The Ontario Long-Term Care Association presented the Village at University Gates with the Resident-Centred Home of the Year Award at the gala event during the association’s annual This is Long-Term Care conference Nov. 29.
To simply be nominated for the award was an honour in itself, says general manager Chris-Anne Preston, so she was naturally thrilled to hear the village’s name called that night. She says the core philosophy that guides Schlegel Villages as an organization inspires the entire team to do whatever is possible to put residents’ needs and desires above all other concerns.
“Ron Schlegel's visionary leadership has really inspired our team and I to do our best every day,” Chris-Anne says. “We're constantly learning from each other and growing together, and there’s a true sense of community and caring for each other in the Village.”
Resident Sandra Gothard lived in several other support homes before moving to University Gates, and she says the award is well deserved. “The way this home provides for people is looking at people as a whole,” Sandra says as she reflects on news of the OLTCA recognition. “They ask if there is some way they can make things better.”
Sandra has had worrisome events in her life since moving to the village and times of great joy as well, and during it all the team has consistently sought ways to put her needs first. “With my daughter’s cancer, this whole place has hugged me and supported me,” she says, and “everybody came together to help me get ready for my daughter’s wedding.
“I really appreciate what this place does and I feel safe here."
For Sandra, this is what person-centredness looks like and Chris-Anne says each team member looks to her and every one of her fellow residents to guide them as they strive to be the best that they can be. “The residents are the reason we are here at University Gates,” Chris-Anne says. “This award is an acknowledgment that we're on the right track and for me it's a reminder to continue to look to the residents as our compass.”
Of course, it isn’t just University Gates feeling the pride of acknowledgement. Every village has put an immense amount of effort into a shift in approach to put living first for every person that calls a Schlegel Village home, and the organization as a whole is smiling at this success.
“I think what inspires me about University Gates is how they have cultivated a community where residents live their lives with purpose and have continuous opportunities to pursue new passions or revisit old ones,” says Christy Parsons, vice president of support office services with Schlegel Villages. “The team works hard at developing authentic relationships that are deeply rooted in our values as an organization.”
Perhaps resident Pat Smola sums University Gates up best when she says: "it's the cleanliness and the friendliness that make this place so great.
“And the staff is just wonderful."