It was true love from day one.
That love is as strong as ever for Larry and Donna Stevens of Toledo who will be celebrating 62 years of marriage on May 16th. Their love has faced some challenges…as all marriages do…but it perseveres as Larry now visits Donna twice daily at Spring Meadows Senior Community, where she is a resident living with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. The staff at Spring Meadow planned a special anniversary lunch for the couple on May 16.
The couple first met at the age of 16 met in Ashland, Ohio. Donna first caught Larry’s eye when she would walk by his home on her way to work. One day, Larry and his sister went to the skating rink and Donna was also there. Larry rode the bus home from the skating rink with Donna, instead of riding home with his sister. The rest is history.
It wasn’t uncommon for Larry to walk 13 miles to visit Donna during their courtship. They married on May 16, 1952, when Larry was 17 and Donna, five months older, was 18. The couples lived in Ashland until 1967, then moved to Anaheim, California until 1972, and then back to Toledo, where they have been ever since. Along the way, they raised three children: Sherie, who lives in Holland, Ohio; Diane, living in California; and Michael, in Ashland. They have 6 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Larry worked as a crane operator when the couple moved back to Ohio. Donna waitressed at White Tower Restaurant and ran the employee cafeteria at Jacobson’s before her retirement. Larry will happily say Donna was “the boss”, who worked her job and then came home and worked another as a mother and wife.
Larry says the secret to the longevity of their marriage is easy.
“We love each other. We have always gotten along good,” he said. “We had a few times where we would argue, just like any other couple, but not that many. We liked to do things together like bowl and play cards. We always have a lot of fun just being together.”
The couple has enjoyed traveling together to various spots across the country. On their 50th wedding anniversary, they made a trip to Las Vegas. Donna, a huge Wayne Newton fan, got a big treat as the performer found out about their anniversary and sang to the couple and kissed Donna’s hand.
In 2003, Donna was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. In December 2013, the family made the tough decision to move her to a nursing home facility. Prior to that, Larry had managed her care with the help of family and home health care.
“He said he was going to take care of her as long as he possibly could and that is exactly what he did,” Sherie said.
Larry drives to Spring Meadows Senior Community twice a day to spend time and eat meals with Donna. He has only missed a couple of days…when winter weather prohibited him from the making the drive and a couple days when he was ill.
“Some days are good and some days are not so good,” Larry said of his wife’s condition. “Sometimes we have some real good moments. There are times she still knows me. I just tell her I love her and give her a kiss and hug.”
Having been inflicted with the disease for 11 years and suffering several strokes, Sherie said it became time for Donna to have round-the-clock professional care.
“They say this disease is the longest goodbye and that is so true. It’s just nice to hold on to her as long as we can.
“Having her here (at Spring Meadows) is really comforting to us. This is a good, good place. They truly care…from the aides to the nurses to the people in the financial office to the activity people. It is very, very stressful to have to find a new home for your loved one,” she said.
“The minute I walked into Spring Meadows, I knew this was the place for mom. Everyone was smiling and I could tell everyone cared. Even though I didn’t have an appointment, people made time to see me and answer my questions,” Sherie said. “Is it great that this is close for us … yes, but we would have driven miles and miles every day to know that mom was in a place where she was receiving the best care. It just so happened for us that Spring Meadows was that place and it is close to home.”
Spring Meadows hosted a special anniversary celebration luncheon for the couple. The couple’s favorite meals from a local restaurant were brought on site and enjoyed in a special setting. The staff wishes Donna and Larry many more “good days” ahead on the path to their next wedding anniversary.
Two new employees have joined the Spring Meadows Senior Community family.
Terein Collins, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) has been transferred from provided direct care to the MEDS office to assist Georgia Bucher.
Terein is currently taking classes to complete her Bachelor of Nursing Science (BSN). She will graduate soon and take the exam to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
James Mossing has temporarily joined the Spring Meadows team as chef. He is a corporate chef for Talk of the Town Consulting and is currently head chef/dietary manager until a permanent manager is found.
Spring Meadows Senior Community is taking a “team” approach to activities at the nursing home and Astor House assisted living.
Schmidutz recently took over activities for Spring Meadows Senior Community, after being head of Astor House activities for many years.
“The team approach is working really well for us. We all have our talents and bring something unique to the table, but we work really well as a team too because we complement one another,” Schmidutz said. “We all have in common our love for our job and passion for helping our residents live life to the fullest. They are our extended family.”
