Quality care comes from working at it
BY MICHAEL OVERALL World Staff Writer
Sunday, February 21, 2010
5/21/12 at 6:48 AM
In a beauty parlor a short walk down the hall from her own private apartment, Daphne Loyd relaxes under a hair dryer while having her nails painted.
"Oh, yes," she speaks up to be heard over the din, "they take very good care of us around here. Very good."
Loyd will linger so long in the beauty parlor that she'll miss an impromptu concert in the newly remodeled sun room, where one resident takes out a guitar to entertain his neighbors with "He Touched Me" and "The Old Rugged Cross."
"Where's Daphne?" somebody wants to know. "She would love this."
Tucked into a quiet Tulsa neighborhood near 21st Street and Memorial Drive, the Heatheridge Residential Care Center can boast one of the cleanest inspection records in the state for residential care homes, according to a review of data by the Tulsa World.
"We're not perfect," admits Diane Hambric, president of Gold Medallion, the local company that owns Heatheridge and four similar facilities.
"But nobody's perfect. That's why we work so hard on quality control, to correct problems as soon as we find them."
Like all Gold Medallion facilities, Heatheridge's dining room includes a framed photo of Hambric's late father, who started the company in 1963.
"My father always believed in reinvesting in the company," she says. "We're constantly putting money back into our facilities, remodeling and updating them. And we're constantly reinvesting in our staff to train and re-train everybody.
"That makes all the difference."
With 60 apartments, each with a private bath, the residential care facility sits next door to a nearly identical assisted-living center.
In both, residents generally have to be at least 55 years old, with some physical impairments while remaining mentally sound.
"The difference between someone in residential care and someone in assisted living is that someone in residential care can do this," Hambric explains while standing up and then sitting down again in her office chair.
"In assisted living, you would probably need help to do that."
The difference also involves bureaucratic technicalities.
If Heatheridge had separate heating and air units for each apartment, instead of units sharing ventilation, it would likely qualify for an assisted-living license, bringing with it less severe inspections, Hambric says.
"The licensing process hasn't been revisited for a long time," she says, noting that she sits on a commission that advises the governor on group-home and residential care issues. "It's probably time to bring the process into the 21st century."
Michael Overall 581-8383
Stylist Carol Ford gives a manicure to resident Daphne Loyd at Heatheridge Residential Care Center's private salon. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Taking advantage of the newly remodeled sun room, Burl Bedingfield, 93, plays the guitar for other residents at Heatheridge Residential Care Center. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World
Edna Husband, 79, relaxes in her one-room apartment at the Heatheridge Residential Care Center. Heatheridge has 60 similar apartments. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World