Thanking staff throughout the year

A staff picnic at Garden Spot Village.

Being recognized for a job well done is a keystone of maintaining a cooperative and cohesive staff. Morale and job satisfaction build a facility’s reputation, reduces turnover and, most importantly, creates a pleasant welcoming environment for residents.

Everyone who works at Garden Spot Village, a Mennonite nonprofit retirement community in New Holland, Pa., is valued and respected as individuals and for their contributions to resident quality of life, says Director of Human Resources Bryan Groff. And the organization’s leadership lets them know that at monthly events designed to celebrate its employees.

“It is important to live out and demonstrate our core values on a regular basis,” Groff says. All employees are included in the events—including evening and night shift staff—with creative event planning and scheduling. When a summer picnic was held for the day employees, administration returned during 10 p.m. to midnight to also cook for the staff on the later shifts. “It’s not often that you get to operate the grill at midnight, so it is a fun change of pace for everyone,” says Groff.

Last fall, each employee received a pumpkin pie from an Amish baker at Thanksgiving and a special beef tenderloin dinner was served at Christmas, along with a variety of door prizes.

But that was last year.

On September 16, staff members feasted on early morning made-to-order omelets whipped up by the facility’s executive team, including CEO Steve Lindsey. Served at 6:30 a.m., all shifts could enjoy this hearty fare. Not only were there freshly made omelets, but bacon, Belgium waffles, fresh fruit and more were on hand to tickle the palate.

After breakfast, staff received vouchers for free soccer ball-sized pumpkins or half-off larger ones at Summerset Farm, Garden Spot Villages’ primary produce supplier. “We met with Philip Weaver [of Summerset Farm] prior to his spring planting so he could tailor some of his crops to meet our residents’ needs,” says Emily Enright, general manager of dining services. A whole pumpkin patch was earmarked for Garden Spot Village and its skilled nursing campus, Maple Farm in Akron, Pa. Any unclaimed pumpkins now decorate the Garden Spot Village and Maple Farm campuses.

Residents and prospective residents often comment on the friendly and energetic environment. Groff sums it up: “We know it is the result of the people we have working here and want to appreciate them for all they do.”


AMDA Quality Improvement & Health Outcomes Awards

For the past 10 years, the AMDA Foundation has recognized achievement in quality improvement. This year AMDA is presenting its first three awards to honor innovative programs that have improved resident care and quality of life at the event LTC Medicine–2012, March 8-12, in San Antonio.

According to a release from the AMDA Foundation, programs to be considered for an award must be generated and funded by the nursing home. There must be measurable outcomes and objectives. The programs should be able to be replicated by other nursing homes.

Initiatives on patient-centered care, intergenerational activities and improved palliative care programs are a few of the types of programs for consideration.

For more information and an application, visit This award is open to all nursing homes. NOTE: The applications must be received by November 21, 2011. Winners will be notified by January 15, 2012. Share your “Good Stuff.” Send information on your achievements, outstanding personnel, inspirational residents, and more to Executive Editor Sandra Hoban at

Topics: Facility management , Leadership , Staffing