Schmidutz said as part of the team approach, Spring Meadows is implementing more one-on-one and small group activities as well as taking activities to residents’ rooms if they would like to participate, but are unable to for whatever reason.
Pictured are staff members (from left) Lindsay Schmidutz, Teea Scott, Janet Langwell and Tanya Brough.
Lindsay Schmidutz has been named Activities Director for all of Spring Meadows Senior Community. Previously, Lindsay was activities director for the facility’s assisted living unit, Astor House.
Lindsay graduated from Hopewell-Loudon High School in 2000. She attended The University of Findlay from 2000-2002 and graduated from Bowling Green State University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Child, Family and Community Service. It was during her final semester at BGSU, that Lindsay interned at Heritage Corner in the activities department and found her passion helping others.
Shortly after graduating from BGSU, Lindsay was hired at Spring Meadows Senior Community as Astor House assisted living activity director. Her duties there included planning calendars, leading activities, designing, creating and producing the monthly newsletter and spending time with the residents.
“The most important part of my job at Astor House was to spend time with the residents and always trying to find activities for them to do that they truly enjoyed,” Lindsay said.
“While some of my new responsibilities now include helping with assessments, care plans and making sure the activities department is following state regulations, the best part is always spending time with the residents and making sure all their needs are met,” she said.
Lindsay and her staff are planning some new activities to make sure there are things available for residents of every level or care.
“The residents are like family here and I do it for them. I know I am very lucky to have such a great position and love what I do,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay and her husband have two sons, Brennan and Hudson.
Spring Meadows Senior Community recently opened eight rehabilitation suites.
These suites are designed for those patients requiring short-term care and physical, occupational or speech therapy. The suites are large enough to allow the various therapies to be conducted privately in the suites, if that is what a patient desires.
“We encourage patients to come to our therapy area, but if they prefer to complete therapy in their room, that is now an option as well,” said Cheryl Lutz, Director of Rehabilitation. “These rooms are designed for short term care patients that need rehabilitation services and then they can safely return to their homes.”
Lutz said patients who choose to have therapy in their room are receiving top-notch care, as most equipment that is needed can be transported to those rooms. Short-term stays are typically 30 days or less.
The spacious rooms measure 216 sq. ft., not including the bathroom, and are private.
“The trend is going this way to have rehab suites. They allow us to focus on short-term rehab patients’ needs and get them home safely,” Lutz said. “Also, these suites allow patients to have a room of their own and a different environment for them to rehabilitate in. The rooms are very homelike and private.”
HOLLAND–Assistant Administrator Tom Blakely and Social Worker Jennifer Ducat have joined the Spring Meadows family.
A graduate of St. Johns High School, Blakely received his health care administration degree from Bowling Green State University. Blakely has an extensive background in senior care. His family owned nursing care facilities in North Baltimore and Bowling Green.
“I am a family-run facility guy. I think family run facilities do it better,” Blakely said. “It’s not a job, it’s a commitment, a life style. Family run facilities are few and far between these days.”
A third generation provider, Blakely has twice served on the Ohio Health Care Association Board of Directors.
At Spring Meadows, Blakely said he would like to help build the census and stay on top of the ongoing changes to the health care and nursing care industries.
“There are so many changes going in on in our industry right now. The pace of the changes has quickened,” he said. “The Affordable Health Care Act will also impact us.”
Blakely and his wife reside in Perrysburg. They have five children.
Ducat, a licensed social worker, is a graduate of Eastwood High School and the University of Toledo.
“I started out working domestic violence and discovered it wasn’t for me,” Ducat said. “I then decided to work with the elderly population. Everyone here at Spring Meadows has been wonderful and they all work well together. It’s been a pleasure getting to know the residents and working with them.”
Ducat will be providing a number of social work duties at Spring Meadows including assessments, care plans, discharge evaluations, and dealing with moods and concerns as they happen.
She lives in Holland with her five-year-old daughter.
We are beginning to see a new trend in the way our residents are being evaluated when they are transferred to local hospital emergency rooms. In the past, emergency room physicians were able to quickly determine if the resident would benefit from being admitted to the hospital for treatment of an acute illness or injury. The decision to admit or not to admit was entirely up to the physician but, this practice is not so easy any longer.
(A short stay in the hospital gave physicians time to thoroughly observe our resident for signs and symptoms, so that an accurate diagnosis and plan for treatment could be determined. Typically a resident could expect to stay at the hospital for three nights. This three (3) night stay would then trigger Medicare Part A (skilled nursing) benefits if necessary upon return to Spring Meadows.)
