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.”