Country Meadows reorganizes home-care services

HERSHEY, Pa. (July 16, 2014)—The Leader family, owners and operators of Country Meadows Retirement Communities, today announced that it will scale back Country Meadows At Home services by concluding services with clients living outside its retirement communities on Sept. 17 in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley, and end altogether in South Hills of Pittsburgh as of Aug 18. due to diminishing staffing resources.

“It’s very disappointing to me that we are unable to sustain the community-based component of Country Meadows At Home. Restructuring is personally regrettable for me, because we have assisted clients, some of whom have been relatives, neighbors and friends, to continue living in their homes more independently and safely for more than six years,” says Michael Leader-Country Meadows President & CEO. “We have been about quality care at Country Meadows for more than 30 years, and we take pride in being recognized as one of the best providers of senior living in our region.”

While Country Meadows Retirement Communities offers levels of care to residents living on 10 campuses, Country Meadows At Home provides homemaker, companion, transportation and personal care services to clients in their own homes, to help them live as independently as possible.

Both Country Meadows Retirement Communities and Country Meadows At Home deliver quality care provided by compassionate, skilled caregivers. However, a critical difference between providing care in a retirement community versus an individual’s home is the staff scheduling demands to ensure caregivers are available when and where they are needed, and that client hours are available for caregivers. Meeting this ratio became a constant challenge.

Across the country, the home-care industry average for caregiver turnover has jumped to 53%—an increase of 30% in just three years. At Country Meadows At Home, turnover has been more than twice the rate of the organization’s retirement communities.

“We monitored this trend and anticipated the need by increasing our recruiting efforts, streamlining operations, bolstering training and adjusting co-worker benefit packages. None of these actions had the sustainable impact we expected and required,” says Leader. “The success of home-based services is driven by positive relationships built over time by dedicated, trusted co-workers. Turnover affects client care. Period.”

Country Meadows At Home will continue to offer services to residents of Country Meadows Retirement Communities in Central Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley who desire additional assistance to remain living in their current care level.

“Going forward we will continue to focus our caregiving and administrative resources on residents of Country Meadows Retirement Communities when they desire supplemental assistance while in transition or following surgery or an extended illness. During transition to the revised model, we will work with our clients to find alternative services from reputable, licensed home-care agencies,” says Leader.

This service change affects 94 clients in the Pittsburgh area; 66 in Lehigh Valley; 63 in York; and 104 in Harrisburg, Hershey, Mechanicsburg and Lancaster. Country Meadows will continue to provide care for these clients through the respective dates and in the meantime work with clients to find alternative services provided by reputable, licensed home care agencies.

Country Meadows At Home will retain many co-workers to continue to serve clients in the organization’s communities or otherwise may transition into open positions at Country Meadows campuses. Co-workers will receive a list of open positions, meet individually with human resources staff members to discuss interests and needs, and may choose to work with Country Meadows. Home Care Associates not remaining with Country Meadows will be offered a full severance package. Others may decide to apply to work for another licensed provider of home care in the area. Country Meadows is assisting them in their transition. Country Meadows At Home employs full-, part-time and PRN co-workers.

Services remain unchanged at Country Meadows Retirement Communities and its non-profit Ecumenical Retirement Community in Harrisburg, Pa.