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Company Reports - Tealwood Care Centers, Inc  


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Tealwood Care Centers, Inc

Tealwood Care Centers Offers Holistic Compassionate Care

Katie Wegner

Howie Groff of Tealwood Care Centers, explains how Tealwood's principles of Respect, Recognize, and Respond create a comprehensive service model for residents
Tealwood Care Centers Offers Holistic Compassionate Care

Tealwood Care Centers Inc was the result of three former elder care industry workers , Howard Groff, Steve Harl and Gail Sheridan, who desired to provide holistic care and flexible living choices to nursing homes and assisted living residents. The company started by leasing five nursing facilities and has since grown to become a robust company that has developed over 16 assisted living facilities in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and Nebraska. Tealwood has also expanded its focus to include contracting its management services as well as developing senior housing. The company has also developed a unique campus of elderly living facilities that positioned better-functioning nursing homes next to assisted living facilities.


“What we’ve found is that this type of campus really made sense from a continuous care viewpoint as it provided adaptable options for the changing needs of residents,” explains Howard Groff, president of Tealwood Care Centers, Inc. .

Additionally, Tealwood is a part of several significant partnerships with Leonard Louis Healthcare Partners, The Waters Senior Living, Trident Development and D.W. Jones. Working with these companies, Tealwood manages nursing homes and facilities as well as develops elder care residences.



Because the Journey Matters

Tealwood’s mission is to enrich the lives of its residents by providing compassion, respect, dignity, and choice. The company’s tagline “because the journey matters” sums up its strategy of nurturing care for residents throughout their time at facilities.  All of the services offered are geared towards promoting wellness, dignity and individuality for each resident. Tealwood uses a comprehensive six-part model of wellness that includes the physical, social, emotional, intellectual, spiritual and vocational aspects of a person and provides programs that target each part. These programs include on-site clergy as well as interactive technology and art programs in its facilities.


“We developed our wellness program three years ago because we wanted to provide our residents with holistic care while also helping them to maintain their independence as long as possible,” explains Groff.


The company also uses a three pronged set of principles called the three R’s that provide a framework for its service-based culture. These three R’s are Tealwood’s commitment to Respect, Recognize, and Respond to both its residents and employees.


“These principles of ‘respect, recognize, and respond’ transcend the customer service aspect of our company as it applies to our attitudes towards our residents, their family members, our staff, and our leadership as we strive to enrich the lives of those that we serve,” explains Groff.


Service Begets Service

Tealwood believes that service begets service; a belief that instigates the company to provide support and professional development to its team of frontline caregivers and staff. From day one, employees are trained in the Tealwood culture of respect and compassion while also being mentored by senior staff to help iron out potential problems.


Tealwood also offers a number of professional development opportunities through a student loan reimbursement program and by offering one-time tuition grants to employees via a golf tournament fundraiser. This student loan reimbursement program works by having the employee take out the student loan, receive their education, and then Tealwood pays off the loan while the employee continues to work for the company.


 “We have found that this student loan reimbursement provides much more value in keeping people around while also enhancing their careers,” explains Groff.

 A golf tournament fundraiser was started about six years ago on behalf of Senior Care Communities, a not for profit corporation for whom Tealwood manages four campuses through a joint venture with The Waters Senior Living.

The proceeds raised are given as tuition grants to certain employees seeking professional development and education.


This desire for consistent industry development also flows to the top tier of management; Howard Groff, Steve Harl and Gail Sheridan have all become involved in the State and National trade association by serving as Board Members of the State Affiliates and on numerous strategic committees at both levels. Gail Sheridan is currently the Chair of Care Providers of Minnesota and Howie Groff is past Chair of the National Center for Assisted Living.



A Culture of Ownership

Tealwood employs a bottom-to-top management style that values the opinions of its 3,000 caregivers and employees. This stems from the long-term industry experience of its founders who recognize the importance of considering the concerns of front-line staff.


 “I am very committed to having those front-line care-givers involved in developing the mission of the organization. Our employees have a great deal of ownership and say in developing the attributes and traits that we want as a company,” explains Groff.


This is enabled by the Advisory Committee, which is made up of secondary staff and executive directors from across the company that meet to discuss the vision of the company and how to apply that vision to the daily practices of the company. These executive directors are often former social workers or frontline caregivers that have stepped up to become a part of the executive leadership of the company. Tealwood promotes from within its staff as much as possible.


Assuring Quality Care

Tealwood is constantly involved in conducting quality assurance checks through the use of root cause analysis as well as the input of consultants. During the past four years, the company has been involved in examining problems with root cause analysis to effectively and efficiently solve problems “at the source.”


In both its nursing homes as well as assisted living facilities, Tealwood has implemented a number of electronic medical record technologies that capture and record daily medical data. Point of Care is an electronic documentation system for nurses that utilizes kiosks throughout nursing home facilities. This gives caregivers convenient access to electronic recording for the services and medical condition of the residents they serve. In the assisted living facilities, caregivers carry a handheld device that enables them to input information between residents. This enables Tealwood to track the ongoing medical history of residents, provides quality assurance of the care being given, and maintains an exhaustive record of all services rendered for each resident.


Tealwoods commitment to consistent quality care has been recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, who have chosen one of the company’s facilities to be a part of its new pilot assessment program called QAPI.  


“We are very excited to see what the focus of those programs will be and to hopefully replicate those programs at our other facilities,” says Groff.


Expanding Spheres of CareTealwood has recently received a grant from the state of Minnesota that provides funds to implement an electronic protocol to assess residents prior to sending them to the hospital.  The goal of this funding is to reduce the number of re-hospitalizations and provide cost-savings.



“What we want to do is work with those hospitals to say look, we have these protocols set up so that if you send those patients to us, then we will use our extensive experience and service to house them in our nursing homes and to our assisted livings if they require that additional care. This way, hospitals can reduce re-hospitalizations and penalizations from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid,” explains Groff.


An additional program that Teawlood is piloting brings physicians and certified home health agencies into the nursing homes and assisted living facilities to provide medical care. This type of service provides greater convenience and continuity of care to residents and is expected to be a very successful addition to the company, according to Groff.


Tealwood is also planning on expanding its presence in the assisted living arena as it wants to continue to offer residents holistic compassionate care that accommodate individual needs.


“We think the assisted living model is far superior to most others out there from a congregate care standpoint. We plan on expanding our reach to more facilities that continue to offer our unique offering of flexible comprehensive care,” explains Groff.


·         During the next year, Tealwood will be collaborating with its development partners Leonard Louis Healthcare Partners, The Waters Senior Living, Trident Development and D.W. Jones todevelop two more facilities and build six more buildings in 2013.Through this expansion process, Tealwood plans to continue its legacy of holistic compassionate care.

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