It’s no surprise that a place like Siemon’s Heritage Personal Care Center won a 2019 PHCA Excellence in Quality Award with dedicated individuals like Lisa Sivec, Amy Scogna, and Beth Raley behind the scenes.
“We roll out the red carpet here for residents, and if you’re not interested in that, then I’m not interested in you,” Executive Director Lisa Sivec said of interviewing prospective employees. She, as well as the entire Siemon’s Heritage team, have high standards for their staff in order to best serve patients.
Her words may seem blunt, but Sivec lives by Consulate’s core values—honesty not the least of them. She suggests that one be “transparent in all you do.”
Sivec is also a big proponent of compassion. She explained that since Siemon’s Heritage is a personal care center, they do a fair amount of hospice care as well. As one may expect, compassion plays an important role in this level of care and transition in a patient’s (and their family’s) lives. She said that Siemon’s Heritage strives to give them a peaceful, comforting care experience as free from pain as possible, and to “be with them and family members until the end.”
Sivec’s mother and father-in-law lived at Siemon’s Heritage for two and a half years. They eventually passed on while in hospice care, and Sivec said that despite the obvious grief, she felt grateful for the chance to be with them throughout that time and those transitions, and for all the compassion she said everyone at Siemon’s Heritage showed them. She described the experience was “hard, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.”
In addition to Consulate’s five core values, Sivec displays a clear sense of humility. After we congratulated her on her care center’s PHCA Excellence in Quality Award—no small feat—she quickly credited her staff, including two members in particular: medtechs and residential assistants Amy Scogna and Bethany Raley. She said they were the ones who suggested switching to twelve-hour shifts, which became a major component of Siemon’s Heritage’s recent success and recognition.
Sivec advises fellow executive directors and leaders of all kinds to “always be open to your employees’ input. Use the information, feedback, and ideas they give you.”
It clearly paid off! In addition to listening to one’s employees, it certainly helps if those employees are skilled and passionate about the work they do, like Amy and Beth.
Amy Scogna and Beth Raley had a refreshing rapport with each other throughout their interview—maybe not unusual for two people who have worked together at Siemon’s Heritage for the past five years, through the good times and the difficult, alongside temporary residents staying to regain strength and return home, as well as residents there for the long haul, from long-term care to eventually hospice.
They spoke of their own plans for the future at Siemon’s Heritage, but in different roles. “I love it here. We’re going to live at Heritage. We’ll be roommates,” Raley joked.
Listening to Amy and Beth speak about their experiences at the center, the core values “passion” and “compassion” come to mind most prominently.
Scogna explained that there are “so many stories, so many residents,” both past and present, who leave an impact on the staff, and how, to her, “they all have a special place in your heart.” She said the residents inspire her daily with their spirit and, “courage to get out and keep going,” even if they don’t have any family nearby, or when they don’t feel well or quite like themselves. “Everyday there’s someone new who inspires you, who holds a special place in your heart.”
Both Scogna and Raley agreed that through everything, in the pain and difficult behaviors that residents sometimes exhibit, that figuring out the steps to put them at ease and improve their lives is “so rewarding,” even a “welcome challenge.”
“Sometimes they won’t verbalize [what’s bothering them] and we have to be their voice. That’s the part I like the most. . . We try to keep them going,” said Amy. Each day they strive to keep it “upbeat, lively” for residents, Raley said, but sometimes amid the struggle, they set aside a moment to give themselves an “attitude adjustment,” because “a positive attitude affects patients,” said Amy. However, ultimately it’s a matter of being what residents’ need, whenever they need it, at the time. Even if that occasionally means a shoulder to cry on.
Luckily, Scogna, Sivec, and Raley all agree that keeping residents happy and healthy is a matter of teamwork—one of Siemon’s Heritage Personal Care Center’s strong suits.
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