Here at Shaker Place Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, we had no idea when our $80 million renovation project began that we would soon need every resource our new facility provided to face obstacles imposed by COVID-19. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, but with courage, strength and the will to succeed, Shaker Place has achieved what few government-owned nursing homes have been able to.
When the pandemic hit, we were only about 50% done with the project, but we didn’t miss a beat. We instantly adapted when the crisis hit, changing our policies and procedures to ensure the safety of residents and their families. Construction continued, and our staff did what they needed to do to care for our resident population.
As executive director, I personally met with construction workers to explain the precautions Shaker Place was taking – tripling the amount of cleaning being performed on common areas, adding new bathroom sections, giving out personal protective equipment and restricting contact between the construction team and Shaker Place staff and residents.
The renovation added 77,000 square feet to the Shaker Place facility, introducing brand-new private and biaxial rooms, expanded common areas, eight culinary country kitchens with multiple dining areas, a brand-new rehabilitation center and gymnasium, and a secure courtyard with walking paths to allow for physical activity.
Even shared rooms were designed with privacy in mind, allowing each resident to have their own space. This became crucial at the height of the pandemic, when social distancing became the norm.
Our large common areas and multiple dining rooms allowed guests to maintain 6 feet of distance while still engaging in social activities, and our residents love being able to get outside in the nice weather while still remaining safe. Throughout the pandemic, our residents were able to adapt to their new routines while enjoying all of the amenities that Shaker Place has to offer.
These renovations have been a boon for residents and staff alike. The Shaker Place team loves coming to work in a beautiful facility with modern conveniences where they can effortlessly meet the needs of their residents.
Throughout the pandemic and our renovations, as quality of care remained our No. 1 priority, we received multiple recognitions for excellence. We consistently receive high CMS Quality of Care star ratings, and we also achieved three perfect Focused Infection Control COVID surveys, recognizing the effectiveness of our response.
In August of 2020, Shaker Place happily accepted the Silver National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. This award program is an intensive, three-step process that requires detailed and comprehensive demonstrations of quality systems and performance.
While it wasn’t always easy to complete the renovation during the pandemic, the staff never wavered in their dedication to their residents. Every day provided new challenges, but the new layout of the nursing home helped Shaker Place maintain social distancing between residents while staying true to our mission.
Looking back on our renovations, I’m most proud of the fact that we were able to accomplish everything we did within a pandemic. From the construction workers to the staff, everyone chose to look forward instead of back. We also had the backing of our government, and our county executive, who wanted to make sure our residents and community got the type of nursing home that they deserve.
It’s clear that Shaker Place Rehabilitation and Nursing Center has gone above and beyond during the COVID-19 crisis. With our dedication to promoting high-quality services for the community, the residents at Shaker Place and their families can look forward to continued quality in long-term care.
Larry I. Slatky has been a licensed nursing home administrator for 50 years and has a proven track record in facilitating the growth and improvement of long-term healthcare facilities in New York and New Jersey. Throughout his successful career, Larry has been honored by the American College of Health Care Administrators, Ross Laboratories and the Long Island Business News.