BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN It’s been 50 years since Delano’s nursing home opened.
Just as there was a public showing of the home Dec. 3, 1967, there will be an open house from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, featuring free food and live music.
Originally named Delano Manor, the home became the Estates at Delano, part of Monarch Healthcare Management, earlier in 2017.
With the change come new faces, including Executive Director Leah Schreder and Regional Director of Business Development Jammie Hernandez.
“We want to show there is new management, there is new leadership, and we want to stay here for the long-term,” Hernandez said. “We want this nursing home to be here and serve the community, but we also need the community to support us . . . When they’re given a choice of where they want to go, we want them to say, ‘I want to stay at the Estates at Delano.’”
The physical building is also undergoing changes.
“We’ve redone two rooms,” Schreder said. “We’re working on the dayroom where most of the activities take place. Monarch took this over in March. It hasn’t been that long since they’ve had it. Our goal is to give people in the community what they want for their family members and for themselves eventually.”
Schreder said community input will dictate what is updated and when.
“What we’re trying to do is update it and see what the feedback from the community is first,” Schreder said. “We don’t have a timeline for that. It would be nice to know what people want and make sure we’re providing what people want.”
When the facility opened, it had 64 licensed beds and a staff of 23. Now, the facility has 54 licensed beds, with a staff of 59 full-time, part-time, and on-call employees.
Schreder and Hernandez want the facility to feel like home for its residents.
“In the end, if you’re going to be living somewhere, do you want to feel like you’re living in a hotel or at home?” Schreder asked. “That’s what we’re going toward, like a bed and breakfast so it’s not cookie-cutter.”
One aspect of that is improving the food at the facility.
Schreder presented a project on food while working toward her master’s degree.
“Food is really important to people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities,” Schreder said. “It can create depression. One of the pieces is improving food quality here and the dining experience . . . We’re kind of trying to move toward more of a bistro feel where people are able to order food with more choices and giving people what they really want . . . We’re listening to what people want . . . That’s what we take into consideration and we really work on it.”
Not only does Estates at Delano provide long-term care, but also inpatient and outpatient therapy.
“Half the building is dedicated to that right now,” Schreder said.
“They can come here for a short rehab stay, or they can stay at home and come in here for therapy,” Hernandez added. “It’s a local option to have outpatient therapy.”
Management is determining whether the focus should be on rehab, long-term care, or both.
“We’re really in the discovery stage of trying to figure out what we need for the community and how we can serve the community the best,” Hernandez said.
She said that fits with Monarch’s mission statement.
“Their statement is, ‘Where care and customer service come together,’” Hernandez said. “That’s really been their philosophy. We’re excited to be part of that management group, and I think that we’re ready to help make some changes to the facility and have a different philosophy.”