Quality of care is a top priority
Bishop’s Glen is a 25-acre retirement community in historic, Holly Hill, Florida. The land on which the community sits was once a Volusia County dairy farm, owned by the Bishop family. According to Linda Dixon, Bishop’s Glen’s Marketing Director, in 1983, an industrious son of the clan decided to create a condominium complex on the acreage, in order to take advantage of its lush, scenic beauty. Unfortunately, within a few years, the project developer went bust. “That’s when the Retirement Housing Foundation stepped up to the plate and purchased the entire complex and turned it into the retirement community that it is today,” says Dixon. “When the RHF bought it, they completed the project right away.”
The Retirement Housing Foundation (RHF) was formed in March 1961, in Long Beach, California, by three individuals from the United Church of Christ. Two clergymen and a layman pooled some $7,000 in cash and undertook the mission of providing dignified and affordable housing for America’s elderly and persons with disabilities. Clearly, the mission succeeded. Today, RHF communities are located in 28 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, providing housing and health services for over 20,000 people. The company’s portfolio includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, and memory care facilities.
Bishop’s Glen is one of RHF’s multi-level retirement communities that offers all the aforementioned levels of care: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Extended Congregate Care (which is a higher level of Assisted Living not offered by many communities), and a full-service Health Care Center, with short-term rehabilitation and long-term care services. Its overall mission is to provide housing options and services for older adults, low income families, and persons with disabilities, in an environment that enhances their quality of life – physically, mentally and spiritually. The community was carefully designed to provide spacious living quarters for all its residents in pleasant and safe surroundings, while offering them superior food service and many other amenities, activities, and programs.
Perry Weiker is the Executive Director of Bishop’s Glen. He oversees its 252 employees, 60 skilled nursing beds, 249 licensed assisted living beds, and 158 independent living apartments. He explains the advantages of having a complete continuity of care for its 400 plus residents, allowing them to “age in place.” “In our plan, here, health care is fluid,” he says. “So, you can come into any stage – you could be in long-term care, you could be in short-term care and then move to independent living or assisted living. Or you could go from assisted living to skilled nursing or even back to independent living. What helps is we have every opportunity available.”
Bishop’s Glen has apparently made the most of those opportunities over the years because its proficiency has not gone unnoticed. “Our skilled nursing facility is five-Star rated by the Agency for Healthcare Administration three years in a row,” boasts Weiker, “and we’re the fourth highest-rated facility in the state of Florida.” Of course, it takes a dedicated, professional staff to help make those opportunities manifest, and Weiker is quick to lavish great praise on Bishop Glen’s employees. “The people here are outstanding,” he exults. “There’s a lot of longevity; people who have been here for 25 or 30 years. When we hire somebody, we put them through a pretty heavy-duty vetting system – something that a lot of companies don’t do anymore.”
Bishop’s Glen then supports those it employs by providing staff with whatever new or ongoing educational and professional programs are necessary for them to operate the facility at its maximum effectiveness. Dixon says that Bishop’s Glen employees are all required to participate in training sessions sponsored by Redilearning (now called Reliaslearning), a company that offers education technology and strategic guidance to the senior care industry. “Education is very important for us, here,” adds Weiker. “If somebody needs something, we make sure they get the training and education. We groom leaders in healthcare and develop the next generation of healthcare personnel. We want them to succeed in their careers, because the more they succeed, the more we can, as well.”
While Bishop’s Glen hums with the efficiency of a well-run organization (“I think the quality of the management staff has a lot to do with it,” opines Dixon), it doesn’t mean that it has the look or feel of an institutional facility. In fact, according to Weiker, “at Bishop’s Glen, you feel like you’re at home.” Nonetheless, even the nicest homes begin to show some wear and tear after 30 years, so Weiker says that the community will be getting a $1 million face-lift, this year. “I’ve started a project renovating our skilled nursing center,” he says. “We’re redoing the rooms and we’re changing the colors to be not the same old colors of 30 years ago. We want to make sure it’s more modern. Residents of today like new and fresh.”
With its continuity of care model, its spacious apartments, and its caring, professional staff, Weiker believes that Bishop’s Glen is a place where “everybody wants to live.” But he knows that, in the long run, it’s not the color of the paint on the walls, nor even the superior, restaurant-style meals served in the dining hall that makes Bishop’s Glen the premier retirement community it has come to be. He believes it’s because Bishop’s Glen is a place where its residents fully enjoy retirement life by taking part in life-affirming social, spiritual, and recreational activities. “We’re very active,” says Weiker. “It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you’re independent, assisted living, or in the skilled nursing facility. The residents are active, and their self-esteem is uplifted because they’re involved in what they do, every day; they’re involved in what their futures are going to be. And we help make that happen.”
That’s because the quality of care is a top priority.
AT A GLANCE
WHO: Bishop’s Glen
WHAT: An Assisted Living/Retirement Community
WHERE: Daytona Beach, Florida