8028 Hamilton Ave | Cincinnati, Ohio 45231
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A Recipe for a Culture of Care



Front Row:  Annita Bryant - Manager
Middle Row:  Minnie Price, Africa Pryor, Holly Frankenstein, Tailor Adams, Marie Shannon, Shannon Wilson, Val Shepherd
3rd row:  Bob Speelman, Barbara Bates

August 1, 2019
NOTE: This story was taken from the blog of Foundations Health leader Bob Speelman. Each week Bob works at one of his facilities in different roles such as housekeeping, or as a nursing assistant, to bring A Culture of Care.

I had the opportunity to go to The Home at Hearthstone, our 96-bed facility in Cincinnati, Ohio. Val Shepherd is the administrator there and she has assembled the most wonderful team. From the moment you walk in the doors, you feel welcomed and that you're part of a loving family. One of those amazing team members was the reason I was there that day: Annita Bryant.

Annita was the winner of our companies first annual "Last Tray Standing" dietary competition. All 56 of our facilities competed in a cooking competition where they had to prepare something from our menu that they served our residents. The competitions were regional across the state with the winners from all six regions coming to the OHCA Spring Convention in Columbus to compete for the finals. Annita and her team from Hearthstone took home the grand prize.

After that, I wanted to get to Hearthstone, work with Annita and her team, and see what made their team so special. I wasn't disappointed! The day I arrived was one of the days that they were doing a resident and staff cookout. They were grilling chicken, had macaroni salad, baked beans, macaroni-and-cheese. The dining room was packed, the residents and staff alike were in a great mood, and it honestly felt like a big family reunion.

I told Annita that this was so heartwarming to see the happiness that food brings to people lives and to the lives of our residents. Annita said to me that a family member told her, "I don't want to end up in a nursing home, but if I do, I want it to be here! The food is so good!"

Annita and her team do a resident choice meal twice a month. They recently did steak, baked potato, and a salad. She said the residents are still talking about that!

I asked Annita where her passion for cooking came from and she told me her mom and grandma. Annita said to me that she learned from them that "When you cook with love, the love comes out in the food." I love that! That's the secret ingredient Annita and her team use in every meal - that's why they won the competition.

Annita and her team kept their kitchen spotless. In fact, the City of Cincinnati took note of that on their last health inspection and Annita and her team won the Cleanest Kitchen in Cincinnati Award. This is an extremely prestigious award and very hard to win. When you take pride in what you do and love what you do, it gets noticed.

Annita told me that this past winter they had a terrible snowstorm and several of her team couldn't get in. The STNA's, nurses, and other staff told her not to worry, "We got this." They jumped in, helped her, they got everything out, and the residents loved it.
At our "Last Tray Standing" competition, I noticed the incredible bond between Annita and her mentor DeAngelo, the dietary director at our Salem Woods facility in Cincinnati. Annita beat DeAngelo in the regional competition and DeAngelo was there at the finals helping her at the finals. I told Annita that said a lot to me about him and their relationship. Annita went on to praise DeAngelo for his mentoring and how he helped prepare her to be a director one day.

It's a beautiful thing when your confident enough in yourself and what you do that you want to help others better themselves and move up and make a difference. DeAngelo, the investment you made in Annita is paying dividends and your mentoring hasn't gone unnoticed.

I love our Culture of Care and I love the team at Hearthstone that puts love into everything they do and everything they serve. Keep making a difference!!!

Bob Speelman, STNA

Bob's Blog

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