they will have access to those services seven days a week. These additional resources will enable the executive directors to devote more of their time directly to their residents, associates and families.

One key improvement in the back office support service upgrade includes the move of each location’s business office manager—who oversees payroll, payables, receivables and company compliance—to the back office. Streamlining these processes has enabled Spring Hills to expand—and as a result, both the census and the revenue have grown by 15%, the communities are fully staffed and entrance has become more exclusive.

With operational functions moved to the back office, executive directors are now able to minimize distractions and ensure that resident, family and associate relationships take precedence. “We prioritize transparency and availability in our leadership team,” Verger added. “We want our executive directors out in the communities interacting with families, residents and associates.” Significant time is allotted for face-to-face interactions, with care coordination meetings held upon move in, biannually and as requested.

The second element of the transformation involves a focus on recruitment and retention. To maximize efficiency, all initial recruitment activities are now remote. Interviews will be coordinated by recruitment and interviewed on-site at the communities. Once hired, new associates can begin remote onboarding and training. This enables a rapid turnaround time and ensures that new staff can join the team quickly.

Spring Hills also made a strategic investment aimed at supporting associates with the implementation of OnShift, a new scheduling and engagement platform. This program improves efficiency, empowers the associates to have control over their schedules and rewards good performance through reward points. All staff members now have their own devices to follow and update records—a significant improvement over the former system, which required moving to a shared kiosk to input updates. This upgrade has produced a 200% increase in the quality of documentation, which is directly related to quality of care. “Making these changes was an adjustment—and, like any change, a bit challenging at first—but the effect was immediate,” said Diana Marks, director of operations efficiency and performance. “Within six months, our communities began to experience increased support and benefits from the changes.”

Furthermore, Spring Hills Signature Touches program has expanded to include Ambassadors of Happiness and Experience. The ambassadors are intentionally focused on the associate, resident and family experience. Spring Hills has always made new residents’ move-in day festive, and celebrated their special occasions. Now, the ambassador is connecting with associates to ensure that important moments in their lives are also recognized. To further advance the company culture, encourage retention and express appreciation for associates, Spring Hills has added a weekly company-wide stand-up meeting, which allows approximately 300 people to applaud community successes. This nurtures friendly competition and inspires associates to be the best for their residents, each other and their supervisors.

“This is really about fostering community, recognizing and appreciating our staff and embracing the idea that a happy associate makes for a happy resident,” Marks added.

The final focus in the organizational transformation is care. Care-related initiatives include elevating care coordination, improving quality of care, integrating mental and physical health, preventing falls and malnutrition and providing non-medicated therapy. To maximize safe and efficient medication protocols, Spring Hills has launched a new partner program, which includes a pharmacy initiative. Through this program, doctors will send prescriptions directly to the pharmacy, greatly reducing risk of errors in transcribing. This innovation also eliminates five to 10 hours of administrative work a month for the nurses, enabling them to focus more meaningfully on direct patient care. Under the new system, doctors and nurses hold weekly care coordination meetings to discuss each resident’s care, which ensures a high level of attention on each individual.

“Senior living is about understanding the needs of the senior community,” said Lesa Scott, RN, vice president of clinical services and compliance. “Our new programs are exciting, but we are not straying from our foundation. We remain committed to understanding our residents’ needs, and we meet them with compassionate and holistic care that can expand and progress as their needs increase over time.”

Above all, the three-part transformation was developed and implemented to enhance the well-being of each resident in assisted living, memory care and independent living through upgrades in operations, recruitment/retention and care. To ensure that these upgrades are succeeding, Spring Hills will conduct ongoing resident, family and associate experience surveys; enhance communication and implement training and mentor programs for optimal engagement with every member of the community. Spring Hills will continue to focus on improvement—2023 goals include forging more partnerships to meet and exceed residents’ needs, and offering in-house clinical and medical services. The company also plans to launch a new luxury collection with Five Star hospitality experiences.

In Philadelphia, 83 Year Old Bat Mitzvah Achieves Lifelong Goal

PHILADELPHIA, PA—Seventy years after turning 13, Philadelphia resident Reva Rosard achieved her long-held desire to step up to the Torah in front of family and friends and become a bat mitzvah. For Rosard, celebrating the time-honored Jewish milestone wasn’t a moment too late.

Rosard said she always wanted to have a bat mitzvah, but when she was 13, only boys took part in the religious ceremony. After hearing a Jewish legend that suggests people begin their second lives at age 70, Rosard decided that she would check bat mitzvah off her bucket list before turning 84 last month.

