Partnership Benefits Residents, Community

When Cape Albeon partnered with fellow CHHSM member and St. Louis-based St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors System, residents of the retirement community in Valley Park, Mo., gained access to skilled nursing, something they’ve never had before.

“For 14 years I’ve been hoping for extended care to arrive here,” says Lolly Wehrli, 87, who moved into Cape Albeon in 2000 and now has access to skilled nursing at Brooking Park, a St. Andrew’s community in Chesterfield, Mo. “It’s important for a lot of people, and I was overjoyed to hear about the partnership.”

Increased access to skilled nursing is just one of many benefits resulting from the closer association of the two organizations, which already share a rich history. St. Andrew’s, which provides housing and health care to 8,000 seniors annually, has managed Cape Albeon since it opened in 2000. Cape Albeon, whose name derives from Jesus’ prayer that his followers might “all be one,” serves about 200 older adults.  Before relocating to Valley Park, west of St. Louis, it had been on the banks of the Mississippi and known as Good Samaritan Home for 100 years.

Diane Meatheany, St. Andrew’s chief operating officer, says the move was the next logical step in their relationship. “We’re both well-respected organizations in the same market, and we are mission-driven to serve seniors,” she says.

The two nonprofits can share resources and do more as one, she says. Outreach to churches, hospitals, the UCC, and Episcopalian and Presbyterian memberships in Greater St. Louis will be easier because the organizations are branded together and have a larger referral base. Cape Albeon will be able to serve more low-income seniors through the charitable foundation of St. Andrew’s. “A couple of hospitals have said it’s easier to understand one system instead of individual retirement communities,” Meatheany says.

Richard Ellerbrake, Cape Albeon’s board president, hopes the move will enhance relationships among other nonprofits and CHHSM members. Cape Albeon has a close relationship with Deaconess Faith Community Nurse Ministries, for instance, and he hopes the partnership with St. Andrew’s will inspire such organizations to tap into each other’s strengths to advance their missions.

“We are already working closely with a physicians’ group, and if this succeeds, perhaps we can export this concept around the country,” he says. “I think many organizations can improve quality of life and save money by working together.”

Meatheany says board members and residents are getting to know each other. Cape Albeon residents have already toured some St. Andrew’s communities, and board members and their families are planning dinners and other events.

“This has been so satisfying because it’s a winning situation for everyone,” she says. “We can do more as one.”

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