This month, we met up with Ron Bucci, Senior Executive Director of The Greens at Cannondale, Wilton Meadows and The Greens at Greenwich. The Greens/Wilton Meadows and RVNAhealth have been partners in care for well over a decade.
ABOUT THE BUSINESS
Q: Tell us about The Cannondale Campus and The Greens at Greenwich?
The Cannondale Campus consists of The Greens at Cannondale Assisted Living and Wilton Meadows Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Our privately-owned campus is on ten picturesque acres off Route 7 in Wilton and enjoys 30+ years of quality awards and partnership with our local community. We offer all levels of senior care from luxury apartments to those that need memory care. Our 5-star Wilton Meadows offers short term inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services. The Greens at Greenwich Assisted Living is like a cottage for the arts (music, dance, theater) featuring award-winning care for Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia.
Q: What brought you to this business? What is your professional background?
Senior Care has been my career for over 25 years. After starting in healthcare as a dietitian, I soon learned that working with seniors was incredibly rewarding and I continued my education to become a Nursing Home Administrator and Assisted Living Executive Director. This is my third campus leadership position and I feel blessed to have found my calling.
Q: How big is your team?
As Senior Executive Director of three facilities, I enjoy a team of approximately 400 wonderful senior care professionals with unheard of longevity.
Q: Where do you serve?
We serve clients from a multitude of communities, including primarily Wilton, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Easton, Redding, Westport, Norwalk, Fairfield, Darien, New Canaan, and Greenwich.
Q: What is your business/customer service philosophy?
“Client-centered” and “quality first” are overused terms in our industry, but I believe we are built to last with these core principles. As a family-owned business, we enjoy a culture where people are put first. One result of this ethos is amazing staff longevity. I think we all know that when great staff develop relationships with our clients and each other, quality skyrockets. I think this and our nimbleness—another advantage when corporate bureaucracy is eliminated—are our biggest differences. When decision making is made close to clients, customer service can be limitless.
ABOUT THE INDUSTRY
Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your business?
COVID-19 has changed all businesses. In our case, we learned to quickly shift our communities from vibrant, open, fun, warm and family-like environments to closed ones completely focused on safety and infection control. Our performance related to maintaining resident and staff safety earned us the very first Connecticut Association of Assisted Living (CAAL) “Clean and Safe Certified” designation in the state and we have not experienced a resident with symptoms in over a full year. With the positive effects of vaccination having lowered community transmission, we are now returning to our usual operations complete with plenty of activities, music, and fun.
Q: What type of services do you provide?
The Cannondale Campus offers a full continuum of care including independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, short term rehabilitation, and out-patient rehabilitation. All of these offerings are specifically designed for seniors and available on one picturesque campus.
Q: Any trends consumers should be aware of?
As we are emerging from a pandemic, I would like to highlight that quality has never been more important. As the clients of 2021 often present with more complexity, the need for highly-trained and committed staff to individualize effective solutions and services must increase in order to support these needs. I would stress to anyone seeking senior care to focus on the people who will be providing the care. Quality is now measurable and dependent on great staff so I would urge consumers to scratch beneath the surface and ask questions about quality, staffing ratios, and staff longevity.
ABOUT THE RVNAHEALTH RELATIONSHIP
Q: How did you first meet RVNAhealth?
The Cannondale Campus and RVNAhealth have had a very positive relationship for decades. It is a natural partnership, as RVNAhealth and our main campus often service common clients due to our geographic proximity. We also share many of the same values.
Q: How has the relationship evolved and what are the key elements of The Greens at Cannondale & Wilton Meadow’s relationship with RVNAhealth? (i.e.- Have you used our services? Have you volunteered with us? Have you attended our events?)
With RVNAhealth’s reputation and proximity, Wilton Meadows has, post-discharge, been referring Short Term Rehabilitation clients for years. Also, The Greens at Cannondale often refers to RVNAhealth to facilitate home-based services at The Greens. Cross referrals, joint fundraising and participating in events has evolved into a more meaningful partnership related to The Accountable Care Act (ACA) legislation. Prior to this, quality was difficult to measure, and the healthcare system made positive customer outcomes difficult to share through the continuum. The ACA reinforced our relationship, as quality statistics for RVNAhealth are excellent and, much like Wilton Meadow’s “5-star” rating, the relationship reciprocally strengthened our businesses.
Q: Any Greens at Cannondale/Wilton Meadow/RVNAhealth stories to share? (Great successes, humorous tales, etc.)?
I have a great success story that comes to mind and involves a client who moved into the Greens a few years ago. This client was a man living at home who suffered from a neurological condition making his ability to walk and care for himself quite challenging. The situation became unsafe in his home. After moving him in, our team had a good care plan in place, but we soon realized that we needed more expertise due to the client’s significant height, weight, and physical strength. After a number of meetings with family, an RVNAhealth physical therapist, nurse, and our Greens’ team, strategies were soon employed that allowed us to safely transfer him and greatly improve his quality of life. The staff at The Greens also learned much about avoiding injury while delivering care. It was a textbook case of teamwork, family involvement, and caring. The resident remains here at the Greens and is as strong as ever – I honestly have to warn him not to squeeze my hand too hard when we greet each other.