When she mentioned her desire to Cantor Naomi Hirsch, who previously served as the Jewish chaplain for the community, Rosard began lessons with Hirsch to learn the Hebrew passages that she would chant at her bat mitzvah.

The staff of Fountain View at Logan Square, an independent living community and Rosard’s home, helped turn her dream into a reality. “They prepared a wonderful luncheon with more food than I even asked for,” Rosard said of the culinary team. “It was an upscale beautiful spread. I was so pleased with how they handled everything. They couldn’t have done more for me.”

Anna Kurtz, life enrichment director at Fountain View at Logan Square, said her team loves to celebrate the accomplishments of all residents. “It is so special for Reva to continue hitting huge milestones into her 80s,” she said. “Celebrating her bat mitzvah truly exemplifies that age is just a number.”

Rosard, a lifelong Philadelphia area resident, bubbled over with joy as she talked about how much she has achieved in her lifetime, and smiled as she thought about her father. “My father was very involved in the synagogue, and he would have loved this,” she said.

A Musical Life—And What Comes Next

In addition to going to Hebrew school as a child, Rosard began studying the violin at age 10. Her entire professional career was dedicated to teaching music, and she played violin often as a member of several orchestras in Philadelphia. She has always been musically inclined, and loves going to concerts and shows with her friends at Fountain View.

“It is a wonderful thing when an older person decides to become bar or bat mitzvah because they didn’t have that opportunity when they were young,” Hirsch said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Reva. She is a very unique person. We bonded and discovered we have many things in common, including being musicians and our love of learning.”

With regard to music, Rosard wowed the crowd at her bat mitzvah, performing a duet with her grandson. They played klezmer music—she on her violin and her grandson on the accordion.

“Reva—and so many others—have accomplished wonderful achievements in retirement that are celebrated by the entire community,” Kurtz added. “We can’t wait to see what she does next!”

Kurtz won’t have to wait too long. The Fountain View Players, an acting group Rosard joined when she moved to the community seven years ago with her late husband, Dan, will be producing a resident-written show about the United States in early spring.

Little Egg Harbor Resident and Astrophile Recalls Backyard Cape Canaveral

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NJ—Little Egg Harbor resident Dr. Robert “Doc” Wighton has been an astrophile since he was 19 years old. Wighton’s interest in the final frontier began during the early days of space exploration and sparked the opportunity to correspond with NASA rocket scientists.

When he caught the space bug, Wighton and his brother built a replica of Mercury Friendship 7—the famed space capsule in which John Glenn Jr. became the first American to orbit Earth—at his childhood home in Parsippany, NJ. Over eight feet tall and complete with a control panel equipped with electronics to signal problems, the replica allowed him to perform a variety of scientific experiments. He said he had created his own personal Cape Canaveral in his backyard!

Wighton’s project garnered plenty of media attention. It was featured in articles published by the New York Times and Newark Evening News in 1962, the same year astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit Earth aboard Aurora 7. These days, Wighton—who lives at The Terraces at Seacrest Village, an assisted living community—loves to share his interesting life experiences with fellow residents and staff, and everyone loves to hear his stories.

Incidentally, Wighton completed his Ph.D. at Thomas Jefferson University in less than three years. His Ph.D. thesis, which currently resides in the Library of Congress due to its national significance, is titled “Non-Acoustic Correlates of Human Phonation.” In more common terms, Wighton performed research on how a stroke can impact a person’s speech pattern.

At The Terraces at Seacrest Village, residents enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle with everything they need on campus. With beautifully appointed apartments, gourmet dining, on-site rehab care and an engaging mix of programming and activities, residents have access to the services they need, when they need them.

Little Egg Harbor Skilled Nursing Facility Earns AHA Certification

LITTLE EGG HARBOR, NJ—Building on its commitment to comprehensive care and services, Seacrest Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Little Egg Harbor recently earned the American Heart Association’s (AHA) new skilled nursing facility heart failure center certification. Located at 1001 Center St., Seacrest provides post-hospital care, short-term rehab and long-term residential care.

The world’s leading nonprofit focused on heart and brain health, the AHA has invested more than $4.8 billion in research since its founding. Evaluation criteria for its new skilled nursing certification—earned by less than 1% of skilled nursing facilities nationwide, to date—was designed by heart failure experts. Certification requirements include program management, personnel education, clinical management, care coordination and performance improvement, as well as patient and caregiver education and support.

