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Sheila Griffith leads reeder's memorial home

April 02, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

andreabh@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - The new executive director of Reeder's Memorial Home in Boonsboro recently crossed one item off her lengthy to-do list: Meet every resident at the 157-bed facility to see how Reeder's can better meet their needs.

Sheila A. Griffith said the residents make the demanding job of overseeing every aspect of the facility worthwhile.

"Working with the residents and with people who really like working here is very rewarding," said Griffith, 35. "If you want to make a difference in somebody's life very quickly and easily, walk into a nursing home and smile at somebody."

Griffith wants to help make Reeder's the "first choice" for skilled nursing care, rehabilitative services and dementia care, she said.

That means providing residents with the best possible services, and branching beyond nursing home walls to meet the rehabilitative and other needs of people of all ages in the community, Griffith said.

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"We're not just a long-term care facility," she said. "We want to be many things for the community."

Her well-liked predecessor, Douglas Leidig, may help Reeder's broaden its reach in the community, Griffith said.

In his new position as director of health services for Reeder's parent company, Asbury Services Inc., Leidig will work with Griffith to create new programs and services that benefit residents and community members.

For example, if Griffith wanted to open a pharmacy or physicians' clinic at Reeder's, Leidig would help engineer those initiatives, she said.

"There's nothing out of the realm of possibilities nowadays to generate revenue," Griffith said.

Reeder's organizational structure has kept Griffith close to all aspects of the facility since she took over for Leidig at Reeder's in December 2001, she said.

Department managers - from the nursing director to housekeeping manager - report directly to the executive director, she said.

"I know about everything from the residents' feedback about lunch to if all the dryers were working," Griffith said.

She is responsible for quality control at Reeder's and for making sure that residents' needs are being met. Griffith handles the facility's finances, including budgeting, marketing and comparative analysis of Reeder's and other nursing care facilities in the area, she said.

She also ensures that Reeder's remains in compliance with all federal, state and county regulations.

Griffith said she learned such intricacies of running nursing homes through education and experience.

She switched from the hospitality to retirement industry in 1993, using her college degree and experience in hotel resort management to improve upon the hospitality aspect of retirement care as housekeeping manager at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg, Md.

"I liked the mix of hospitality and the guest who never went away," Griffith said. "I found I loved working with seniors."

Griffith climbed the career ladder at Asbury Services, moving from administrator in training at Asbury Methodist Village's Wilson Health Care Center to assistant administrator at Kindley Assisted Living Building and finally to assistant administrator of AMV's 748-unit residential apartment complex.

Griffith helped plan and open three new buildings at Asbury Methodist Village - an assisted living center, apartment building and wellness center, she said.

Her experience with contractors will come in handy at Reeder's when she oversees extensive renovations to several floors starting this summer.

For five years, Griffith juggled her full-time job with night classes to earn her master's degree in health care administration, she said.

She then tackled the state's intensive nursing home administrator training program for one year before earning her certification in 1998.

Her top post at Reeder's is "the next level on a career path for a licensed nursing home administrator," Griffith said.

She has found her work at Reeder's - Asbury Services' smallest facility - much different from her work at the sprawling Asbury Methodist Village, she said.

"I had to refocus myself," Griffith said. "The issues are so different here."

Most of the residents with whom she worked at Asbury Methodist Village were younger than the residents at Reeder's, Griffith said, so their needs were different.

She's found a greater emphasis on medical issues at Reeder's, and the residents are more dependent on in-house services because many residents are unable to leave the facility, Griffith said.

"The world is smaller here," she said.

Griffith commutes to Boonsboro daily from Montgomery County, Md., where she lives with her husband and young daughter.

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