Wellness for Residents and Employees: We think that means a well-balanced approach to a healthy life challenges each of us to participate in body, mind, and spirit.
Pastor Laura Glover and Chaplain Dwight Mangnus offered a Blessing of the Hands to our Health Care Workers. Our Chaplains at Epworth Villa are here for our Residents AND Employees!
The Blessing acknowledges the hallowed work of caring for others. The special anointment and prayer recognize all of the ways the employee’s hands do this work. Pastor Laura Glover said, “we look forward to offering the blessing to the rest of our Epworth Villa teams to honor and bless their sacred work.”
As we slowly and safely emerge from the pandemic, we are hopeful! We are hopeful for times of great reunion, joy, and happiness. This month we would like to highlight a few members of our Health Services leadership team and their stories. We are forever grateful for their stories and devotion to our Employees and Residents.
Meet Jennifer Cushman RN, BSN, RAC-CT, Director of Clinical Compliance. Jennifer has been in geriatric healthcare for the last 28 years. She started as a nursing assistant during high school working the night shift. Upon graduation, she attended Seminole State College and completed her associate degree in nursing and received her licensure as a registered nurse in 2001. She went on to complete her bachelor’s in nursing education at Southern Nazarene University.
She has served the last 20 years in nursing leadership roles as well as corporate consultation including Long Term Care, Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living, and Rehabilitation Hospitals. She just celebrated her first year with Epworth Villa. The COVID pandemic had just begun when Jennifer started at Epworth Villa. Here is her story:
“Right as I began at Epworth Villa, everyone was looking to me to give direction and initiate policies in this epic health crisis. A crisis that no current nurse alive has ever faced. The guidance from state and federal authorities was constantly changing. It was changing daily and sometimes even hourly. My entire career I have had constant interaction with residents, family members, and employees. Suddenly, I was displaced due to quarantines and limited visitation. It drastically changed our daily interactions with one another.
I suffered losses due to the virus. Like many others, I missed celebrations and funerals. I wept for Residents and loved ones trying to say their final goodbyes over electronic devices. In October, I too contracted the virus from my son. I fortunate enough to avoid hospitalization, but it has had lingering effects. In December, the virus swept through my extended family including my 74-year-old father who gave me quite a scare with how it affected him. He has now – thankfully recovered.
In all of this, the faithfulness of God to provide wisdom, strength, and hope for each moment has astounded me. Sometimes all I could do through tears of frustration, fear, or grief was to whisper, “Jesus, help.” He always answered. He upheld me. He brought a word of encouragement or wisdom needed in that time.
I was asked to share with you my story answering the question, ‘How did you help residents and employees thrive during the pandemic? My answer will always be, I could not have helped without the grace of God. When speaking to residents, families, and employees who were terrified, or exhausted, or angry with precious time lost because of this virus, I asked our Father in heaven to give me His grace to be a peacemaker and to bring hope. This has not been an easy time for anyone. I may not have been perfect in my efforts, but God has been faithful, even where I fall short. The verse that has stayed in my mind was Romans 8:37-39: ‘Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Christ who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God.’”
As we slowly and safely emerge from the pandemic, we are hopeful! We are hopeful for times of great reunion, joy and happiness. This month we would like to highlight a few members of our Health Services leadership team and their stories. We are forever grateful for their stories and devotion to our Residents.
Meet Michelle Brown, Director of Health Services. In 1994 while in college, she began her career in Health Care as a Mental Health Technician. In 2000, Michelle became a fully licensed Nursing Home Administrator. She has spent the past 21 years in corporate and private facilities in both rural and urban settings. Michelle made her way to Epworth Villa in 2019.
“My objective at the onset of the pandemic was to protect our Health care residents, and I took this challenge incredibly serious. The long hours worked and feelings of needing to be brave for my team was difficult. The bigger obstacle for me, personally, was being torn between what my heart felt was right and what the rules said had to be done.
In the early stage of COVID, I was criticized for being too restrictive, and families were very vocal about their feelings and how they missed their loved ones. At the same time, I also knew that we had to be the front line of defense to protect our residents.
My heart absolutely understood and still knows the families’, visitors’, and residents’ desire to see each other. I wanted visitation too! We all wanted the same thing. However, my license required that I follow and enforce the regulations and guidance given from CMS and the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
Being a Long-term Care and Skilled Facility inside of a larger community has had benefits and drawbacks during the pandemic. Being inside a gated community with a guard at the gate screening people was a luxury that none of my peers had. A drawback was that many people did not fully understood that Health Services is separate from Independent Living and Assisted Living. We are a licensed nursing home with entirely different guidelines from the rest of the community. So, the restrictions that were put in place made some Independent Living Residents sad that they could not visit their friends in higher levels of care.
I am incredibly proud to say that we have emerged better than most nursing homes and even thrived during the pandemic. We were able to stabilize staff, become far more creative with tasks and caregiving, and grow stronger and more cohesive as a team.
As the pandemic dims and brighter days are dawning, we arise and acknowledge all the families and residents that have been gracious, understanding, and thankful during this past year. I feel blessed to have been able to serve them here at Epworth Villa.”
April is Occupational Therapy Month. We would like to highlight some of our talented teammates. Meet Jeff Givens, COTA/L.
Meet Jeff! He has been a therapist at Epworth Villa for 10 years and a practicing therapist for 15 years. Jeff shared his thoughts on why he loves working with the geriatric population, “I can relate more to this group and find it interesting to hear about their history. For example, living through world wars, The Great Depression, or The Dust Bowl.”