“This advanced certification provides heart patients with the assurance that Seacrest is recognized by the AHA for delivering the most effective heart failure treatment strategies, based on a standardized method of current evidence-based guidelines,” said Pam Montemurno, regional director of market development at Marquis Health Consulting Services, which supports the facility. “These specific care strategies and services are aimed at improving outcomes for those with chronic heart failure and its co-morbidities, as well as reducing readmissions.”

Seacrest, which is undergoing a multimillion-dollar enhancement, carries a five-star designation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for both overall quality and quality of resident care.

Tuckerman in North Bethesda Named Among Nation’s Best Nursing Homes

NORTH BETHESDA, MD—Tuckerman Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center has been named one of the nation’s best nursing homes for 2022-2023 by U.S. News & World Report. The 140-bed center, located at 5550 Tuckerman Ln. in North Bethesda, provides post-hospital care, short-term rehab and long-term residential care.

“This honor is a testament to the excellent work being done by Tuckerman’s care team members, and the facility’s ongoing effort to provide high-quality clinical services in a modern environment,” said Nikki Gachot, regional director of market development for Marquis Health Consulting Services, which supports Tuckerman. “The U.S. News best nursing homes program provides one of our industry’s most sought-after distinctions—one that consumers and business partners alike recognize for its credibility.”

Tuckerman received its U.S. News high-performance rating for short-term rehabilitation. Additionally, Tuckerman’s five-star Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rating for quality measures speaks to the facility’s commitment to its residents and community.

This marks the 13th year that U.S. News & World Report has released its best nursing homes ratings. The highly-respected program evaluates more than 15,000 nursing homes across the country, based on care, safety, health inspections and staffing.

Springpoint Announces Appointment of New Trustees

WALL TOWNSHIP, NJ—Springpoint recently announced that Elena Ladygina, Kristin McCarthy, Yulia Murphy and Anjana Patel have all been appointed to the Springpoint board of trustees. They will begin serving the first of their two four-year terms this month. The Springpoint governance structure provides strategic direction to the organization and fiduciary oversight of its operations.

These four individuals bring a wide range of knowledge and expertise to Springpoint’s board of trustees:

Elena Ladygina, CFP, is an accomplished wealth advisor and director of investment strategies at Withum Wealth Management, where she helps implement investment and financial planning strategies for high net worth individuals. Ladygina, who currently resides with her family in Rumson, NJ, received her Bachelor of Science in business from Wake Forest University and is involved in several local charity organizations.

Kristin McCarthy is the program director of health care management and administration at Rider University, along with her active roles as assistant professor and research consultant. She also serves as a liaison to community organizations and businesses throughout Central New Jersey, and is a member of Trenton Health Team key stakeholders and Mercer County Food System stakeholders. McCarthy received a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and political science from Dickinson College, a Master of Public Health from Hunter College and a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University.

Yulia Murphy, senior vice president of health care banking at KeyBank, focuses on expanding commercial health care coverage in the Hudson Valley/Metro New York market. Murphy has over 16 years of commercial banking experience in various credit and business development roles. She graduated from the University of Missouri Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in finance and economics, and received her Master of Business Administration in finance and strategy from New York University Stern School of Business. Murphy is an active member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Anjana Patel, attorney at Epstein Becker Green, leverages more than two decades of legal experience to advise health care individuals and businesses nationwide on health care transactions and health regulatory compliance issues. Best Lawyers in America named her Lawyer of the Year for health care law in 2021. Patel received her Bachelor of Science from Rutgers University and Juris Doctor from the University of Texas School of Law and is involved in several professional associations, including the New Jersey State Bar Association (health and hospital law section) and American Bar Association (health law forum).

The entire Springpoint community looks forward to the contributions of these newly-appointed board trustees.

Monarch Communities Appoints Director of Sales for New Rochelle, NY Community

Jackie Mazurowski has been named director of sales for Monarch Coopers Corner, a senior living community in New Rochelle, NY. Monarch Coopers Corner is nearing completion and is scheduled to open early 2023.

Mazurowski was previously the executive director at Artis Senior Living in Yorktown Heights, NY. She also served as regional sales specialist for Sunrise Senior Living for the NY region. She brings over 22 years of senior living sales and operating experience to her new position.

Monarch Coopers Corner is the first senior living community in Westchester County to seek WELL certification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). WELL is grounded in research into the health effects of physical spaces on people.

The community, located at 11 Mill Rd., is developed and managed by Monarch Communities. Monarch Communities operates and develops senior living communities along the East Coast.

