A Paramount Story

A Paramount Story

“I will provide the absolute finest in senior living care,”

is what I promised her, and then she died. I think that she waited for me, you see, I had just returned from a long trip monitoring her condition from the road, knowing that she had a short time to live. At that time, I didn’t fully realize how that moment would completely redirect my whole life and what I do today. Allow me to explain…

The year is 1985, I’m in my second year at the University of Pittsburgh and the lady that just passed away was my grandmother, whom I loved. As a teenager, I remember my grandmother taking in the elderly, working as a Dom care helper. Dom care is a service where caregivers provide a safe community based living environment for those who cannot live independently. This was one of my earliest experiences in caring for individuals who couldn’t completely take care of themselves. Watching how she genuinely took care of the sick all of her life, only to wither away in a nursing home at the end of it. My mother and aunt tried their very best to take care of grandmother on their own, but were not up to the heavy burden and responsibilities that came with taking care of another person’s life. Now, as she wastes away in a nursing home, mouth riddled with sores, body covered with ulcers, I ask myself, is this the level of care I can expect as other loved ones near the end of their lives. Where do I send someone where the care is of good quality. Who will be there to answer those important end of life questions and offer the services that really help in a much needed time? I must admit that during that moment I didn’t know the answer to that question, but I would continue to think about it, as the years passed.

ParamountStory1I find myself now in college, working as an orderly in a hospital. It was here, where, like my grandmother, I started to develop a passion for taking care of the sick. I understood early on that with proper care and attention to those needing it, positive results could be achieved. As the years progressed as well as my schooling, I continued do work my way into various positions at the hospital. As I moved from, an orderly in the emergency room, to an Operating Room Tech, then to an Operating Room Department Manager, over to Director of Business Manager, finally to Director of Operations, I couldn’t help but thinking that although this acute care is not perfect, this is not an industry that needs fixing. In a moment of unprecedented clarity, I knew then, what I had to do. It was at this time when I began my experience in the long term care industry. I felt it to be best if I began with an internship at a local Nursing Home… I mean what did I know of long term care? Although by this time I had successfully completed my masters’ degree at Carnegie Mellon University, I still felt a hunger to learn this industry, and knew that I had to be among the residents to truly grow in my understanding of it.

” I knew that now it was time. It was time to do this on my own, fix what I felt was broken, continue in the things that I had learned and fulfill the promise that I had made earlier.”

Like a snowball rolling down a mountain, I found myself gaining speed from there. After an eye opening experience throughout the internship, I was offered the opportunity to run an internal nursing home unit at a local hospital. I accepted. After several years there, I was recruited by a regional company to the position of VP of Operations and continued meeting challenges and solving problems as I furthered my education of the industry. My next move landed me the responsibility of Director of Operations for a well respected National Senior Living company. I found myself traveling the country, listening to a story, from a World War II vet in Florida, to a recipe for pumpkin pie, from a lady in New York, getting in touch with the needs of the residents, as well as the many operations that had to be in place. I enjoyed many years there, but once again felt that something was missing. After many nights up thinking, I knew that now it was time. It was time to do this on my own, fix what I felt was broken, continue in the things that I had learned and fulfill the promise that I had made earlier.

eol-services-wide“There’s no turning back now,” on Nov 26th, the day after Thanksgiving, I find myself uttering these very words. It took a lifetime of experience to realize all of the gaps in the long term care industry, I was at a point where I could do something about it, and now it was my responsibility to make the needed changes. These changes had to begin with the systems and services that I was to put in place. To begin, I felt it to be important that the company remain at a size where it all feels like a close community based living environment. More often than not, through my experience I saw that companies grew and expanded to quickly, losing the attention to detail, the passion for running a closer community, and ultimately compromising service to their customers, the residents. I hired a National Consulting firm to develop our strict clinical polices, so that if a resident comes to live with us in the afternoon, they’re not back in the hospital by the evening.

“My philosophy is, like my grandmother, mom and dad work hard their whole lives raising the kids, paying the bills on time…and I feel that they deserve to enjoy all the fruits of their labor…so they can relax and enjoy the remaining years.”

A highly trained and experienced, acute care based management team was put into place, and through this, they could manage any diagnosis that may arise in the Long Term Care environment. Through additional companies and services that I developed, I can successfully manage all of our residents ever changes health needs as they arise. From the come and go, healthy active lifestyle of the independent living resident, to the end of life hospice care, we bring the services right to our residents’ room. My philosophy is, like my grandmother, mom and dad work hard their whole lives raising the kids, paying the bills on time, cooking dinner, being responsible, accountable members of society, and I feel that they deserve to enjoy all the fruits of their labor in a community that promotes a rich array of activities, services, and exceptional amenities in an beautifully decorated environment, so they can relax and enjoy the remaining years. I provide an upscale cruise like atmosphere with the services and amenities that residents can really be excited about. They can look forward to, and enjoy the three meals a day prepared by our culinary chefs. Where it’s a greek frittata for breakfast instead of just prunes and cold cereal, chicken scallopine with sage and fontina, instead of just chicken fingers, and filet in a tomato basil cream sauce, instead of sloppy Joes for dinner. This is the care I would have wanted for all of my loved ones who have passed. There is much work to do in this industry, as it is ever changing. However, at Paramount, we are proud of the job we’ve done and stand by our performance. Such a wonderful feeling to fulfill the promise made so many years ago.

So many years have passed and now I’m faced with the passing of someone very near and dear to me. After all of the talk about how I need to make changes in this long term care industry, and how the lady (my grandmother) that had to experience the less than positive operations of a local nursing home, the girl, the woman who is my mother has just passed without having the opportunity to experience the hard work and dedication that I have devoted to this industry in which I love. She would secret shop the Paramount buildings and tell me of the good things that she saw as well as the things that she might add or improve. I always wanted to hear what she thought and I always would provide the senior management team her findings during the tour. But on that cold November evening she suffered from a cardiac event that ended her life so suddenly. As I arrived to the hospital in which my career in formal health care started, I found the woman that was significant in my life laying on a hospital bed lifeless. With my family at my side and in complete shock, I realized that at that moment my life was about to change….

Stay tuned in to Paramount for the update.

J. Cox