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The Villages
Thursday, September 28, 2023

Meet Tim Smith, Director of Operations at Villages Rehab and Nursing Center

Tim Smith, Director of Operations
Tim Smith, Director of Operations

Tim Smith is the Director of Operations at Villages Rehab and Nursing Center. Tim began working at Villages Rehab in April of 2014 and shortly thereafter became a resident in The Villages, Florida. He is a fifth generation Floridian and grew up on his family’s farm west of Gainesville, in Dixie County, near the Suwannee River. Growing up on the farm, Tim learned a strong work ethic. “There was nothing that I was afraid to do on the farm. My parents instilled dedication and commitment as a part of who and what we did working.” This self belief has been a driving force for Tim for his career that has been about helping others succeed in life.

After leaving home for College in Mobile, Alabama on a music scholarship, Tim graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Religious Education. He worked for a time with inner city youth and older adults in Mobile. It was his work with the older adult population that led him to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work, concentrating his studies in gerontology in a dual Master’s program. Tim wrote his Master’s thesis on “Life Satisfaction in Retirement” using participants in Florida as his case study. “Of all the possibilities I consider that impacted life satisfaction in retirement, the one thing came forth as the most compelling in the study was to maintain a sense of purpose or a life purpose.” His passion for helping the elder led to his decision to become a nursing home administrator and a decision to return back to school and complete an Executive Master’s in Business Administration with a focus on Health Care Administration. Tim knew to have the most impactful outcomes he needed to be in a position to affect change. Tim completed his degree and became a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator. He served as the Health Care Administrator and later as Executive Director at a Continuing Care Retirement Community. During this time Tim became interested in what is widely known as “Person Centered Care”.

Over the years, Tim has developed a positive attitude toward life. He recalls times of transition and difficulties that life has brought his way. He says “I would not trade one second of my life for anything, neither the good nor the so called bad. It is unique to me and that unique path has helped me to become the person I am today.” His personal philosophy is “There are no mistakes only lessons. Sometimes we learn the lesson quickly and sometimes we repeat them until we do learn the lesson. Believe me I have repeated some lessons a few times.” It is this positive attitude that inspires Tim to help others. He seeks out opportunities that allow him to use his journey’s knowledge, skills, abilities and experience to encourage and support his fellow travelers. He is ready and willing to embrace life. This is evident in his relationships and work environment.

Villages Rehab is very compatible with Tim’s chosen career and his life path. Villages Rehab has been open for just over one year. It is a 120 bed community designed for rehab and some long term nursing care. Villages Rehab offers inpatient Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and Skilled Nursing Services. When asked what makes Villages Rehab unique he said, “Person Centered Care”. Person Centered Care is something that has grown in popularity and understanding in the past 10 plus years.  It is about changing the culture of long-term care and short-term rehabilitation communities.

Villages Rehab and Nursing Center is partners with both the Florida Pioneer Network and the National Pioneer Network. These organizations have worked to affect change in health care provision. At Village Rehab, you will find neighborhood settings that are warm and welcoming just like home. “Our building was designed with our residents in mind. We have four neighborhoods each are similar but each unique to the people that reside in them. Some people are here for a few days of rehab therapy or nursing to ensure a safe return home after a hospital stay and others may be here a few weeks for maximum gain to better than their prior level of function.”

Person centered care is evident in many ways on these neighborhoods, there is activity happening throughout them. Each neighborhood has both private and semi-private rooms that are impeccably designed and decorated with its own name, decorations, kitchens, and dining room and living areas. Even the nurse staging areas are located so that people can have full access to nursing and other staff with no barriers to overcome.

“Person centered care is simply caring for a person as an individual. It is taking the ‘golden rule’ and elevating it to the ‘platinum rule’. By following the platinum rule, we treat people the way they want to be treated. We have come a long way in the cultural change of moving from a predominantly medical model of nursing homes to one that is as close to home away from home as possible.”

This ideal of cultural change is exemplified at Villages Rehab in many ways. Some of these are: Enhanced Dining – Menus that include numerous options, menus developed with resident input. Residents have access to food 24 hours a day. Villages Rehab offers both restaurant style and buffet style dining: Flexible and Enhanced Bathing – Bath schedules are flexible to meet the residents’ desires and choices. Options for bathing are provided, and the physical bathing environment is enhanced and provides dignity for the resident. Villages Rehab has two Spas designed to enhance the bathing experience: Daily Schedules – Residents are assisted in determining their own daily schedules and participate in developing their individualized care plans: Resident Rooms – Resident rooms have been designed and arranged to enhance privacy, promote personalization and individual needs. Villages Rehab offers both private and semi-private suites: Public and Outdoor Space – Available public and outdoor spaces are designed for stimulation, ease of access, and activity: Consistent Assignment – Staff is assigned to the same resident 80% of the time so that they build a strong relationship and maintain continuity of care from shift-to-shift and day-to-day care, and Internal Community and External Community Connection – Regular neighborhood community meetings are held to promote a sense of community and spontaneous activities that include resident, family members, staff and our partners from the greater community of The Villages and beyond. A formalized volunteer program exists to allow for the provision of resident-specific activities and visits.

As an employer, Village Rehab has approximately 225 employee associates. They strive to promote the same culture as described for residents to their associates. They empower their associates with many opportunities for wellness, individual growth opportunities, career advancement, and employee recognition. Job opportunities can be found on their website at http://thevillagesrehab.com/.

For questions or comments, contact Jane Bloom, The Other Daughter, 425-299-6020; janeinthevillages@gmail.com or go to my website www.theotherdaughter.org

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