Change seems to be a common thread today, most notably due to COVID. Because of the pandemic, the past two years have given change a negative connotation, which is not always true. Though COVID-19 brought challenges to the Holland Home, we have been blessed to experience positive changes, as well. In the past year, the Home hired two new department heads: Geraldine Fernandez, Director of Housekeeping, and Kathe Carrero, Director of Activities.
Geraldine Fernandez has over 25 years of housekeeping experience. She has worked in multiple settings, including hotels and hospitals. Geraldine joined the Holland Home in June of 2021 as Director of Housekeeping. After a brief leave of absence in September, Geraldine returned to her position in October 2021. She notes that her return was easy, as she was coming back to a familiar position. Many of Geraldine’s strengths come from her prior experience. Her experience in a hospital setting has helped prepare her for specific regulations and the need for thorough cleaning. Similarly, Geraldine’s experience in the hospitality industry has reinforced the importance of providing the best care for those not in their own homes. Geraldine describes the most challenging part of her job as handling COVID and the regulations that come as a result. An additional obstacle is being short-staffed. This causes a need for more thorough cleaning and disinfecting, but with less staff. To combat this, Geraldine finds herself doing her favorite part of her job–housekeeping–in addition to creating schedules and attending meetings,. Being involved in the job to understand challenges her staff has to face is a central part of her leadership strategy. Though she has her own office, Geraldine says she is not a desk person. She’s more likely to be found helping her staff by doing inventory or doing laundry. She says that the best way for her to run the Housekeeping Department efficiently is if she knows what challenges they face. Another integral part of Geraldine’s leadership is inspiring and encouraging her staff. Geraldine does not want her staff to view their work as menial, unimportant tasks. Instead, she emphasizes the importance of their work and the impact it has on the lives of Residents. She frequently reminds her staff that “One well-trained, conscientious housekeeper given the right tools and enough time will prevent more disease than a room full of doctors can cure.” Geraldine emphasizes the importance of a clean environment, saying the Housekeeping Department is in part responsible for the health and safety of the Residents. As evidenced by how she views her job, Geraldine’s favorite part of her job as Director of Housekeeping is the Residents. She says she enjoys interacting with them, sitting down to chat with them, and listening to their stories. Geraldine believes that being present with Residents is important. Originally worried about the transition from a busy hospital setting to a small long-term care facility, Geraldine questioned if the Holland Home would be the right place for her. After a short time as a department head, Geraldine became confident that the Home is the right place for her. Geraldine has been a wonderful addition to the Staff at the Holland Christian Home, and we are so grateful for all her hard work.
Kathe Carrero has over 25 years of activities experience in assisted living and long-term care facilities, as well as medical adult daycare. She joined the Holland Christian Home as the Activities Director in September 2021. In the few months that she’s been here, Kathe has established herself as being involved, caring, and just what the Home had been looking for. As the Activities Director, she is responsible for planning activities for the Residents, scheduling entertainers, and coordinating and running programs at the Home. Kathe makes a point to emphasize her love for the Residents and caring for them through providing engaging activities. If you’re interested in reading more about the Activities Department, read “Staying Active at the Holland Home”