Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

January 29, 2013

Golden Age Skilled Nursing and Rehab owner and social services director addresses the community

Daily Iowegian

CENTERVILLE — Dear Editor,

To our residents, our families, our friends, our employees and our community we the care givers of Golden Age Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Centerville, Iowa will not stand by while one opinion becomes the voice of multitudes, through mass media of misinformed, extremely biased, and completely out of context statements which are being purged into the community and beyond.

While there will be many who will read articles printed, listen to comments made and draw conclusions without ever walking through the threshold of a nursing facility of any manner. We would like to welcome you to enter our world for only a moment. Our world is a large home where business managers handle your finances, social workers validate your existence, activity directors meet your request, nurses take care of your medical needs, certified nursing assistants care for your daily cares, dietary prepares meals, housekeeping and laundry care for your home and personal items and maintenance keeps our home running.

Now while all of that is being done do you the readers have any idea of how many frowns are turned to smiles, broken hearts are filled with joy, tears are dried? Do you know how many times we try to find answers to the questions of why am I here, where is my family, why don't my children ever visit me and why did this happen to me? Do you have any idea how many hugs, cuddles and laughs we share every single day?

Anyone who has worked in a nursing facility, assisted living or group home, you know us! You know why we do what we do every day! You know the satisfaction we get for all the long hours we put in! You know that there will be days when our hearts will be filled with joy and moments when every caring touch will bring us to our inner core and tears will over power us! We don't just care for our residents! They become our family! How dare anyone assume that a life lost while under our care was not an issue! Shame on you!

The statement supposedly made by our owner's wife, Patricia Birchem, was completely taken out of context! To Clark Kauffman you should be commended for the amazing job of keeping alive half truths and feeding upon the negative gravitation of the universe.

Out of respect to our residents both present and past, our families and our employees, we shall take not the high road but the right road. Let us state that the 64-year-old woman whom passed away while in our care had far more health issues than has ever been clarified through the media. That is only important to those of us here in our facility. Obviously, her two daughters whom were employed by our facility at the time also are aware of that. Interesting fact, why would they continue employment with a company that attributed to their mother's death? We are human, mistakes happen, but to say we do not feel the loss of a life, could not be further from the facts! We put our hearts into our interviews when someone seeks employment in our facility. Because, yes, we all take the hit when one wrong decision is made. That said, when you attack us as caregivers, you attack the families who have chosen to be a part of our home. You don't have that right!

To the family of the 91-year-old woman who passed away from pneumonia. There was never any founded malice by our staff. Reflecting back Paula Stafford, the residents' daughter, couldn't thank our staff enough at the graveside service for her mother.

In addressing the 89-year-old lady who recently passed away, she was dearly loved by our staff. This was her home before she ever came to live here. There is far more to the story of her passing. It is safe to say that she did not leave this world uncared for. Her wishes were heard and provided for. We as a facility family know we provided the best of cares.

Our world is made up of people who have reached the, "Winter Season of their Lives." For those of you who like to throw stones ...... we invite you to read the actual facts. Investigate the actual fines. There will never be a dollar amount attached to the loss of a life by those of us that put our hearts and our careers on the line everyday for our residents. We work for a company we believe in. We are an administrative staff that believes we can make a difference.

Stan Birchem

Owner, Administrator

Deb Moore

Social Service Director

Jan. 23