Next year, Fairlawn Haven will celebrate its 60th anniversary. During that time, a lot has changed; however, Fairlawn’s commitment to quality care for its residents and their families as well as their staff and the Archbold community has remained constant over the years.
Fairlawn residents now account for about 10 percent of the village’s total population. Lora Ripke (pictured on left), Fairlawn’s director of community relations and admissions, and Tammy Allison (right), Fairlawn’s executive director and an Archbold Rotarian, shared a little of that history with Rotarians recently.
With a staff of about 130, Fairlawn has 98 nursing beds, 28 assisted living apartments and 201 independent living units on its campus.
Allison noted that while the range of accommodations at Fairlawn allows residents to age in the most appropriate setting based on their physical and medical needs, only about 20 percent of their residents ever need to move into their nursing care center.
She explained that they have a variety of ways of keeping eyes on residents in independent living, including friends and neighbors who watch out for one another and call staff when something seems off.
Perhaps the darkest days at Fairlawn occurred during COVID when residents weren’t able to have face-to-face visits with their family and friends.
It was also a tough period for Fairlawn staff. As with all medical and nursing communities, the stress and burn-out that was part of COVID led to high staff turnover.
As a result, Fairlawn began using agency staffing for the first time. They still are relying on agency employees to fill some of their employee positions.
It also led to Fairlawn’s use of med-techs to assist the nursing staff. Allison explained that a med-tech must have been an STNA (state tested nursing assistant) for at least one year.
Fairlawn then helps them complete additional training that will allow them to pass some medications under a nurse’s direction. She explained that med-techs relieve some of the pressure on nurses and provide excellent care for Fairlawn patients.
A new system for responding to patients needing assistance has also been implemented. Patients can push a button on a pendant that transmits a message to a phone like the receiver the nurses carry.
They know immediately who is requesting help. There’s still a call light outside the patient’s door, but the new system alerts the nursing staff and allows for quicker responses and also allows nurses to request additional help if needed.
To prepare for Fairlawn’s 60th anniversary, Allison said the staff is reviewing and developing an updated vision for Fairlawn Retirement Community that will lead to an updated strategic plan.
For example, she explained that staff are having conversations about trends in senior living. Some of this may lead to physical renovations for the facility, but it also means looking at what seniors today expect from their living accommodations.
Sixty years ago, 11 area Mennonite churches created a vision of what they wanted Fairlawn Haven to be.
And it evolved into quite a legacy. “We want to update that vision to create a legacy that will last another 60 years,” Allison said.