South Jersey Skilled Nursing Facilities Partner With Respected Pulmonologist

BERLIN/LUMBERTON, NJ—Two South Jersey skilled nursing facilities—both clients of Marquis Health Consulting Services—have launched pulmonary care programs under the leadership of pulmonologist John Bermingham, DO, FCCP, with Pulmonary and Sleep Associates of New Jersey. The new initiatives at Berlin Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Berlin and Mount Holly Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center in Lumberton respond to regional health care demand.

Pulmonary care services at Berlin and Mount Holly aim to reduce pulmonary symptoms, decrease disability, increase participation in physical and social activities and promote independence and quality of life. The initiatives cater to individuals with a range of diagnoses and conditions. The introductions follow recent ownership changes and come as both facilities are being repositioned with enhanced programming and comprehensive building renovations.

“Berlin and Mount Holly are leveraging our team’s established connections with leading health care providers and health systems as they develop market-specific programs to meet specialty care demand in Burlington and Camden counties,” said Marquis’ Kate Bauer, regional director of market development. Board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease and critical care medicine, Bermingham has practiced for more than 20 years and is frequently named among South Jersey’s top doctors. He is affiliated with multiple area hospitals.

In addition to consults with Bermingham, Berlin and Mount Holly pulmonary patients benefit from the support of full-time respiratory therapist Barbara Vernell. The facilities also offer non-invasive ventilation support and 24/7 access to lab and radiology services, with an extensive range of therapy services available seven days per week. “Dr. Bermingham and Barbara are working closely with the talented teams at these skilled nursing facilities to help ensure the most active life possible for each patient,” noted Bauer.

Located at 100 Long-A-Coming Ln., Berlin is a 128-bed skilled nursing facility; it is adjacent to the Virtua Berlin Emergency Department. Mount Holly, which is located at 62 Richmond Ave., features 180 licensed skilled nursing beds.

New Year, New Fitness Class at The Palace at Coral Gables Helps Seniors Stay in Shape

CORAL GABLES, FL—With exercise and fitness among the top new year’s resolutions, finding a new workout may be just the trick to maintaining one’s commitment to a healthier lifestyle. At The Palace at Coral Gables, octogenarians and nonagenarians may have found a solution.

They’ve discovered InstruMix, and attend one of The Palace at Coral Gables’ InstruMix classes held on Saturdays and Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m. in the movement room of the active retirement community. Usually, 15–20 residents participate. It’s hard to believe that amid the sounds of upbeat music and laughter, they are working out in a fitness class.

According to InstruMix founder Aysha Tenouri, participants use five different percussion instruments—including bells, maracas, egg shakers, castanets and shaker sticks—along with colorful scarves, while executing a range of motion movements. People can either sit or stand based on their abilities.

The 45-minute class incorporates warm-up and warm-down music along with the main songs. InstruMix uses music and movement in a fun, engaging way to increase physical and mental wellness.

“First and foremost, we want people to have fun,” said Tenouri. “Exercise shouldn’t be drudgery. InstruMix isn’t based on people keeping up with dance steps like Zumba. There’s no wrong way in an InstruMix class. People feel good during the class and that incentivizes them to continue.”

Class participants echo her thoughts. “The class is wonderful,” said Palace resident Anita Wong. “It makes us move everything and it’s easy to get a work out.”

Fellow resident Sarah Wishnia said the class helps her shake off the blues. “I feel so happy and look forward to meeting up with my friends, including Anita,” Wishnia said.

Tenouri developed InstruMix at her mother’s suggestion, creating the program geared to older adults. She had been teaching music to children as well as working as a yoga instructor, and needed a change. She created InstruMix as a course that professional trainers can use for teaching seniors. It is being used throughout the country as senior living communities seek new techniques to keep residents active.

InstruMix is more like getting together for a party because people don’t feel as if they are exercising; the gathering becomes social. While playing instruments and waving scarves, residents develop a greater range of motion and get stronger.

“We’re always striving to offer residents new, innovative fitness classes. It’s so important to keep them motivated to work out,” said The Palace’s director of entertainment, Pamela Parker. “As soon as we introduced InstruMix, the class took off and residents were raving about it. We needed to add a second class because they wanted more.”

In addition to InstruMix, The Palace offers 10 different classes each week, including Pilates, aquacise, tai chi, yoga and Zumba. All are taught by professional instructors. A personal trainer is also available for residents who enjoy using fitness equipment.

“People enjoy the camaraderie of their neighbors, especially when they’re in a class,” said Parker. “They don’t need to worry about wearing the latest in fitness fashion. It’s just important to keep moving!”