Growing up the child of a nursing home owner and operator, Nancy Brody Kleinberg spent summers working at Park Pleasant, an inner city nursing and rehab facility, primarily organizing activities for the residents. But when it was time to consider a career she resisted joining the family business, instead becoming a teacher in the Philadelphia school system.
Eventually she tired of teaching and that’s when her father, Edward Brody, enticed her to return to Park Pleasant, “just for a year as activities director until I figured out what I wanted to do,” Kleinberg recalls.
The rest is history, as they say. Kleinberg worked her way up to administrator and eventually inherited the business from her father, who died five years ago. “He worked every day until he had an acute episode. He died here as a resident,” Kleinberg says.
Introducing our Leaders of Tomorrow awards
Long-Term Living is proud to introduce a new annual awards program: Leaders of Tomorrow. The five rising leaders featured daily this week were nominated and chosen by Long-Term Living’s esteemed editorial advisory board. Read more about the awards program here.
Monday: Addie Abushousheh, executive director, Association of Households International (AHHI)
Tuesday: Govind Bharwani, PhD, director of nursing ergonomics and Alzheimer's care, Nursing Institute of West Central Ohio, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio , , , , Dad, Dayton, Day, D, d Days
Wednesday: Nancy Brody Kleinberg, CEO and administrator, Park Pleasant Nursing and Rehab Center, Philadelphia
Thursday: R. Gary Sibbald, BSc, MD, FRCPC (Med) (Derm), MEd, professor of public health and medicine, University of Toronto, Ontario.
Friday: James Taylor, President, Sodexo Senior Living, Gaithersburg, Md.
Kleinberg has witnessed dramatic changes in the industry—exponentially growing rules and regulations, higher resident acuities and competition from large chains that challenge a single operator.
And yet, “I find this job infinitely satisfying in every way. It’s interesting, creative and problem solving,” Kleinberg says. “It’s never the same day to day and you can make a real difference being engaged in [doing] something good.”
Making a difference for Kleinberg has included serving as an industry advocate at the local and state level. A member of the American Health Care Association and the Pennsylvania Health Care Association, Kleinberg has served on PHCA’s board and is currently a member of the Payment for Services Committee. In 2009 she was presented with the PHCA Distinguished Service Award.
William Day, president, St. Barnabas Health System, Gibsonia, Pa., and Kleinberg’s nominator, praises her dedication to promoting a positive image of nursing homes. “Nancy constantly works to assure fair payment for the frailest seniors who have a small voice but a great need,” Day says, in his written nomination. “Her five-star rated home demonstrates a very personal touch and a commitment to the highest quality of care.”
Although Kleinberg serves as the CEO and administrator, she is intimately involved with all departments. She personally interviews job applicants. An innovative hiring process that focuses on discerning compassion in job candidates has resulted in a greatly improved quality of care and workplace atmosphere while having a positive effect on recruitment and retention, Day says. “The current director of food services started at Park Pleasant as a dishwasher. [Kleinberg] mentors others and has already had five employees take the necessary courses to become administrators.”
Looking ahead, Kleinberg plans to continue to be a voice for her residents and the industry she cares for so passionately. She often fields questions from the media, speaks to legislators and writes letters to newspaper editors in an effort to “try to explain the issues as best I can—a grassroots campaigning,” Kleinberg says. “I love advocating but my favorite thing is to try to show nursing homes in a positive light and get rid of the stigma. [A nursing home] is not your last choice; it’s often the best choice for a family and resident.”