All Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS) team members — not just at Marjorie P. Lee (MPL) and at other ERS flagship communities — strive to ensure our residents feel like they're being cared for not only by expert professionals but by people who seem like family. We accomplish this goal by creating opportunities for residents and their loved ones to build close relationships with staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made this goal a bit more challenging. Hence, we’d virtually like to take this time to introduce you to Marjorie P. Lee’s new Health Services Administrator, Anthony Williams!
Anthony is no stranger to ERS. He has served the organization for nine years, serving residents within both ERS’s premier retirement communities and Affordable Living by ERS.
We recently sat down with Anthony to learn about his role at MPL and his experiences at our premier retirement community thus far.
Q: Will you describe your current role at Marjorie P. Lee?
Anthony: I’m the Health Services Administrator here, so, typically, I oversee and support our health services team. This includes things like nursing, social services, case management, life enrichment, chaplaincy, and administrative services.
Nowadays, my role also includes being the point person for everything Covid-related here at Marjorie P. Lee as well. With our leadership team, I look at strategies to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to those we serve and meet the various State and Federal regulatory requirements that have come into existence out of the pandemic.
Q: Now that vaccines are being rolled out, how do you see things changing in the community?
Anthony: It's wonderful that we've been slowly able to open up. As a licensed community, we are still bound by regulatory measures put in place to protect those we serve both by the State and Federal bodies that oversee communities such as ours. A couple of weeks ago, we were excited to welcome loved ones back in for in-room visits. After keeping our doors closed for over a year, it’s been amazing to welcome folks back inside. Just seeing those we serve reconnect with family and friends and get a hug from their loved ones has been a great experience.
Q: You previously worked with Affordable Living by ERS and at our sister campus, Deupree House. You also completed an Administrator in Training internship at Marjorie P. Lee. Can you tell us a bit about all of these roles? What lessons did you learn that will be useful in your role as the Administrator of Health Services for Marjorie P. Lee?
Anthony: Yes, I did my internship about nine years ago. The entire ERS Servant Leadership Team really showed me the ropes and provided great mentorship. The biggest thing from that role, though, was how much now-President and CEO Laura Lamb and the rest of the team really instilled in me the value of developing relationships with residents.
After that, I worked at Affordable Living by ERS for about four years as the Director of Resident Health Services. We had about 1,700 residents at the time, and it was enlightening to see how every community embodies the ERS culture in a slightly different way. We all follow the ERS core values, but every community still has its own unique spirit.
Then, I moved to the Deupree House and Cottages as the Health Services Administrator. The Health Services Administrator role at Deupree is similar but different than at Marjorie P. Lee. How the campus is designed, we had a smaller team that wore multiple hats. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to get to know those we serve and be engaged with them in every step of the process, from touring our community, to move-in, to day to day life. Marjorie P. Lee has a similar culture and way of serving, but with it’s greater size we have a larger team here to support the needs and desires of those who call our community home whether long or short term.
Q: I know you mentioned that your role is a little different right now due to COVID-19, but what are you looking forward to the most in your new position at Marjorie P. Lee?
Anthony: It goes back to relationships. I’m looking forward to spending more time with those we serve and really getting to know each individual.
Like I said earlier, relationships are an integral part of how we function as an organization. We develop relationships with those we serve. So meeting the residents, learning their interests — it makes coming to work every day not just like a job. It feels like I'm coming to visit family.
So that's probably the one thing I'm really looking forward to. Getting out of the office a little more post-COVID-19, being able to open our doors, getting to know our residents, their families and everyone we serve here at Marjorie P. Lee.
Q: That leads well into my next question. What first inspired you to pursue a career in eldercare? How did you get on this career path?
Anthony: I was raised by my great grandparents, and I just felt a natural inclination to take this career path. I also knew I wanted to pursue something business-related. So this seemed like the perfect role for me.
That’s why I decided to pursue this career in college. I'm probably one of the few administrators out there who actually went to school with this career trajectory in mind.
Q: Marjorie P. Lee is known for delivering quality care to its residents. What does “quality care” mean to you? How would you define the phrase?
Anthony: I think there are multiple facets to what quality care looks like. There are your obvious metrics. Are we meeting their needs? Is their health maintained or, even better, improving?
There’s another facet too, which is: what that person’s goals are. It all goes back to the ERS’s person-centered approach. We’re constantly asking ourselves, ‘how do we meet this resident where they are and help them achieve the goals they want to meet?’ In my mind, that's quality care beyond looking at the metrics.
Q: Speaking of person-centered care, how important is the staff in Marjorie P. Lee’s mission to deliver high-quality, person-centered care?
Anthony: Everyone on the ERS team plays a role in delivering high-quality, person-centered care to those we serve. We expect each member of our team to serve our residents with ERS’s core values, mission, and ways of working in mind.
Q: What advice would you give to families who are exploring their senior living options? What features or characteristics should they look for in a community to ensure their loved one receives a high quality of care?
Anthony: I'd say do your research. There are a ton of resources out there. For example, there are family and resident satisfaction scores published routinely here in Ohio by Scripps Gerontology Center. The Center’s for Medicare and Medicaid Services also publishes information on quality measures and other key data on their Nursing Home Compare website.
Having said that, there's also no substitute for visiting different retirement communities, whether virtually during this time of COVID-19 or in person. Talking with the staff and getting to know those who would be serving your loved ones is critical when choosing a community.
Q: Marjorie P. Lee offers several different levels of eldercare. Can you tell us more about memory care, specifically? What kind of resources does the community offer?
Anthony: The thing that stands out to me is the Center for Memory Support and Inclusion. The Director, Shannon Braun, has given the whole community the tools and knowledge needed to look at things in a new way.
I’ve been in this field for a decade, and feel like I know how to support our memory care residents well. But any time I feel like we’ve exhausted all of our options, Shannon will come along and say, ‘I appreciate you’ve done X and Y, but have you tried doing Z?’ And I always have to pause and think, ‘oh, no we haven't!’ She provides great insights that help us better serve our memory support residents.
Q: What do you like most about your career with Episcopal Retirement Services?
Anthony: Obviously, the relationships with those we serve. But looking more broadly, I go back to ERS’s Mission, Values, and Ways of Working. The framework developed by these items makes ERS an amazing place to work. It’s no surprise that we’ve been named a Top Workplace here in Cincinnati for 12 years running.
If you have more questions about health services or memory care at Marjorie P. Lee, fill out an information request form here. If you’re a dedicated individual who is passionate about serving older adults, you can also click here to browse our open job opportunities and join the Marjorie P. Lee team.