By Tom Murphy
Lloyd Swalve is retiring as the administrator of Caledonia Care & Rehab on Friday, April 12. An open house that day from 1 to 4 p.m. will be held in the commons area by the reception desk. Marian Rauk, the long time director of nursing, will become the new administrator. Swalve has managed the facility for 19 years.
The community is invited to attend the open house to recognize Swalve and meet Rauk, and to get an early look at an extensive remodeling project at Caledonia Care & Rehab. An open house showing off the complete remodeling may be held during National Nursing Home Week in May.
Swalve spoke of his career in healthcare administration with satisfaction. “It has been a very good change for me,” he said. “I appreciate the changes over the years with technology. You are able to communicate and get answers much more quickly.”
Once in vocational administration at the secondary school level, Swalve went into healthcare on the advice of someone he knew. “I’ve come to enjoy my work,” he said. After stints at Olivia and Fairmont, he came to Caledonia.
“Lloyd has done a lot of work on the remodeling project,” Rauk said. “He’s worked hard to see it come out as well as it has. He’s not only helped move equipment, he has laid tile and put his woodworking hobby to use building cabinets.”
It is as if Swalve and his local management team planned his transition to coincide with the remodeling. “Our team has benefitted from Lloyd’s leadership. He has created a progressive atmosphere,” Rauk said. Evidencing this approach are invitations to speak at trade association meetings about new concepts and successful grant writing for equipment and services, she noted.
Swalve likes the facility’s use of electronic charting and the universal worker concept. That concept has one caregiver providing and overseeing much of the care of each patient. “The caregiver sees to it that medications are given, gets the patients involved in activities, is kept busy in their room and manages room upkeep as well as laundry,” Rauk explained. “Our licensed staff covers services in our assisted living so the faces remain the same when people transition from Buckley Memorial to the Care & Rehab unit,” Rauk said of the concept. “The caregivers follow the resident.”
Caledonia Care & Rehab was awarded a grant to implement the unique program.
“Marian and I have worked well together. We have been planning for the programs as well as my leaving,” he said.
The commons area is the result of removal of walls of several rooms into a bright, open area. It requires imagination to recall where the traditional layout once existed. The extensive remodeling introduces several changes that introduce the new concepts.
The dining area’s main opening is to the north where it connects to the commons. Residents eat breakfast on a flexible schedule up to 10:30 a.m. “When they wake up, they can go and eat,” Rauk explained. They no longer have to wake everyone and get them to the dining area at a set time. “We always have something to eat,” Rauk explained in telling of one resident who routinely gets up around 2 a.m. and goes to the dining area for coffee and a cookie as well as a visit with the overnight staff. It’s another example of the effort to make the residence as much like home.
Also connected to the commons area is a wing of five new rooms for those on short term stay. It is close to the therapies area, which has been moved to the first floor. It is transitional service between the hospital and home.
“Our bed count has not changed over the years, but the nature of the services we provide has changed to better meet needs of the community,” Swalve said. In addition to the five rooms that are strictly for transitional residents, there are 34 private rooms and eight semi-private rooms. Assisted living and a memory unit is provided in Roseview Court with seven rooms on each of two floors. Buckley Memorial has 16 apartments for assisted living.
The commons provides for expanded dining area and recreation. It is also designed to coordinate nursing and reception. Completing the significant investment are a new elevator as well as fire protection system.
The owners of Caledonia Care & Rehab are Grant and Andrea Thayer. “They have made a substantial investment in our facility,” Swalve said.
He notes the Thayers support of growth through staff training and planning. Rauk added, “The least experience of anyone in our management group is five years. We have a stable, core staff. Our nursing assistants are encouraged to learn more. We are proud of the students who have gone on to get nursing training and then returned.”
“The Thayers have emphasized quality, and our home has earned five star ratings on more than one occasion,” Swalve said.
Other successful programs are the purposeful walking program which supplements the ‘Walk to Dine’ effort and a concentrated focus on maintaining range of motion. Unique among this is the effort to have one caregiver monitor these services. “Our mission is to call ourselves, staff and patients, one big home,” she said.
Planning for a return home is as comprehensive as it is for care upon admission. Rauk explained. “We start therapy and introduce a social worker to the resident and family who maintains contact to assist in the returning home process. We will arrange for home-delivered meals and health visits in the home. If electronic monitoring is necessary, we help and we offer adult daycare, if needed. Examples of successful grants are a bathing service for outpatient care. “We have an easy entry bath tub for people to enter. They can come in once or twice a week and then go home,” Rauk explained.
“We welcome everyone to Friday’s retirement for Lloyd,” Rauk said.