Family member

Three siblings whose mother was in the hospital the weekend of May 5 and 6 visited Meadowlark Hills unannounced on both Saturday and Sunday. In addition, they visited two other care facilities in Manhattan, also without an appointment. One daughter is a social worker, so she wanted to see how staff would respond to someone who didn't call ahead.

After interacting with staff and residents, and seeing the accommodations at the three communities, this daughter said there was only one choice: Meadowlark Hills. On Monday, May 7, one of the daughters met with Becky Fitzgerald, Independent Living sales representative, because her mother is interested in moving to an IL apartment. She said she didn't want to speak disparagingly of the competition, so Becky encouraged the daughter to share what Meadowlark is doing right. Here is her answer, paraphrased:

"Meadowlark is alive. That was obvious from the moment we walked in the door. At your front desk, we were greeted by a nice woman who called one of your staff members to assist us. (When Becky told her that the nice woman was a resident volunteer, Marla Bugbee, she commented that that tells her the residents are invested in making this their home and are proud of their home.)

Sherry Smith, household coordinator at Lyle House, showed us your Community Center, a healthcare household, and Bramlage House. When we asked Sherry to see a recent survey, she gave us a copy and found a place for us to sit and look through it. There was nothing in the survey that gave us any worries about Meadowlark. It's the surveyors' jobs to find something to correct. We were interested to read how Meadowlark plans to address the few minor things the surveyors found.

At one of the other places we visited, we asked to see the survey and were told we couldn't see it. When I pointed to a posted sign, telling us the location of the survey, I again asked to see the survey, and we were told we'd have to come back. During the tour, when we entered the room where the survey was kept, I again asked to see the survey and was told by the staff person that she didn't know where the survey was. I told her that according to the sign, the survey was in this room, and finally the staff member walked to the survey's location and produced it for us.

We purposely visited Meadowlark around a mealtime so we could see the interaction between staff and residents during a meal. There were people who need assistance eating at all of the places we visited, but at Meadowlark, we saw staff not only assisting residents with their meal but also interacting with them. There was real conversation between residents and staff around the table.

We saw staff speaking to residents in wheelchairs, and at Meadowlark, your staff bent down so they could be at eye level with the persons they were talking to. At Meadowlark, we didn't see staff in medical-style clothing. They were dressed just like we were, but had on name tags so we could tell they were staff. We also didn't see a bunch of staff sitting in front of a TV, taking a break in a room so near the residents, where their loud TV program and conversation would potentially disturb the residents. We saw this at one of the other facilities.

Without a vision, there is no hope, and I can tell that Meadowlark has hope. I think my mother would be so happy here, and we would all like to see her move to Meadowlark."

The rest of the story: This woman's mother arrived at Bramlage House on Wednesday, May 9, to recover her strength after the recent hospital stay. She was promptly greeted by staff, and within minutes, one daughter was going over a list of medicines with a nurse, while therapists were meeting with the guest in her suite.