Archive for Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nursing home gets new name, new local facility administrator

January 17, 2008

Though Coffeyville-based Medicalodges Inc. purchased the Eudora Nursing Center Nov. 1, it only recently hired an administrator to run the skilled nursing facility now known as Medicalodge of Eudora.

Thirteen-year resident of Eudora, Tami Klinedinst took over the position as of Jan.4.

Klinedinst believes her connection to the community of Eudora had a lot to do with her being hired.

"If somebody from the community comes into the facility and they see someone they don't even know as the administrator, whereas opposed to me - who a lot of people know here in the community - they're going to feel a lot more comfortable putting their loved one with somebody they know rather than somebody who just moved to the community," she said.

Klinedinst had been working as a physical therapy assistant and activities director in other nursing facilities but saw that only as an administrator could she fix the problems she witnessed.

"There was a period over the years of seeing changes that needed to be made, going through state surveyors knowing problems that needed to be addressed and getting frustrated with not seeing those things taken care of," Klinedinst said. "It's been a process from '94 until now of coming to the realization that I can make a difference as an administrator."

After she received her bachelor's degree in psychology from Kansas University in May 2007, she then attended Cowley County Community College and became a state certified long-term adult health care administrator.

"The way I look at it is (I want to) make a difference because I knew what needed to be fixed in other facilities, and I just didn't see it happening at an administrative level. It's frustrating as an employee to know what needs to be done and it's not getting done - it demoralizes a staff."

The staff is a big part of the facility, as Medicalodge is an employee-owned corporation that allows each of its 26 facilities to run as a single location.

"They're very oriented to the community and the staff that serve the residents in each facility. It's a very community-friendly company," Klinedinst said. "To me, the greatest honor is to be able to serve the community in this capacity. This is a humble service because it is my people and my community and what greater way to give back?"

The facility is going through a few small changes as a result of working to become Medicare certified. But Klinedinst is impressed with how open the staff is to change.

"The department heads here are fantastic, and they're willing to learn all of these new things they'll have to know for Medicare."

One of the changes Medicare would require is to allow community members to use the facility in a rehabilitative, non-permanent manner. For instance, those who have sustained injuries that temporarily disable them could stay in the facility on a non-permanent basis.

"We do rehab-to-home, so when you come in here, you're not here to stay," Klinedinst said. "The goal is to get people back into the community and have a short-term stay here and Medicare would pay for it."

However, long-term residencies remain a prominent part of the program.

Klinedinst said the culture of the facility also has changed from that of an institution to a cozier environment.

"The minute you walk into this facility, it should feel like you're walking into someone's home, as opposed to an institution that provides care," she said.

They are accomplishing this by calling the two different hallways "communities" and then establishing two different "neighborhoods" in each hallway. Staff and residents within each neighborhood are allowed to decide how it should look and how their programs should run.

Open dining, which allows residents to eat each meal within a two-hour time period instead of one time only, is another change to which the staff is adjusting.

"My goal with this facility is to make it a premier facility for Medicalodge, but also the community," Klinedinst said. The processes that are in place and the potential that is here to make that possible are incredible."

Helping Eudora community is nothing new for Klinedinst, as she is a member of the Lions Club and will begin to serve as a member of the Eudora Chamber of Commerce.

"She's going to be an excellent addition to the facility," City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said. "I think that it's excellent that the company hired someone local who will be dedicated to running that facility in a positive way."

While she knows serving others is not something everyone is able to do, she is confident in her abilities and those of her staff, as well.

"When I was in high school, and I can't remember how it started, I went into the nursing home side of the hospital and I just loved the people who were there," she said. "I liked spending time with them, I've always had that gift. There are some people that can't do it, but we've got a lot of people here that have that gift."

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