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Interviewer: We're with Allen Yearick, the administrator at Woodridge nursing facility at Central Vermont Medical Center, up in Berlin, who have just gotten an award for having zero deficiencies. How are you Allen?
Allen: I'm well, I think it's more of a reward for the quality of work that we're doing there but yes, this is an annual survey that's done on most all skilled nursing facilities, particularly here in Vermont. It's an annual thing but it's kind of like our report card, no deficiencies, so that's a pretty good report card.
Interviewer: Kind of like getting a 100 percent, right? I mean when you operate a nursing facility like Woodridge, I'm sure there's all kinds of state federal guidelines that you guys have to work under. This inspection to Woodridge is really, really a high quality, high caliber nursing facility.
Allen: There you go. You said it all. No, you're absolutely correct. It can be kind of rare space for a facility like Woodridge, for any skilled nursing facility to get a zero deficiency report card is pretty good. It takes a village though, it's all about the team. We're pretty proud of that.
Interviewer: Let's talk a little bit about the team at Woodridge; that includes obviously RNs and LPNs and all the different kinds of nurse practitioners, but you also have everybody who cleans the floors, all the way up to the cafeteria and whole nine yards.
Allen: So it's a self-contained operation, in addition to the largest sector of our employee base of course, being in the nursing and nurse leadership area but yes, we've got the food service side. We've got the environmental services side and maintenance side, particularly on short-term care, it's a therapy rehab. It's a total team. Every department and area has a piece of these kinds of annual reviews and surveys. So it's really about saying that most of the kinds of regulations that we're unfortunately governed by, I think I shared with you earlier, it's likening to a nuclear power plant. We have more regulations than a nuclear power plant. So it's a sizable accomplishment when you can come out with a pretty clean bill of health that says, "This is a great facility," and I certainly am very proud of that, as the administrator.
Interviewer: There's a lot of people, me included, who have aging parents, who want the very best for them as they enter the twilight of their years and want them to be in a facility that gives them the very best assistance and care that they need but also allows them the flexibility, freedom and respect that they deserve and this zero deficiency rating for Woodridge nursing facility should be a pretty good indication to folks that it is that kind of place. One of the very best in the state, if not the country.
Allen: Let me break that down a little bit for you. At Central Vermont Medical Center, I mean this is- the Woodridge facility is actually a continuum of life scale. So you're right, the aging process and more end of life, but there's two components to our operation. One is the more long-term care of our loved ones, probably the most vulnerable population we have in our society, and then you have those who are there for a short term, which involves some rehabilitation and therapy to kind of head everybody back home again. We have those components working equally in tandem. It's nice to be able to say this is a quality place. I came here as the interim administrator, I'm now the permanent administrator but the reputation of Woodridge, certainly in past years, has been very noticeable to me and as I get to know my community and talk to people out there, in fact, right here in the studio, somebody who knew and has an employee that works there or had their mother, grandfather, grandmother. It's exciting to hear the very positive experiences that people have with our facility and like I said, a lot of pride on my end of being able to oversee that.
Interviewer: When you look around Woodridge, what are the things that you are most proud of?
Allen: Let me just give you an example of something and I'll put my visitor or guest hat on. When I first go into a facility, there's a couple of things that right off the bat I'm looking for. I'm looking for, how do I feel coming in? Do I feel this is a warm, receptive environment? The curb appeal side starts there and then continues in. Cleanliness is certainly in there. On any given day, we can find a smell or two that happens even in our own homes, but when you don't have those prevailing kinds of concerns that you feel are rather telltale. The rest is, you want to believe that equally as important or equally as good, is the care that you're about to receive there. So it's really about a package that says, "Hey, this is a good place to be," and some people by happenstance or an injury or some other kind of disease process may end up having to make that decision to come to a facility like that sooner than later but then like you mentioned earlier, those that are planned for their more end-of-life time, this is a setting that I shared with you earlier, a place where people come to live, not to come to die.
Interviewer: The rehab portion of this. I have a friend who just recently was involved in a very, very serious accident. Spent a lot of rehab time over the past couple of months up at Woodridge and really, really has nothing but glowing things to say about your organization and your facility.
Allen: Well, that's great to hear. Just in the couple of interactions I've had here in the studio, of examples of where people have had that experience. I have numerous occasions in the community where I ran into somebody and, "Oh yeah, Woodridge, yeah. So and so is there," and I'm just delighted to hear the positive experiences.
Interviewer: Are there stars at Woodridge or are they all stars?
Allen: Well, I'd like to believe that my whole team and everybody that works for Woodridge is a superstar. They care about what they do. I think one of the things that became very evident to me when I got there is there is no problem with where the heart is in this building and the caring side of that because I've met people who are employees that have been there 20, 30 years and heard many of the stories about folks that they've cared for but the whole contingent that we have, really that's a good way to put it; I think they're all stars and I'm just delighted they're on my team.
Interviewer: So zero deficiencies and then you guys are all excited about that and then you come out (and) win the Times Argus’ Best of the Best award.
Allen: Yes, right on top of that. How about that? It's a double positive. That's nice to be recognized as, locally here in our community; that people think we are one of the best.
Interviewer: The morale over at Woodridge has to be pretty good. I mean the team has to be pretty psyched with all of this news.
Allen: I'll tell you, I announced this over our overhead paging. We don't do a lot of that but when it does happen, this was one that I had to do that I was excited to do. The eruption, the applause, all of the positives and then of course I went out and around the building and in particular, on our nursing units, a very joyous afternoon. Not that those kinds of same expressions aren't found day to day, but this one was particularly sweet.
Interviewer: For folks out there that may be looking for rehabilitative care or looking for twilight years care or end-of-life care for family members and loved ones, what do you tell them about your facility?
Allen: Well, first of all, let me precede that. I want to make a plug. You know, we have a great team, so we're looking for others who are going to join our team, particularly the nurses out there who may find that nursing and geriatric care, long-term care, is a place that they would hopefully come to know and want to be part of. So we're looking for specialty members like those we already have but for the most part, we let a tour and an experience in talking with several of our staff speak for itself because I think most people, if they do have the privilege to come in and tour the facility and are looking for, trying to make that decision for their loved one, they'll very quickly see that the temperament and the environment there is a very positive one and that's a special thing because it is—it's a very tenuous time when you have to make those decisions for a loved one. You want to find the right place, and the right caring place, but to assure that everything from quality of the food to the quality of care and then the cleanliness therein, is all of this is part of a package. So I tell people, "Yeah, come check us out." Come and tour us, schedule a tour. Visit with some of our staff and it will be very evident to anybody pretty quickly.
Interviewer: Allen Yearick is the administrator at Woodridge Nursing and Rehabilitation at CVMC, Central Vermont Medical Center, in Berlin. Thank you.
Allen: Thank you.