According to hospital personnel, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidelines regarding hospital admissions have changed. CMS now requires each hospital to have a Utilization Review Committee which screens all patients prior to admission to the hospital. This committee must follow strict criteria to determine whether the patient requires acute hospital services, or if the patient can be safely treated in a less expensive environment such as Spring Meadows.
The process goes like this:
A Spring Meadows resident has acute signs or symptoms. His or her attending physician writes an order for us to send the resident to the emergency room (ER) for evaluation. The emergency room physician does an evaluation and directs ER staff to admit the resident. At this point, the Utilization Review Committee reviews the resident’s medical record. If documentation in the medical record supports admission criteria the resident is admitted. If not, the resident is held for observation. While in observation the Utilization Review Committee will try a second time to gain approval for admission. If unsuccessful the second time; the request is advanced to an independent Physician Advisor Organization. If the Physician Advisor Organization over rules the Utilization Review Committee the resident is admitted. If not, the resident is returned to Spring Meadows.
Recently, one of our residents was at a local hospital in observation for five (5) days then returned to Spring Meadows. While at the hospital the resident received appropriate care. Unfortunately, by virtue of not being officially admitted, the resident was denied Medicare Part A skilled nursing benefits because she did not have the three (3) day qualifying hospital stay.
We are providing this information so that in the event you are sent to a hospital ER and placed in observation you will know that you do have rights. You or your family can appeal the decision to be held in observation. But, you must make the appeal while in observation. To do so, you begin the process by contacting the hospital’s patient advocate or social service department for assistance.
Additionally (this is very important) you have the right to choose to return to Spring Meadows for skilled nursing services and care. Don’t let hospital personnel attempt to persuade you to go to another facility if you want to return to Spring Meadows.
These principles hold true regarding hospice services also.
Remember, we have the staff you know and trust. Our staff will help guide you through the decision process and then provide the services you choose.
Dear Resident, Family Member(s) or Sponsor:
We are writing to provide you notice of some operational changes necessary at Spring Meadows Senior Community.
We are finding that the majority of the doctors’ offices are strictly enforcing their requirement that a family member or an attendant be present during the time that a resident is being treated in their office. They are indicating that their staff must assist their patients with dressing and undressing for exams, toileting, and ambulation to and from the waiting room. This takes the staff away from their other duties necessary to run the office.
To accommodate the physicians’ office we have provided our staff to travel with the resident for such appointments. However, we are now finding that a similar situation is occurring at Spring Meadows. It is becoming very difficult to provide personnel to attend these appointments so we too, must enforce our requirement that a family member or sponsor attends the residents during the scheduled appointment. Please note: This does not change our transportation policies for physician visits. Spring Meadows drivers will continue to take residents to doctor visits at a nominal fee.
Our staff nurses will continue to coordinate new and follow-up visits to the doctors but we will be requiring that family or sponsors provide for the person to stay with the resident.
No Smoking Policy
To protect and enhance our indoor air quality and to contribute to the health and well-being of all residents, guests and employees we strongly believe that Spring Meadows Senior Community should become smoke-free.
We have been working with current residents for the past 6 to 8 months with smoking secession plans and have been very successful. However, should a current resident still be smoking he or she will no longer be able to smoke at the front entrance but will now be required to smoke in a designated area, at the delivery entrance to the facility, and under the supervision of a family member. This procedure is effective on February 1, 2013.
Because smoking has a significant impact on the health of people who smoke and those who do not smoke; we are continuing to offer assistance to our residents and we will being offering assistance to staff who desire to quit smoking as well. All new residents will be notified of the no smoking policy prior to admission.
End of Life Care
We believe that “end of life care”, more commonly identified as hospice care, is very important to the resident and family as well. The final days of a person’s life may filled with joy or sorrow, with sharing memories, with family, and friends or depending upon one’s beliefs; reflecting on religious teachings in preparation for the future. For many this is a time to be within the comfort and solitude of your own privacy. In the past, we have helped residents and family members find an intimate place by moving the resident to one of our lounges but, we felt that this was just not quite private or spacious enough.
So, two weeks ago we began renovating four rooms on the 100 hall into private suites. These suites were finished on December 17th. All four rooms will be furnished with updated furniture, lighting, window treatments and flooring. Our intent is to have a warm and comfortable space for our resident, who is actively dying.
Family members will be able to spend the night as needed. Staff will continue to offer beverages and snack items but in addition, family will also be offered meals from a selective menu at a nominal charge. An adjacent lounge is also available.
