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At Jewish Senior Life, advocacy for residents is Schirano’s passion

Management (long-term care) honoree

Celebrating her 25th year with Jewish Senior Life, Michele Schirano has grown along with the organization.

Michele Schirano

Michele Schirano

“I’ve been here for 25 years because I love our residents and the meaningful time I get to spend with them,” she says. “I have talented, motivated, fun co-workers. Jewish Senior Life always looks to enhance how care is delivered, as well as how we can make the quality of life even better for our residents and our community. It’s very rewarding.”

Schirano started as a licensed practice nurse, earned her registered nursing degree, and rose to the top of the organization. In 2015, the Churchville resident’s vast expertise and experience led to her being named senior vice president and administrator overseeing operations of the Jewish Home.

In 2012, Schirano helped lead the implementation of electronic medical records at The Jewish Home. Nurses now use laptops for medication administration, recording physician orders and charting and recording the clinical care of residents electronically. At the time, it was one of only a few nursing homes in the country to have fully implemented electronic medical records.

Schirano, 46, also played a significant role in Jewish Senior Life being named a Rochester Top Workplace in 2017. Of the more than 1,000 employees, Schirano is responsible for the more than 700 working at the Jewish Home. Satisfaction among employees remains high.

Schirano has led other key initiatives for the organization, too. For example, Jewish Senior Life began a journey toward resident-centered care several years ago in an effort to move from the traditional medical model of care to a model based on elder choice.

“Michele has been a champion and leading voice for moving us down the path of culture change,” says Michael King, president and chief executive officer of Jewish Senior Life. “Advocacy for residents has always been her passion.”

In 2017, Jewish Senior Life opened new homes for long-term care residents in its Green House Cottages. These homes take person-centered care to the next level by updating the campus to provide even more choice, autonomy, and control for all residents to deliver an even more enriching, engaging environment. The legacy Jewish Home Tower also will incorporate the Green House concept, opening in Spring 2019.

“This has been a huge, complex, sensitive undertaking,” King says. “It was the equivalent of creating nine new nursing homes, and the process was not written in a manual. Michele was on the ground from the start, involved in all aspects of creating the new homes – from the architectural design, to staffing and processes, to coordinating the logistics of the move of 108 of our residents to their new homes.

“As you can imagine, it took a herculean effort to relocate 108 nursing home residents to a totally new environment and staff,” King says. “We would not have successfully accomplished this phasing without Michele’s calm leadership and ability to lead our entire nursing home management team through a very complicated process.”

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