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Making Healthcare a Priority at Freedom Village at Brandywine

Read our latest mention at Vista.Today.

From the article:

Wellbeing and good health are goals most of us would love to achieve, especially in our later years. Freedom Village at Brandywine, a senior Life Care Community in West Brandywine, Chester County, works to make that goal a reality for its residents. A team of providers, from physicians to nurses, therapists, to social workers, dieticians to visiting specialists, are all part of the Freedom Village network to keep healthcare needs met 24/7.

Keeping it all running smoothly is the job of Health Care Administrator Lorna Malawi and her team. “My job is to make sure that everything from an operational and clinical standpoint runs and moves the way it needs to move.” Malawi’s been at Freedom Village now for over a year after working in a similar capacity at a Life Care community in Berks County. Her team is there to assist residents who may be facing the natural progression of aging or disease, or who suffer an injury. Residents may face complications of diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure, dementia, and Alzheimer’s to mention a few. There may be a knee replacement, hip surgery or a fall that caused a fracture. “It’s important we have those resources, which intentionally slow down the pace of the disease, diagnosis or unnatural elements of aging, therefore giving them the quality of care that they require in their later stages of life” Malawi said.

A key part of her focus is on the Freedom Village skilled nursing facility and its ten departments working in tangent to help those with greater health needs. She recruits and retains staff and follows a prepared budget, while making sure the facility meets Medicare and Medicaid requirements and meets the criteria to be properly licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Center for Medicaid and Medicare services (CMS) a federal level agency. The skilled nursing facility has a capacity and is licensed for 60 beds with about 50 currently in use, Malawi said, including 11 beds for patients undergoing rehabilitation services. It’s all part of an intricate dance of matching staff and resources to where it is needed day-to-day. In her spare time, Malawi is also the campus-wide backup Director when needed by the Executive Director, Danielle Geyer.

Quality of Care

In an age of staff shortages, Freedom Village, which is managed by Life Care Services, actually staffs a little higher than normal and has not had to use agency staffing for over a year and half.

“You cannot run with minimal numbers. However, not every facility is capable to staff at higher numbers,” Malawi said. Physicians are available Monday to Friday and on call for the weekends. Nurses, RNs, LPNs and aides are there around the clock. A dietician is on site for nutritional needs, monitoring weights, hydration, and food intake. Social services assist with discharge planning back to the community, either to Independent Living or Personal Care service lines from the skilled nursing part of the campus. “We handle a wide scope of diagnosis’ and ailments. There’s really not much the Freedom Village Team cannot do outside of hospital needs,” she said.

That means residents can receive most of their medical care on campus. If they need to go off site for other treatments like chemotherapy, Freedom Village provides transportation and an escort in most cases. “That’s something not too many other facilities have,” she said. Every department meets once every quarter for a Quality Assurance Performance Improvement (QAPI) meeting. A campus resident is part of that meeting, taking back information to the other residents where necessary.

Resident/Family Involvement

One aspect of Freedom Village’s healthcare services that is unique is the high amount of resident and family involvement. “The quality of care is driven by the residents themselves,” Malawi said. Our Resident Council meets once a month to review and give feedback on Freedom Village services. “They become part of the solution, part of the protocols,” Malawi said. Resident suggestions can lead to real solutions. For instance, a diabetic resident suggested a new dessert for the diabetic menu. Our Dining Services team was then able to add it in. “They’re very vocal. They’ll tell you what works for them, what doesn’t work for them, what they don’t like. I personally appreciate this feedback and collaboration.” Freedom Village is equally eager to work with resident families and touch base with them regularly. Physicians, nurses, and staff all call families directly with healthcare situations and collaborate with them and the team on the care of their loved ones. Every three months, there is a formal meeting with family members, residents, and team members where they can ask questions and be familiar with their loved one’s care plan. Families can call me anytime if something is not taken care of, Malawi added.

Awards and Ratings

Freedom Village has maintained a five-star CMS rating, the highest available. The rating from The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is based on quality measures such as resident care and reported clinical data throughout the year. A higher rating means good quality measures.

U.S. News and World Report has named Freedom Village among the best long-term nursing home care in the nation for 2023 and it was named best nursing home for short-term care in 2022.

Newsweek also named Freedom Village campus among the top 50 best continuing retirement communities in the US for 2024.

Why Freedom Village Stands Out

“The staff is great here. They understand what is most important. There is a team camaraderie,” Malawi said. “We let everyone be part of the decision-making process, both from the residents and the staff standpoint. That is what makes us stand out.” Malawi said she is rewarded in her job by seeing the residents happy and living a quality life, which the residents deserve. “Just seeing someone who comes to you not doing very well and over time are here for years and years because the team has given them the right kind of care is immeasurable. It is the best thing to see. This becomes their home and being part of each individual story is priceless” she said.

Freedom Village Health Care Administrator Lorna Malawi.