With more than four decades of experience providing skilled nursing care to a rapidly growing population of senior citizens, Maureen Garbach has seen it all. Throughout her successful career, she has served in numerous roles, including clinical coordinator, nursing supervisor, and nurse manager.
That lifetime of nursing experience still benefits those she serves today at the Friendly Home in Rochester. In the role of director of health services, Garbach oversees a nursing and therapy staff of 270 employees, as well as the short-term rehabilitation, memory care, and 24-hour skilled nursing programs. As part of her leadership responsibilities, she manages an annual budget of more than $9 million.
Along the way, Garbach has garnered many admiring fans that are effusive in their praise of her. They cite her unique ability to blend a keen business sense with a strong sense of purpose and compassion.
“In my nearly 20-year career in the field of long-term care, including nine years in administrative roles, I can say without hesitation that Maureen is the best director of health services with whom I have ever worked,” says Michael Perrotta, vice president and administrator at the Friendly Home. “First and foremost, Maureen’s commitment to quality care is unsurpassed. Under her leadership of the Friendly Home’s nursing and therapy departments, every member and patient receives the best possible care. In a constantly changing and evolving health care environment with many moving parts, Maureen consistently finds a way to motivate staff and integrate best practices.”
As director of health services, Garbach bears responsibility for ensuring that the Friendly Home’s clinical outcomes are excellent. In fact, the Friendly Home has ranked in the first quintile of the New York State Quality Initiative program for five consecutive years since the program began. There are 600 nursing homes in New York, and less than 5 percent of those have placed in the first quintile for five consecutive years.
Garbach enjoys the challenge, as well as the professional staff that she works with each day. “We all take pride in being the best that we can be for the customers that we serve,” she says. “I am proud of the quality of care and services provided throughout all departments at the Friendly Home. The best part of working here is when a resident or a family member expresses happiness and satisfaction in our services.”
Garbach, of West Irondequoit, also is known for her ability to see potential in others and to develop that potential. “She takes an individual approach to every staff member with whom she interacts,” Lori Pellicano, assistant director of nursing at the Friendly Home. “While working with a new employee, she walks through the basics to assure a firm foundation. With more experienced nurses, she will encourage a higher level of processing and decision-making, providing alternative viewpoints and possible outcomes.
“I’ve walked through the problem-solving process with her many times, and while I have learned to anticipate many of her questions, she still provides new perspectives and ways of resolving issues.”