Steven and Jessica Johnson have been married for more than 30 years and have shared many experiences together. Due to different circumstances, they both have required stays at a skilled nursing facility, and at different times they have been patients at New Community Extended Care Facility. Both were extremely happy with the care they received.
“We both had an amazing experience,” Jessica said. “New Community made me feel like home. They did the same thing for my husband.”
Jessica went to Extended Care about five years ago after having surgery to receive physical therapy to regain the use of her legs. She stayed there less than a month, but during that time, she became involved in the facility, participating in activities and attending church services in the chapel. She also made friends with other residents and still keeps in touch with some of them today.
“The therapy was amazing. The place was really nice and clean and warm and welcoming,” she said. “I didn’t have a bad day while I was there.”
When her husband suffered a minor stroke and needed to be placed in a nursing facility in October, Jessica insisted he go to Extended Care.
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person visits were prohibited for everyone’s safety. Jessica said it was very difficult for her not to be able to physically see her husband since they had never been separated for an extended period. She said the staff at Extended Care knew what she was going through and helped her through, explaining that he would be discharged when he was ready and able to do well at home. To ease the separation, Jessica and Steven used technology to communicate.
“There were a lot of lonely nights, but we were able to comfort each other through FaceTime and pray together,” Jessica said. “He always told me he was comfortable.”
Technology has been essential at Extended Care during the pandemic to keep residents connected to their loved ones.
“These last 10 months have been difficult for our residents. It’s been difficult for residents not to be able to see their family. Using dedicated facility technology to connect on FaceTime with family has allowed our residents to stay in touch during the pandemic,” said New Community Chief Operating Officer Fred Hunter. “Our dedicated staff continues to give their all to serve our wonderful residents.”
Steven spent his birthday and Thanksgiving at Extended Care, but after about eight weeks at the facility, he was discharged and returned home. The couple was happy they were able to spend Christmas together.
“New Community has given me back my life when I needed it, when I felt down and depressed,” Jessica said. “The staff gives you that incentive. They push you. You never feel like you’re forgotten about. It’s amazing.”
New Community CEO Richard Rohrman isn’t surprised by Jessica and Steven’s experiences.
“The staff and management of the facility have a dedication and empathy for the residents that never ceases to amaze me. Their conduct and dedication through the continuing COVID crisis has been inspiring,” he said. “We so appreciate the story that the Johnsons tell and wish them all the best for their health and happiness.”
Extended Care Administrator Veronica Onwunaka said Extended Care is committed to delivering high-quality services to help patients thrive.
“Our goal at New Community is to ensure that we can provide the most effective and best care that will help return our residents back to their pre-illness health to make them effective citizens,” she said. “Ms. Johnson is a typical example of how effective quality care can help the people that we serve and the community at large.”
While Jessica hopes she and her husband don’t have to return in the future, she encourages anyone in need of a skilled nursing facility to use Extended Care.
“Extended Care is an amazing place and if I had to have somebody else go into a facility, I will always recommend it,” she said.
New Community Extended Care Facility, 266 South Orange Ave., Newark, is a 180-bed skilled nursing facility that serves inner city seniors and disabled adults. The facility specializes in offering customized care for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. For more information, visit newarknursinghome.org or call 973-624-2020.