Woodfin – The new executive director for Emerald Ridge Rehab and Care Center is an old familiar face, Tom Hager. Hager returned to the Woodfin facility at the end of October after being gone for about six years.
“The time was right for coming,” said Hager, as the last executive director retired. “The good Lord always opens a door when the timing is right,” he said. Hager first came to Emerald Ridge back in 2003 and stayed 11 years, leaving in 2014 for a job in Hendersonville at Life Care Center, remaining there five years after which he did grant writing for the state of North Carolina.
Following His Heart Home
“I learned a long time ago to follow my heart, and because of the special residents and staff at Emerald Ridge, my heart has lead me back home again to be with them and to serve them,” he explained. “I’m happy to be back!”
Emerald Ridge, along with most care facilities, had their share of COVID-19 but is now over a month COVID free. “We went through about 30 days of addressing positive results for staff and residents,” he explained. “Since the 17th of November, we have had no positive test results.” The facility was quick to come out of the COVID problem. “We have had two state infection control inspections in the last 50 days with no citations or even any recommendations from their inspection results,” he added.
Hager said they are now opening up their dining area and activities with social distancing. They are also open up schedule visitation for family members, which he said was the most challenging aspect of the pandemic for residents. “I think the isolation for the residents…the staff becomes their families for them but is the isolation from their families that’s most difficult. We have Zoom calls and phone calls to allow them to stay connected.”
He is excited the facility is opening back up at this particular time. “We are going to open a time for the families to come in, which is great timing given the holidays.”
Hager plans to make Emerald Ridge his last stop after being in the health care industry for 37 years. “It [Emerald Ridge] has been my favorite stop along the way…It’s an exceptional group of caring and dedicated people.”