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Like Family, When You Need it Most
Personal Relationships Enhance Quality of Care at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network

“I think that one of the favorite parts of my work is when I receive a letter or a phone call from a family member extending their thanks for the outstanding care their loved one received,” reflects Paul Winkler, President and CEO or Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, about a recent conversation he had with family member Barbara Gatto. He continues, “When I talked to Barb, she was calling one year after her mom and aunt were in our care. She was so touched by the personal relationships she formed with our teams who guided her through the move-in process, as well as the day-to-day care, that it stuck with her.”

Barb first found her way to Presbyterian SeniorCare Network in October 2016 when her mom, Gloria, fell at her home while protecting her beloved red azalea bushes, which were near where workers were digging on the street in front of her home. Gloria went to the hospital and started in-home rehabilitation. But one day, she woke up and couldn’t move. This sent her back to the hospital and it was recommended that she continue her rehabilitation at The Willows, the skilled nursing community and rehabilitation center at the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network Oakmont campus.

“I knew then that my mom wasn’t coming home,” says Barb. “We didn’t want her in a big house where she could fall again. So our plan was, after she finished rehab, she would move to an apartment at Westminster Place [the personal care community at the Oakmont campus].” But there was another layer to the story. Barb’s mom shared her home with Barb’s Aunt Lenora.

“Barb was determined to get an apartment where her aunt and mom could live together,” remembers Angela Skubel, sales and move-in coordinator at Westminster Place. Angela spent a great deal of time getting to know Barb and what she desired for her mom and aunt, but it’s not the admissions process that stuck with Angela. “I am so lucky in my line of work—I get to know family members like they are my own. I got to know Barb on a personal level. She is a retired math teacher and during one of our meetings, she helped me to understand common core math. Not because I need it for my work, but because my son would eventually be learning this type of math and I wanted to be able to help him with his homework,” laughs Angela.

After submitting the move-in application, Angela received news that Lenora and Gloria were denied. “We have financial guidelines, but from the time that I spent talking to Barb, and knowing her strong desire to keep her mom and aunt together, I had to know why the application was denied.” Reaching back out to our finance team, Angela learned if Barb was able to sell the house, which belonged to her mother and aunt, the application would be approved.
Without hesitation, Barb decided to buy the house so that her mother and aunt had a safe place to live—together. With that decision, Aunt Lenora moved in to Westminster Place 11 days after Gloria started rehabilitation in The Willows, which is just next door.

In her first few months at Westminster Place, Aunt Lenora thrived. But in November 2016, Barb got the call she was dreading; her mother was actively dying and she should get to Gloria’s side right away.  “The team, knowing we had rushed to The Willows at 4 am, ensured that we were comfortable and that we had snacks, which was very beneficial to my husband who has diabetes.”

A short time after Gloria’s passing, in February 2017, Aunt Lenora passed away. Barb says, “I just cannot say enough about the exceptional care to my mom in her last hours, as well as my aunt. We were treated as part of the Presbyterian SeniorCare Network family. The care felt so personal, it was truly heartwarming.”

To learn more about the living, service and care options at Presbyterian SeniorCare Network, please visit www.SrCare.org.

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