The Teams Keeping Athena-Managed Centers Clean
Environmental Services and Housekeeping Week from September 10th through the 16th recognizes the important role these staff members play in keeping the homes of thousands safe and sanitary. Whether cleaning resident rooms or commons areas, the housekeeping teams at Athena-managed centers across Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island work day and night to ensure a clean living environment for their residents.
Each nursing home managed by Athena Health Care Systems has a team of people cleaning and disinfecting the building and washing and folding clothes for their residents. The teams not only want to create an environment they would want to live in but also a setting that is safe.
John McKenzie at Countryside Manor of Bristol in Connecticut said it’s not about him, it’s about those he works for… the residents. The Director of Housekeeping and Laundry has been at the center for 13 years. He was with Abbott Terrace Health Center in Waterbury, Connecticut prior. He’s stayed for so long because he said the centers are like family to him and has built connections with residents and their loved ones that he isn’t ready to leave.
“Our role is more than just a housekeeper or laundry, we are their extended family, and we feel that connection and commitment to go out there and go above and beyond what we’re asked to do because we care,” he said.
McKenzie wants his team to know they have his support. The same goes for Oakland Grove Health Care Center in Woonsocket, Rhode Island where Brenda Camacho and Beth Green work with a “very good team.” Green has been the director for a year but has been at the center for a total of three. Camacho, whose daughter is a Certified Nursing Assistant at the center, joined earlier this year. Their mission is to create a safe environment for residents to live in.
“When people come here, it presents that we have a clean building. That’s very important,” Green said. “You got to make sure the residents are safe, all kinds of things can go wrong if this building is not clean.”
Cleanliness not only presents well but it keeps residents and staff well. The pandemic showcased the need for proper cleaning to prevent the spread of germs, something McKenzie stresses the importance of.
“I take pride in knowing that when people walk through the building, they know that we’re doing what we need to do to keep it clean and safe,” he said.
Ebelis Perez at Berkshire Rehabilitation & Skilled Care Center in Sandisfield, Massachusetts encourages her staff to imagine themselves in the shoes of their residents. As the supervisor of the laundry and housekeeping departments, she wants residents to be in a space that is up to the standards they expect. She’ll often get families thanking her for the cleanliness of the center.
“When I’m cleaning their room and they say, ‘Thank you so much for cleaning my room’ I see their smile, I enjoy that,” Perez said. “When we come to work here, this is the house of the residents.”
The housekeeping and laundry department goes above and beyond because of the care they have for their residents and the place they call home.