The other day I noticed Cheryl, our activities director, helping one of our residents with one of her creative projects. Cheryl has been our activities director for over 10 years and it struck me at that moment that many of our staff have been at Copley for a decade or more. Jill C., Jenn E., Kathy C., Chris S., Claire F., Marie R., Jill O., Evelyn R. and Gislene F., have all been at Copley for over 20 years! I work with another group of 15 seriously dedicated staff that have been at Copley for over 15 years. I personally will be at Copley for 8 years this coming February and still feel like the new kid on the block. It is a great feeling to have as the administrator since staff turnover is notoriously high in healthcare facilities.
So what makes us different? Cheryl has said that Copley at Stoughton feels more like a home than a workplace, and that we all feel like family rather than co-workers and residents. I’ll admit, this fills me with pride. It’s a validation that our philosophy of care has a positive impact on our employees as well as our residents.
Copley at Stoughton is one of the last privately owned nursing homes in the state. More than that, we do everything we can to hire directly from the community. As many of you know, I was born and raised in Stoughton. I think any care facility works best if it’s community-based – care-focused programs built by the community, for the community. Long-term care facilities owned by large companies have a completely different focus. It’s not that they don’t care about their residents; they do. But that type of environment changes the experience for the resident and the employees as well.
The reason you see such a high staff turnover in this industry is that you can get burned out too easily. Long-term care and rehabilitation can be emotionally exhausting for care professionals. Organizations need to provide support, not add more stress. We have an open door policy here for our employees. We want to know how they are doing, and how we are doing to make sure their needs are being met and they feel appreciated. We are committed to providing a level of support to our employees so they know we value them professionally and personally.
The bottom line for me is that you cannot quantify care. When staff focuses on providing outstanding care rather than all the care that fits within a budget, our residents are in better hands. And when administration treats staff like family instead of replaceable parts in a system, you get great staff members who treat our residents like family, too.