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Legacy Park administrator has a calling to care

Staff writer

David Scott has spent his adult life in service to some of the state’s most needy citizens.

The new Legacy Park administrator earned a bachelor’s degree in social work and a master’s in business administration from Pittsburg State University in the 1970s. Since then he has devoted himself to Kansas children, families, and senior citizens.

Scott has been in the driver’s seat at Legacy Park since Sept. 1, bringing his considerable skills and background to the Peabody care facility.

He lives in one of the on-site apartments during the week and goes home to Topeka on weekends to be with his wife, four children, and two grandchildren.

“It has worked well so far,” said Scott. “Of course I miss out on some evening activities, but it is only two hours to Topeka. We will have to see how it works when winter weather hits.”

Scott worked with the Wurth family (Legacy Park owners) once before in Wellington and jumped at the chance to come to Legacy Park when the administrator’s position opened.

“A care facility is like any other business,” he said. “It is either changing and developing or it is going out of business. The Wurths always are looking to improve the quality of service.

“This is a competitive business because certainly the residents we care for are our customers, but their families and the community also are part of our customer base.”

Scott admits that home health care has come a long way, making major strides in assisting seniors who want to stay in their own homes.

“However, there comes a point where medical and safety concerns can no longer be met at home,” he said. “Our assisted living program at Legacy Park can be helpful to seniors for many years. They have their own place and remain independent, but there also is structure and security. It’s a good program and provides many services.”

Scott believes the assisted living program makes the transition to a skilled nursing unit easier because residents are familiar with the staff and programs.

He especially is appreciative of the Alzheimer’s unit at Legacy Park. He is working with the Alzheimer’s Association in Wichita to get specialized training for staff members.

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The goal is to improve the quality of the environment of residents and to expand support to the families of Alzheimer’s patients.

“Often this disease affects the families more than the individual who is afflicted,” Scott said. “Many care facilities are not equipped to take care of a resident’s special needs as the disease progresses. This is a worry to family members.

“We are able to meet those needs, which not only help the resident and his family; it also helps other care facilities in the area that might not be able to provide the necessary assistance.”

Scott said the number of empty beds at Legacy Park is small. However, he noted that while being at 100% capacity is good for “the bottom line,” it means the facility does not have the ability to serve new residents.

“Being “full” is a good goal, but I prefer having a little wiggle room. It makes us more flexible,” he said.

The recent closing of Golden Living retirement home in Marion meant six new residents for Legacy Park.

Scott also is pleased with the quality of the labor pool in the Marion County area. Legacy Park enjoys a solid core of longtime employees who have a loyalty to the facility and its residents.

“Of course, we can always use good people with the right attitude, philosophy, and mind-set,” Scott said. “This is hard work. It takes a toll psychologically and emotionally. Not everyone is cut out for it.”

The long-term care industry has undergone changes as it has tried to make itself less facility-oriented and more family oriented. Legacy Park is no exception.

“We try hard to keep it from being a cookie-cutter facility. We realize that people want to get up and eat breakfast at different times,” he said. “Some like to stay up late, some like multiple menu choices. We try to stay receptive to what the residents want, not stick to a rigid schedule that is only a convenience for the staff.”

Scott admits he has not been out and about in the community as much as he would like.

“There have been times when I have arrived Sunday evening from Topeka and I may not get outside of the facility until I leave again on Friday,” Scott said, “but the people I’ve met are what I’d expect to find in small town Kansas.

“You know, what I like about Peabody and Legacy Park is that when a staff member is working here, he or she may not be taking care of their own parent or aunt or grandpa, but they are giving comparable care to the parent, aunt, or grandpa of one of their high school friends or someone in their church,” he said. “That level of quality care shows.”

Scott is ready to continue building on the caring tradition in place at Legacy Park.

“I think we have a wonderful facility and a great staff. This is an opportunity to do good things for our residents, their families, and the community,” Scott said. “I’m happy to be here. I’m looking forward to taking Legacy Park to the next level.”

Last modified Nov. 5, 2008

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