By Darrin J. Cook and Colleen Lockhart
Ohman Family Living at Briar, formerly Briar Hill Healthcare Residence is a prominent, modern structure in the heart of Middlefield, OH. The expansion has a four-year history, starting with the Ohman family’s interest in providing more comprehensive healthcare options to fit the needs of individuals and their families in the ever-changing world of healthcare. To provide this care well into the future, The Ohman family felt it was important to invest in a new 23,000 sq. ft. wing that will house much needed amenities for short-term patients recovering from a hospitalization.
At the completion of the project, between Briar’s assisted living, rehab, and long-term rooms they will have 141 licensed beds, and the foot print will expand to approximately 112,000 sq. ft. The new addition will include 24 private suites, a therapy gym, and separate dining for short-term rehab patients. The addition will also fulfill the needs of more complex patients that will be arriving from the hospital. Christian Ohman, executive director of Briar, said, “We are increasing the acuity of our services to meet the needs of patients that otherwise would need to stay in the hospitals.” Joshua Wallace, vice president of growth strategies, added “The development of these services is vital to the patient’s recovery and assist the hospitals to efficiently and safely return the patient to home.” When asked when the new addition will be complete, Anderson (Andy) Ohman Sr., co-President of Ohman Family Living, replied “We are hoping to have the new wing finished in early December of this year. We are planting sod as we speak in the new inner courtyard.”
Once the new addition is complete it will be time to roll the sleeves up once again to start an expected six-month renovation of the existing building. All of the present and future plans are a direct result of their mission statement, “We are called to serve those entrusted to us.”
One of the unique aspects of Briar, is its ability to provide multiple points of entry for patients needing care. They have reimagined the way they can use their assisted living suites. Essentially, this service meets the need to provide services for a patient who is not sick enough to be in the hospital, yet not well enough to be home. A couple of ways they have seen it used effectively is a direct admit from home after a hospitalization or rehab stay. Instead of returning to the hospital, they have created a lower cost alternative to patients and their families. Also, it can be likened to a hospital, where a patient went from ICU to a recovery unit, the assisted living can act as a step-down unit for just a couple of days, when insurances cut patients from services during their rehab stay.
Attempting to navigate the healthcare system, especially for those in need of services, can be a cumbersome journey. Briar’s director of admissions, MaryAnn Gingerich is going on 40 years of serving families at Briar. The admissions teams’ approach to serve families coupled with the fact there is no pressure to fill quotas, comparative to corporate owned health care facilities, leads to a much more comfortable atmosphere for families to ask question. If you are currently in this situation or there are signs you might be soon, don’t hesitate to call them at 440-632-5241. They can provide much needed clarity for you.
Being family owned and family managed, allows Briar to maintain a rural hometown feeling. The sidewalk access for residents to the village, long term administrators on campus who are readily accessible to the patients and their families they serve, and employees with longevity who provide compassionate and specialized care are all unique aspects of Briar’s campus. Andy stated, “The village of Middlefield and surrounding area is still very grass roots and our facility produces examples of this every day.” He went on to say, “patients and even staff tend to know each other, and this creates a wonderful atmosphere that they are truly blessed to have.”
The humble beginnings of what is now a state-of-the-art facility began only three miles north of the present site on Rt. 608. Andy’s mother and father started with a nine-bed ranch home where they converted a garage into their bedroom. “My mother and father slept on a sofa bed, and my siblings and I shared a room and ate in the kitchen so patients could eat in the dining room.” Andy said. “One of the patients was Uncle Bill.” Uncle Bill, who had MS was not only Andy’s father’s oldest brother and a war veteran, but also their first patient.
Speaking of veterans, Ohman Family Living at Briar is one of only two facilities in Geauga County that have a VA contract. This allows for veterans to utilize local services without having to go downtown. It’s important to note at 10am to 11am every Friday morning they host a coffee and donuts program. Any vet is welcome to come connect with the vets who live on Briar’s campus. “This program has grown rapidly over the past year and a half and we can’t be happier about it” Christian stated.
The focus on community is paramount and this is evident with the recent announcement of a Community Wellness Program, to include an educational on chronic disease management, dietary/culinary demo for healthier eating, as well as exercise classes. This program welcomes both patients and outside community involvement. In their focus on community outreach and development of new services, it is obvious that they want to be as connected as possible to the needs of their patients, area residents, and organizations.
For more information on Ohman Family Living at Briar, located at 15950 Pierce St. in Middlefield (44062) call 440-632-5241 to schedule a comprehensive tour of the campus. There is also a wealth of information on their website (www.briarhillhealthcare.com) and on their Facebook page (@ohmanfamilyliving).