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On serveries, services and the Sublette Center

Posted: Monday, Jun 17th, 2013

On serveries, services and the Sublette Center

Daily, I go to the Sublette Center for breakfast with my mother, and lunch as well when I can, so I believe I can speak with some knowledge of how the center runs and is operated. The staff on the floor at the center is fantastic; they work hard, they genuinely care about the residents and they provide a valuable service to our community.

Last week, when having lunch in the main dining room with my mother and several of the residents who eat there daily, a bombshell was dropped on them out of the blue with no warning or concern about them whatsoever. Apparently, the decision was made or at least disseminated to the kitchen staff to close the servery on July 1, where the apartment residents have breakfast, lunch and dinner. Setting aside the fact that the residents count on consistency, kindness, warning of changes and a little respect in their twilight years, I was appalled at both the ruling and the delivery of the information.

I am told that your executive director, who, I might add, I have rarely seen in the building or on the premises, has decided to simply send a letter to the residents as opposed to speaking to them as human beings to advise them of this critical decision. This “letter” is apparently being drafted to be sent hopefully sometime before the first but not soon enough to quell the blow the residents were feeling last week. The dining room was in somewhat of an uproar when I left there with these wonderful people wondering how they’ll get their breakfast, will they be relegated to their rooms with a box meal, how will they eat, etc.

It is my further understanding that the justification for this unbelievable decision is an alleged edict from the county commissioners to cut a large percentage of the costs at the center or they would not proceed with the building project. I have spoken to the county commissioners, or at least two of them, and they vehemently deny this edict coming from them. What the captain of your ship has effectively done is to dampen any enthusiasm for continuing on with a building project when the trade-off is cutting services to the wonderful people who are in the center and the wonderful staff who daily feed, clean and care for those residents.

I have personally witnessed a cut-back of CNA staff in the medical wing to “save more money,” and now there is this ridiculous plan to wipe out the servery where the residents not only eat, but have a sense of community and look forward to seeing one another. There are so many things one could do to address costs at the center including taking the money wasted on architects and consultants to build a monstrosity we don’t need and using that money to make sure the residents are taken care of with quality staff and attention.

Bob Thompson, who was on the original board who started the facility, stated, “If the board only knew how hard we had worked to create this facility, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to destroy it.” Another resident, upon hearing the latest “cost savings measure” said, “They won’t need to worry about feeding us, since they’ll probably kill us off driving our blood pressure through the roof with decisions like this.” They say it best.

It is obvious to anyone who spends any time at that facility that, along with the residents, the people who need to be taken of are the CNA’s, the nurses, the kitchen staff, the activities personnel, the cleaning staff and the persons who work daily with the residents. These are the people who are at the center day in and day out, night after night, unlike the administration, who is basically a ghost passing through the facility like the grim reaper destroying what little enjoyment and dignity all of these people possess.

Perhaps the commissioners will take a second look at supporting any building projects when you can’t even manage the one you have and that you are in charge of in a compassionate and thoughtful manner. I, for one, will not support continuing on with it. I have been asked to write this letter on behalf of the residents who utilize the servery and the kitchen staff, as well as wanting to write it on my own.

Elizabeth Greenwood, Pinedale

For the complete article see the 06-18-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-18-2013 paper.

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