OSWEGO, NY — Morningstar Residential Care Center, 17 Sunrise Drive, in Oswego, hosted a reception recently to showcase the facility’s recent improvements and upgrades.
Joseph Murabito, owner/operator and administrator of the facility, pointed out that along with the modernization of the center, formerly known as Sunrise Nursing Home, it has grown and improved its warm and people-oriented atmosphere.
“We want this facility to be a community resource. This reception was by invite for people who directly or indirectly have a connection with health care in the area,” Murabito said. “We want people to embrace the dynamic atmosphere of our skilled nursing facility.”
To this end, the event also featured an art exhibit by local Unique artists, music provided by local musician Melissa Sieling, and an upscale buffet complete with a specially Morningstar-branded coffee brew, and recipe cards of the chef’s signature sauces that visitors could take with them.
“Chef Jon McElroy has really done an awesome job with the team building, getting the right players in place and crafting a delicious, quality menu,” Murabito said. “We have changed the menu two or three times and we are always tweaking it.”
Items on the buffet included herb crusted roast beef with chimichurri sauce; oven roasted turkey with cranberry mayo; and sesame garlic ginger chicken wings with a Wasabi cream sauce.
“Those sauces are something we came up specific for today, but we are constantly exploring ways to improve life through food,” he pointed out.
Murabito said along with the name change, Morningstar has seen many structural and technological improvements over past year or so, citing for examples a new occupational therapy suite; a new private medical exam room; new staff break room; extensive landscaping and the addition of a large, wraparound patio; electronic medical records system and extensive hardware upgrades; the installation of wireless computer access and a video surveillance security system; new computer servers and the launching of a new website to name a few. The 120-bed facility is currently getting a new roof and a full-house sprinkler system installation is scheduled to begin in January of 2013.
“Every facility has something unique about it and we’ve really been able to strengthen and fortify our operations through the unique characteristics of this building, the team and our operations,” Murabito said. “We don’t have the grandeur or size of our competition, but we have a highly skilled yet comfortable, warm atmosphere. We try to make practical use of our space. Because of the intimacy of our physical space, (the closeness of proximity of the team to our residents and families) we have been able to create a highly effective and communicative atmosphere; better than any other place I have worked.” Murabito also pointed out that because of the close working relationships within the organization, they have been able to effectively weave solid customer service into the clinical services provided.
Cathy Bucher, case manager at Oswego Hospital, said she was extremely impressed with the improvements and the atmosphere, as well as the food.
“I used to work here and the changes are absolutely amazing,” she said. “It is so homey and I love the patio he (Joe) added.”
The focus for every improvement made, Murabito stressed, is about improving balance and quality of life for people; this includes residents, families and staff.
“My job is about taking care of the staff” he said. “I feel if I do a good job with this, the staff will in turn provide the best care to the residents.”
“Despite being a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, we don’t have all of the unnecessary expense and overhead that my competitors have, so we can focus on more comprehensive and state-of-the art clinical care,” he said, citing such things as advanced wound care, IV Therapy and offering a larger RN complement. Murabito hinted that they are currently focused and working on enhancing two or three more clinical services that other nursing homes do not typically offer.
“We are trying to keep the atmosphere intimate, warm and friendly with a family type of feel to it,” Murabito said. “At the same time, we are progressive with the technology necessary to run an efficient facility and we are progressive with our services.”
Also at the event was Elizabeth Martin, managing editor of Unique Magazine. Published annually by Arise Child and Family Service, Inc., Unique Magazine displays the creative work of artists with disabilities living in Central New York. The majority of the artwork on display at the open house was by Oswego County residents.
“Seven Central New York counties are represented in the Unique Magazine,” Martin said. “We are totally thrilled to be here and have the opportunity to share the abilities of these creative and unique individuals.”
“We would love to have any local artists either simply display, or even sell their work here. We are currently approaching local artists to determine their interest,” Murabito said.
The new Morningstar coffee brand was created by Anne Backer, owner of Taste the World Specialty Foods and Coffee, in Oswego.
“We searched for a coffee specific to them,” Backer said. “It is a vanilla-hazelnut, but not your traditional ratio. It is a rich, full coffee with just a slight hint of flavor.”
“We think it would be fantastic for people in the community to also recognize a skilled nursing facility in the community for things such as an art display, specialty coffee or signature recipes,” Murabito said, “Life is a balance and this is what we try to promote here. Despite our residents facing some physical or cognitive loss, there is a lot of living we all do together everyday. We are about people taking care of people. We do a lot of work and have fun too.”
When it comes to working with local business, Murabito said he is seeking to actively partner with community members to create a well-rounded, locally supported atmosphere whenever possible at Morningstar.
As for the bigger agenda, he pointed out, the future of healthcare is in flux – but no matter what happens legislatively, healthcare is local and depends on strong, positive relationships.
“It is our goal to effectively communicate the clinical expertise we have here at Morningstar, while wrapping everything up in an approachable, people focused package,” Murabito said.
“My grandfather constructed this building as a contractor in the 70s and then became the property owner,” Murabito explained. “In 1995, he became the operator. Neither were things we planned on doing, but given circumstances at the time, he stepped up. He felt an obligation to protect his own interest, to keep people employed and he felt the organization was a necessary and valuable community service. He put a lot of sweat and tears into this place.”
Castaldo said he could not be happier about Murabito continuing the legacy.
“(Joe) is doing an excellent job,” he said. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
“Now Morningstar is a successful and stable business postured to meet the future of healthcare,” Murabito said. “I’ve been able to reinvest in the facility physical plant as well as clinical systems and staff. I am guarded about the future of healthcare, but I am extremely confident that the Morningstar team is well positioned and prepared to meet whatever comes at us.”
For more information, call 342-4790 or go to www.morningstarcares.com