If you see Diana K. Woodhouse, the new CEO of Hospice of Jefferson County, youll notice the constant smile on her face.
Thats because, she said, she has gone back to her roots and is in her element.
I kind of grew up in the nursing home business, she said. Ive always been around older people. We kind of lose sight of the value of our elders; were so focused on the youth.
A registered nurse for 40 years, Mrs. Woodhouse said taking care of people will always be a part of her. While she misses many of the hands-on duties, she said she is happy as an administrator now, knowing she is still making a difference in peoples lives.
You cant do more meaningful work than to work with Hospice, she said.
Mrs. Woodhouse has been on the job for about three weeks. She said her hopes and goals as CEO are to expand Hospices ability to meet the communitys need, and to offer more outreach about Hospice programs and services.
One major hurdle is opening the eight-bed residence known as Hospice of Jefferson County at the Ellis Farm, 1398 Gotham St. Construction was completed last fall, but the agency has been waiting since then for a certificate of occupancy so it can begin admitting residents.
What were really doing is stepping back from the beginning of the process, and going through everything with a fine-tooth comb, Mrs. Woodhouse said. We have the menus, and the cook is working on recipes and all those detailed things. Were just waiting on the OK from the state Department of Health and were putting the supply and grocery lists together. When we get that OK, we want to be ready to go.
Department of Health spokesman Peter M. Constantakes said paperwork was submitted for final approval last week. Hospice needs to make a few technical corrections, he said, but other than that there are no major hurdles left.
It will be soon, Mr. Constantakes said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Woodhouse said that by the end of next week, the agency should have everything in place to open.
Wanda M. Way, a registered nurse and manager of the residence, said the staff of 14, which also includes 12 licensed practical nurses and a cook, is waiting for residents to come.
She said people have inquired, and Mrs. Woodhouse said Hospice has identified some people in its home care program who would qualify for residence.
Prior to joining the Hospice team, Mrs. Woodhouse worked with the Samaritan Health System for six years, first as vice president of nursing and chief nursing officer at Samaritan Medical Center. She also developed and implemented an 11-week certified nursing assistant program at Samaritan Keep Home.
She replaced former CEO Stephen P. Lyman, who resigned in February and left April 30 for family reasons.