Jeff expressed he receives great satisfaction witnessing patients he works with come to him with overwhelming needs and leave the rehab department ready to go home and live independently again.
If you want to know more about the rehab department at Epworth Villa you can reach us at 405-752-1200.
April is Occupational Therapy Month. We would like to highlight some of our talented teammates. Meet Amber Wright, OT.
Let’s meet Amber! She is an Occupational Therapist practicing 14 years and sharing her skills at Epworth Villa for the past 10. Amber says it may sound cliché but “I love helping patients get better and regain confidence in themselves.” As a student in her last rotation, Amber worked at a Skilled Nursing Facility and fell in love with this population. She shares, “this group of people has lived so much of life, and I learn something new all the time.”
A favorite success story of Amber’s is a patient who came to her with a devastating stroke. They worked hard together to help her succeed in her recovery and she was able to go home independently! Receiving a visit from her several months later, with a huge smile on her face, makes being a therapist so rewarding.
If you want to know more about Therapy at Epworth Villa give us a call at 405-752-1200.
April is Occupational Therapy Month. We would like to highlight some of our talented teammates. Meet Jason Porterfield, COTA/L.
Let’s introduce Jason Porterfield! Jason has worked at Epworth Villa for 3 years and takes pride in being the youngest therapist on the team. He says he appreciates benefiting from their knowledge and feels blessed to have the opportunity to learn from each of them.
One of the things Jason enjoys about being a therapist is, “helping our patients thrive in achieving independence through meaningful activities.” A favorite activity is meal preparation in the kitchen. Teaching safety, energy conservation, and planning skills in the kitchen are one of the many benefits of occupational therapy.
If you would like to know more about the rehab team, reach out to us at 405-752-1200.
April is Occupational Therapy Month. We would like to highlight some of our talented teammates. Meet Tara Ayers COTA/L.
Let’s meet Tara! She has been sharing her Occupational Therapy skills with the residents at Epworth for 10 years. As a therapist for 25 years, Tara says,” I enjoy working with my patients and coming up with new and safer ways for them to achieve the ability to do the things that they want to do in their lives more independently. I just love my patients and learn so much from them too!”
Her first job was in a skilled nursing facility, “I thought I wanted to work with children, but I just fell in love with the older population and never left them.” Tara feels that everyone is a success story” and enjoys watching someone regain their independence through the therapy process.
If you would like more information about the rehab services at Epworth Villa please call 405-752-1200.
As we slowly and safely emerge from the pandemic. We are hopeful! We are hopeful for times of great reunion, joy and happiness. This month we would like to highlight a few members of our Health Services leadership team and their stories. We are forever grateful for their stories and you might want to grab a tissue.
Meet Mia Owen, Director of Nursing of Health Services. She started at Epworth Villa March of 2020. Mia has 30 plus years’ experience in nursing. She has spent over half of her career in leadership roles serving the geriatric population which is where her true passion lies. Read on to hear her story………..
“This past year, we all were experiencing feelings of fear and an overwhelming need to protect the residents we serve. One of my first obstacles was to guide our staff in overcoming their fears of Covid-19. Through discussion, education, and demonstration we learned to trust the process and the importance of maintaining compliance with the use of the PPE (Personal, Protective, Equipment) and hand hygiene. It is with great pride that I witnessed our front-line staff learn to be brave, fearless, and confident.
Social distancing and no visitation were the hardest things for me, personally. I missed interacting with the residents. It was a dark time for us all. As families called, I could hear the fear in their voices. One of the family members asked me to love their parents like they were my own. This made me cry because I could feel and understand their pain. I TOO had the very same feelings when my father developed Covid. I took him to the ER and as he entered the double doors, I thought it might be the last time I would see him. I am thankful it wasn’t, but I could and do empathize with all of our families. Now that we have been able to re-open for visitation, I cannot explain how much I love to hear our residents and their families singing and laughing again-something we will never take for granted. It brings me joy and blesses my soul!”
April is Occupational Therapy Month. We would like to highlight some of our talented teammates. Meet Keli Boone, OT.
Keli has practiced Occupational Therapy with Epworth Villa for the past 10 years. When asked why she does what she does every day, she said, “I love to help people, and I love the friendships developed with my patients. I feel blessed to be able to have a job where I get to spread God’s love and help people every day.” Keli goes on to say, “when people leave my office feeling better than when they came in, I consider it to be a small miracle.”
When Keli was 15 years old, she had a job after school taking care of an elderly couple that lived close to her, that is when she fell in love with helping the geriatric population! Keli has a specialization in manual therapy technique and loves sharing her skills with our residents at Epworth Villa!
If you would like more information about the rehab services at Epworth Villa please call 405-752-1200.
Social Work Month in March is a time to celebrate the great profession of social work.
Meet Courtnee Williams. Courtnee is a rock star for Health Services and is in charge of the social services. She has a BS in Psychology and has 10 years experience in Long Term Care and Skilled Nursing. She is the point person for most families concerning the rehab progress, discharge plans, or barriers to progress. Families comment that she calls when she says she will and follows up on their concerns. Since COVID Courtnee has been exceptional in scheduling hundreds of face time visits, car visits, compassionate care visits and supervised face to face visits.
Health Services Administrator, Michelle Brown says that “There is nothing asked of her that she doesn’t give her all to complete. Courtnee is very valuable to us!”