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From bedpans to boilers

January 08, 2001

From bedpans to boilers



By ANDREA BROWN-HURLEY / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer

Douglas W. LeidigBOONSBORO - Douglas W. Leidig considers himself among "the newer breed of nursing home administrators."

Young and energetic, the new executive director at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro focuses on such people-centered responsibilities as managing a varied health care staff and meeting the needs of older residents, while tackling such "business challenges" as designing the budget and complying with ever-increasing state and federal regulations, he said.

"I have to know everything from bedpans to boilers," said Leidig, 33.

He took the helm at Reeders, which is capable of serving 157 residents, in October.

Leidig is currently working with a Philadelphia-based market feasibility group to pinpoint the long-term health care needs of the community in order to determine how Reeders can best meet those changing demands, he said.

While overseeing the day-to-day operations of the nursing center, Leidig said he tries to involve representatives from each department in the decision-making process.

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"I'm not a micro-manager," he said.

He strives to be a good listener and invites input from the residents, their families and his staff members, Leidig said.

He said he understands the workings of each department within the facility because he's spent time in all of them.

While a young newspaper carrier in Chambersburg, Pa., Leidig befriended a nursing home administrator on his paper route, he said.

Interested in learning more about the job, Leidig rotated duties at a Chambersburg nursing home on weekends and in the summer while attending high school and college.

"It was working firsthand with the residents and throughout the facility that drew me into this work," Leidig said.

"If I can leave here at the end of the day saying that my staff and myself are providing the best possible place for our residents at this time in their lives, that's very rewarding."

Leidig's position at Reeders is his fifth long-term care post since graduating from York (Pa.) College in 1989 with a degree in long-term care administration.

He worked as a nursing home administrator at Homewood Retirement Centers in Williamsport and Frederick, Md., from mid-1989 to 1994. He then spent two years as administrator of the Asbury Home Assisted Living Facility in Gaithersburg, Md., before leaving to accept the role as executive director of RiverWoods in Lewisburg, Pa.

Leidig ran RiverWoods for five years.

He said his positive past work experience with Asbury Services Inc. in Gaithersburg attracted him to the company's open position in Boonsboro.

Asbury boasts many opportunities for professional growth and an abundance of such resources as an in-house legal team and human resources department, Leidig said.

The department heads and other staff members at Reeders are capable employees who have been very supportive of the facility's new administrator, Leidig said.

"They're just a good crew. It's not a one-person show," he said. "It's everyone trying to pull together. I just try to orchestrate it."

Leidig is moving from Gaithersburg to near Frederick, Md., with his wife and young son.

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