“In November 2011, my Dad was age 91 with some dementia and COPD. He had been living independently in a senior citizen’s apartment complex. Some breathing difficulties led to a hospitalization. The hospital doctors determined that it would not be safe for Dad to return to his apartment. They recommended 24-hour supervision for his dementia. His COPD was still at a level that could be managed without skilled nursing.
I toured MANY assisted living facilities with “memory units” over a large area of Massachusetts. I mean really … I considered places from Chelmsford to Leominster and out to Springfield. Even left a deposit at one place. I was still uneasy with the decision, and talked to a social worker at the hospital. She mentioned Dodge Park Rest Home and Day Club in Worcester.
I didn’t even know what a Rest Home was or how it differed from other levels of care. Yet, once I got there … to Dodge Park Rest Home … and found out everything about it, I knew it was PERFECT. It’s that feeling that comes from the gut. This is the one, I looked no further.
My very first experience, when I inspected the property, was totally different from the other places I’d seen. There was no “Sales” or “Marketing” person. There was a NURSE. Yes, an actual nurse named Carrie, with loads of credentials and experience. Carrie is the Director of Nursing at Dodge Park Rest Home. Yet, she is not one to sit in her office. It was Carrie that walked me around the building and explained how things operate. She knows every resident and what is going on with them, she knows family members of residents, and she is hands-on involved in every situation that arises. That’s not to say the the other nurses at Dodge Park aren’t capable. Every one is professional, compassionate, highly qualified and committed to excellence. It’s just that there is constant communication at every level of care-giving. This goes from the behind-the-scenes people all the way up to the owners. I don’t mean the corporate conglomerates that own some facilities, I mean the actual 2 guys that own Dodge Park Rest Home and Day Club.
This part still amazes me. Ben and Micah are the 2 owners of Dodge Park. The have been business partners in the health care industry for maybe 20 years. It seems that at least one of them is on-site just about all the time. And, like Carrie, they know about everything that is going on. That’s because Ben and Micah are both health care professionals in their own right. They are trained and experienced in elder care. They know about dementia. They know about COPD. They have life experiences of caring for elderly members in their own families. They’ve walked in my shoes. When Ben and Micah see the residents at Dodge Park, they see people like their own parents. They step right in and help with whatever needs doing. It is a sense of having a common purpose that is the cement bonding all the workers at Dodge Park.
With folks like these in charge, it would make little difference to me what the building looked like. Yet the building itself at Dodge Park Rest Home is exceptionally clean and home-like. There is no “nursing home odor” whatsoever. There is no mass-produced shopping mall feeling. Instead, the resident’s rooms are cozy and comfortable. The lounging areas have wide screen TV’s and leather-like chairs and couches. The dining room is spacious and modern. There are large windows in every possible area. Every holiday brings decorations worth photographing. Art projects done by the residents are on display. And, for a patient with dementia this is very important: the residents are not confined to a “memory unit” . They can roam the entire building safely, because ALL doors are secured and monitored.
In my research I discovered that Dodge Park Rest Home and Day Club is one of the few facilities that was “deficiency free” in a recent inspection by the state of Massachusetts. In other words, they scored 100 %. Bravo!”