Emily Nelson returns to lead Laurels of DeKalb | Butler

BUTLER — You can call it a homecoming.

Emily Nelson, who served for several years as the marketing director at The Laurels of DeKalb Health Care Center, has returned to the facility, now in the role of administrator.

“After being here for 12 years, it still feels very familiar,” she said. “My first job in long-term care was with The Laurels. That’s where I learned everything I knew. That foundation about the long-term care industry started here.”

During her tenure as marketing director, Nelson achieved her administrator’s license in 2017.

That meant at some point, Nelson would need to spread her wings and gain even more experience as an administrator with long-term facilities in other companies. The road brought her back to The Laurels following the departure of long-time administrator Erin Tuttle.

“I hated to leave but I wanted to have the opportunity to use my license,” Nelson said. She rejoined the facility as administrator in May.

The Laurels has achieved state and national recognition for its care, including 2019 Indiana Long-Term Facility of the Year. As administrator, Nelson’s goal is to maintain that standard of care for its residents.

“Keeping the same quality of care and the solid reputation in the community are important,” she said.

According to the website, Shannon Anderson is director of nursing at the facility. Duane Gaerte is rehabilitation services director and Brooke Peters is director of marketing.

“I just feel fortunate to have the opportunity to come back,” Nelson said. “It feels good. I can appreciate having a lot of the same staff, that continuity of care, knowing the building and knowing what the expectations are is just huge.

“It’s key for good patient care,” she said. “It’s made a difference, and I’ve been able to see that after being gone for a few years. That’s not the case in every building and it does make an impact.”

Like every aspect of life, COVID played havoc with everything at The Laurels, but Nelson is hopeful things have turned for the better.

“I feel like things have gotten a little less focused on that outside of this industry, but within long-term care, it’s still a huge focus,” she said. “The regulations that go along with it and the day-to-day tracking of things puts an extra strain on the managers and staff.”

One of the most important things that has changed is that families are able to see loved ones at the facility. “We are open,” she said. “Visitors are allowed.

“Residents definitely need to have their visitors,” Nelson continued. “Taking that away from them during that time, that was stressful for them.”

While visits are allowed, the facility continues to follow guidelines to protect the residents, such as one resident per table at meal times.

Reflecting on her homecoming, she said it didn’t take long to get reacquainted with her surroundings.

“A lot of the same staff members, a lot of the same managers (are still here),” Nelson said. “It’s been a really good feeling.

“Going into a new facility, you have a lot of unknowns, but this has been very positive. I feel like I’m back home.”

Marketing Direct