The Mission Hill/Jamaica Plain area is home to a number of senior care programs and buildings that offer seniors a way to live happier, healthier lives.
The Gazette caught up with Patrick Stapleton, CEO of Sherrill House, to learn about programming at the facility as well as about any updates he had to share.
Stapleton said that Sherrill House, which is a non-profit organization, offers four different types of care for seniors, ranging from short term to long term care. The facility is located at 135 S. Huntington Ave.
The first, he said is “short term care,” which involves orthopedic and cardiac care, post surgery care, or care following a hospital stay. He said this is the care that is provided to the largest number of people each year—between 700 and 800—and provides them with “strength, confidence,” and allows them to “move recovery along quicker.”
He said that the “wholeM MO” of the short term care program is to have people leave the facility after a number of days “stronger and more confident in your ability to recover alone.”
Sherrill House also offers the “traditional long-care nursing home,” and has about 100 beds on two floors for this kind of care, Stapleton said. He said that residents stay anywhere from two years to up to ten, though it doesn’t happen often that they stay for that long.
“Home care has gotten a lot better,” Stapleton said., but “long term care is always going to be a need.”
He continued, “we’re here to serve Boston residents. Sometimes people need quality care close to home.”
Alzheimer’s care is also a specialty at Sherrill House. In 1986, it opened a “secure unit to allow our Alzheimer’s patients to walk around freely” without worrying about going into traffic or other concerns. “We made that program a little bit better every year,” Stapleton said.
He said this is an “acute unit,” for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s and needs help with all tasks, including basic things like taking medicine.
“We have an environment here that we can get outside and be safe,” including a wandering garden and events for residents.
“We’ve got residents that don’t know their families,” he said, but can remember the lyrics to a song they enjoyed as a young person. “If you provide situational opportunities, those memories come back,” he said, so having events with music or grilling food can help evoke memories in these patients.
Hospice care is also something that Sherrill House has worked on for years, but just started its own a month ago, called Longwood Hospice, that they hope to “roll out in every nursing home in the City of Boston.” Stepleton said.
“This hospice was founded and operated by nursing home people. We know what a good hospice is in a facility…we cannot wait to earn the business of the rest of the City of Boston.”
Stapleton also said the pandemic took a toll on the facility, and taught them a lot about how to move forward.
“Now we’re confident that we know what we’re doing,” he said. “We have a fantastic mayor who took this very seriously,” and praised Governor Baker as well.
“Everybody thinks this is over,” he said of the pandemic. “It is far from over at 135 S. Huntington Ave. Masks are going to be in the lexicon of my PPE forever.”
He said that while face masks will require additional costs, “we don’t mess around here,” adding that “every single person in the building” is still tested every other day, and masks and proof of vaccination continue to be required, despite any lifting of those restrictions in other sectors.
Visitors are allowed to come into the building 24/7, but they must attest to not having symptoms of COVID-19 per federal and state guidelines, which Sherrill House abides by.
“We don’t make any of those rules,” Stapleton said of the visitor policy. “We don’t rally against those decisions. We don’t do anything but applaud those decisions.”
Right now, Stapleton said that he and the rest of Sherrill House are “very focused on the future,” though there is still “a lot of trepidation and a lot of concern” surrounding the pandemic. “We try to be very good to Boston’s elders. We’re grateful for where we are right now, and grateful for where we’re headed.”
Ada, Fumia, Director of IT for Sherrill House, added that he believes that “we’re a better, more capable, more prepared organization right now.”
For more information about Sherrill House, visit sherrillhouse.org.