Compliance • Audits/Analysis • Reimbursement/Regulatory • Education/Efficiency
Interview with Esther Nederhood, Owner of Belle Oakes Assisted Living Center
Kris Mastrangelo, President of Harmony Healthcare International (HHI) interviews Esther Nederhood, Owner of Belle Oakes Assisted Living Center, in the 2017 AHCA Provider Lounge. Esther discusses working with a mostly rural population. Esther's facilities surpass the average length of stay, with some residents staying over ten years. The key to keeping residents happy is activity. Esther says through daily activity, that is both engaging and safe, her resident's lives are enhanced. Furthermore, Esther prioritizes fall prevention through restorative programs and staff training.
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Kris Mastrangelo: Good afternoon. Today we're with Esther Nederhood from Belle Oakes Assisted Living in Michigan. Thank you for coming. So, we’re here at the 68th Annual AHCA/NCAL Annual Convention in Las Vegas and we're talking to quite a few people just about sort of what's going on in the industry, what keeps them up at night, how is the care happening and any influences from the skilled nursing facility sector into the assisted living and what do you think?
Esther Nederhood: Well I own a non-licensed assisted living facility. So, we're not really regulated, but we operate as if we're licensed.
Kris: Very good and can you tell us a little bit about the patient population that you serve?
Esther: We're in a rural community so it's like farmland around us and deer and all kinds of wild animals, which is nice because I'm not a city folk. I like to get to work, I like to go ten miles in 10 minutes, not 10 miles in 3 hours. And the people that we serve they're mostly farm people you know home people home people where they don't like big cities. They you want a more quiet setting.
Kris: How many beds do you have?
Kris: How is your occupancy?
Esther: Good, around 96 percent.
Kris: Wow that's impressive and how long is the average stay for someone in your environment?
Esther: Well the average length to stay is two years, but in our facility, it's anywhere from five…we've had somebody there as long as 10 years.
Kris: So, I just had this conversation with another guest and I'm from the skilled nursing facility industry and I'm an occupational therapist so the last five years I've explored assisted living and find it fascinating because they’re state run, state regulated or you know you have autonomy state to state and I didn't realize that and there's a lot of benefits to that because you have the ability to be nimble and creative. And in that context, I found that the national average was 2.5 years and I as an OT not very familiar with your industry felt that that was short because if I'm going to go to an assisted living I thought I'd be there a decade to live but this is interesting that you're saying that you're above the average. Why?
Esther: Well because activities and good food plays a part in that. You have to keep your residents moving. The more they move, the faster they move, the longer they live. You have to keep them from falling so we have a restorative program in our assisted living that helps with that and you know also training with the staff. We mentor our staff to be great at caregiving and you have to have as many leaders as possible in your organization because the more leaders you have the stronger and the better your organization is and it's just they give better care and the residents are happier the staff is happier. Happy staff makes happy residents and everybody's happy and you have to treat everybody like family.
Kris: That's amazing and I have to tell you: falls, you said it right away. I've sat on many committees that try to analyze what is the most important thing to look at. Well as an OT, it’s falls. 67% of patients that fall and fracture their hip that are over 65 years or older passed away within 2.5 years. Why? Because of immobility and you said it right away. So, the 20/80 percent principle. You've nailed it: keep them moving safely. That's amazing. Well I'm quite impressed. You know people are going to want to hear this and how you do it and share your information because I'm not sure that these types of outcomes are present across the country.
Esther: Well you have to make it fun for them to get up and want to move as well. Play games with them that's fun and like say they hit a balloon there or they're petting a dog. They're bending down to pet a dog - you have to make it fun for them. If you make it fun and energetic and just keep them moving, they're going to get stronger and the more stronger they are the better their balance is going to be.
Kris: That's awesome. Well I know you have to run off to get your award so we thank you so much for coming and we hope to see you soon. Thank you very much.