Criteria placement for an end of life suite is available upon your request.
On a much lighter note, we are continually evaluating all of our services at Spring Meadows Senior Community. As part of that process, we are currently looking at our website, newsletter and other technology-based items.
Enclosed please find a brief technology survey. To serve you and your family members better, we ask you to please take a few minutes to provide us input on the survey questions (a self addressed, stamped envelope is included for your use). We will evaluate the responses and see in what areas we can provide expanded information and/or services to better serve you.
Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any additional questions, please call us anytime.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
Most sincerely yours,
Philip E. Witker, LNHA
Are you aware Spring Meadows Senior Community has a website (www.springmeadowsecf.com)?
Do you use the website to stay current on activities and news?
If yes, what do you find most useful? What do you like the least?
Is there additional information you would like to see on the website?
Would you prefer to receive administrator updates via mail or from the website?
Do you use email or Facebook to communicate with family? If a similar service was available through our website would you be likely to use it?
Would you be interested in receiving email notifications from Spring Meadows on important news or activity updates on a monthly basis.
What method(s) do you use to connect to the internet (e.g. smart phone, tablet, personal computer)?
Have you connected to the Spring Meadows wifi? How often? Do you feel it is easy to access?
Would an “Ask the Doctor” or “Ask the Nurse” section in the newsletter be useful for general medical information and tips? (Remember we are talking about resident-to-family conversations and general news and/or information. Resident conditions will still be handled directly via the telephone.)
Spring Meadows Senior Community has received The Center of Excellence Award from Evercare/United Healthcare. The award was presented in early November.
The Center of Excellence Award is presented quarterly to Nursing Homes that offer Excellence in Nursing Care to the residents. The sales account manager and nurse practitioner for a facility that follows the “Treat in Place” model of Evercare nominate nursing homes for the award.
The goals of the Evercare nurse practitioner staff at Spring Meadows is to:
- Build one-on-one relationships with residents and their families
- Provide hands-on care and monitoring
- Coordinate and integrate the different aspects of care
- Act as a vital communication link to nursing home staff, doctors and family
- Help anticipate and identify health concerns early, before they become more serious.
The staff of Spring Meadows Senior Community strongly endorses Evercare’s philosophy and protocols in caring for its elderly residents. Treating a resident in the facility eliminates or reduces the need for emergency room visits and unnecessary hospital stays. According to Phil Witker, administrator at Spring Meadows Senior Community, “Having a nurse practitioner in our facility on a daily basis and ready to respond to changes in our residents’ status, is a huge benefit to our residents.”
While receiving this prestigious award is an honor, quality of care is of utmost importance at Spring Meadows Senior Community every day.
“Our staff is continuing to provide wonderful care and is working on educational and quality improvement programs geared to help us provide services for all of our residents and guests into the future,” Witker said.
During the recent annual Ohio Department of Health surveys, Spring Meadows Nursing Home received only two minor citations and Astor House at Spring Meadows received no citations.
“This is the second year in which seven surveyors, all registered nurses, spent four intense days conducting interviews with residents and staff, observing nursing care practices and reviewing policies and procedures in the dietary, housekeeping, activity and environmental departments,” Witker said. “With more than 400 various rules that must be followed, the excellent survey results can be attributed to the efforts and hard work of our terrific personnel and team leaders.”
Spring Meadows has been a family-owned and operated senior community for more than 35 years. The senior community offers short-term care, long-term care, rehabilitation, Hospice and assisted living.
Residents of Spring Meadows and Astor House have been kept busy over the last month with fun fall activities and outings.
In addition to the outings, many of our residents have been voting by absentee ballot for President of the United States, members of Congress, state and local candidates and levies. We will soon entertain ghosts and goblins on Halloween Trick or Treat night and begin planning for Thanksgiving and the many religious holiday traditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highly recommends all persons over the age of 65 and those persons with compromising health conditions receive an annual influenza vaccination. Our nursing personnel began the process of requesting authorization from residents or sponsors to administer the vaccine. Contact Tina Shields at 419-866-6124 for more information.
Also, Medicare Open Enrollment runs from October 15-December 7. For most current enrollees, this is the only time you can make changes to your health care coverage for the coming year. For information regarding traditional Medicare, Medicare supplemental plans or Medicare Part D (prescription coverage) visit www.medicare.gov. Many of our residents have chosen Evercare’s nursing home insurance plan as a very good and cost effective option. For more information or assistance contacting Medicare, Evercare or other health care insurance plans, please contact Camden or Renee at (419) 866-6124.