Innovative care at Martha Coker Green Houses

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

Growing older is not something people like to think about every day.  Years pass by and before long a person becomes in need of a little extra help, especially after a fall or a long-term illness occurs.  When events like this occur, the Martha Coker Green Houses are the best place for short term rehabilitation or long-term care for your loved ones.

The first Martha Coker Convalescent Home opened up in 1962 with help from members of the Mary Brickell Circle with the International Order of the King's Daughters and Sons.   This facility was located on Calhoun Avenue and was the first skilled nursing home in the state of Mississippi, which featured 41 beds for patient care.

In 2005, the Mary Brickell Circle partnered with Methodist Senior Services in an effort to "serve older adults in the spirit of Christian love."  This partnership soon led to the expansion of the Martha Coker in 2008 when the Green Houses were built on Grand Avenue. 

Currently there are six Green Houses, with 10 beds in each, and nearly 120 employees on staff at all times. Each house offers access to physical, occupational and speech therapy, which is needed to properly rehabilitate the residents.

According to Julie Hoffman, executive director, one of the greatest changes at Martha Coker since the partnership with Methodist Senior Services is that they now accept additional forms of payment for patient care, when it was once a privately paid facility.

"We gladly accept residents for Medicare short-term rehab, private pay and Medicaid," said Hoffman. "It has made these services available to more people. I believe Methodist Senior Services saved this nursing home for the people of Yazoo City."

Many of the employees working at Martha Coker have enjoyed special memories with the residents over the years.

"We learn from the Elders' knowledge and experience," Hoffman said. "Our staff receives as much wisdom and love from the Elders as we give to them in care."

Of the 120 employees on staff at Martha Coker, many have been on board for over 10 years, since the new facility was built.

"We work hard to ensure that our employees feel rewarded and regarded highly," Hoffman said. "We have outstanding benefits including excellent health insurance at no cost for full-time employees, paid time off and sick leave as well as a wonderful environment to work in."

Hoffman said that the benefit of working alongside the rest of the businesses in Yazoo City is that it allows the Elders to stay connected to the world outside of the Green Houses.

"We have great community volunteers who come out to work with us," she said. "When we take the Elders in tow, the businesses are so welcoming and helpful to them."

Martha Coker is a big supporter of community events and organizations in Yazoo City.

"We are an active member of the Chamber of Commerce," said Hoffman. "Several of our employees serve on various boards and committees in our community, and we also provide a meeting place for the Mary Brickell Circle and for Crime Stoppers."

Hoffman said that the support given to Martha Coker has been invaluable, and the future for Yazoo City lies in building a better workforce in the community.

"Holmes Community College has many programs for various trades needed within our community," she said. "It is important to help retain our youth and continue training and education for the existing workforce so that we can keep our people here working at home, instead of commuting or moving to other communities for better jobs."

Hoffman also said that she would like to see more people take pride in their hometown by keeping their yards and businesses junk-free and clean.

"When prospective businesses come to scout new locations, they typically drive around and look at different areas," she said. "We need to ensure that the impression we leave shows a vibrant community full of pride and people who care about what they do, where they live and how people perceive them."

Hoffman said that Martha Coker has been a very positive business for Yazoo City.

"To think we have a facility offering such innovative care right here in our little Delta town in amazing," she said.

Martha Coker remains a special place in many people's hearts in Yazoo City, as a place for loving care and rehabilitation for their loved ones.