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Hennis History

Hennis Care and Assisted Living Centre is truly a family affair—a place where caring is founded upon the integrity and concern of three family generations.  Pat Hennis and the late Harry D. Hennis, owners, raised their four children with the same values and concerns for the aging that guided Harry’s mother, Harriet B. Hennis in 1947, when the Centre was founded.

The Beginning

With a $9,000.00 G.I. loan, the able assistance of his mother, and a lot of faith, Harry purchased an eleven-room brick mansion located on the corner of W. 8th St. and North Wooster Avenue, which became Hennis Nursing Home.  The building was painted, wallpapered and cleaned with the assistance of Harry and Harriet.  It was home for 24 residents. 
In 1961 a two-story addition was built comprising of an office, expanded recreation and dining areas, and space for 6 more beds expanding the home to 30 patients.
A home adjacent to the nursing home was purchased and renovated to provide room and board and some assistance to those who needed some care but not nursing home care.
Originally, much of the food prepared by the fine cooks was homegrown in Harriet’s garden and a garden on the grounds.  Fresh vegetables and fruits were used throughout the summer and long hours were spent canning so that these could be enjoyed in the winter also.  Homemade noodles, fresh baked pies and tasty heaping portions was and still is the everyday fare at Hennis.
While Harry administered the business side of the home, his mother provided that special “woman’s touch” and a nurse’s intuition that Harry considered so vital to a secure, warm caring environment.  Since Harriet passed away on April 13, 1970, Harry’s wife Pat has provided that “woman’s touch”.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

In 1947, Harriet B. Hennis and Harry D. Hennis opened Hennis Rest Home and some 60 years later there are some amazing differences.  The original building still stands on Wooster Avenue.  While the charm of stained glass windows, fireplaces in the rooms and hand-tooled woodwork in each room could not easily be duplicated in our new building; other changes have enhanced a stay in our facility today.  For instance, rooms are semi-private (2 folks sharing a room) and a private, much improved over the ward set-up where 4 to 6 folks shared a room.  A modern building fully equipped with a sprinkler system, air conditioning, lounges, therapy rooms, activity rooms, friendly warm dining rooms and outdoor porches, patios and walking paths provides space for a wide variance of unique services to meet the needs of the residents in our community.

How different it is today from years past where the laundry was done in a wringer washer and hung on a clothesline outside to dry, inside in the basement in the winter.   Many other tasks were done by one person, usually a nursing assistant, daily routines such as bathing, dressing and assisting with meals, but also assisting with laundry, housekeeping and service meals.   Meals were perhaps the most different – from the residents and Harriet growing much of the food and canning it to the killing and dressing fresh chickens for the Sunday dinner with all the homemade fixings.  Fresh baked pies, cakes, cookies and breads filled the home with a pleasant smell on Saturday mornings.
Today, while sanitation regulations do not permit us to can or provide fresh meats, we still provide fresh locally grown vegetables and fruit in season, as well as fresh baked goods.  Restaurant style and family style dining, select menus, executive chefs are a reflection of the enhanced dining experience.
The most dramatic change has been in the types of services that we provide at Hennis Care Centre.  From a rest home where basic services like dressing, bathing, assistance with meals, some activities and some basic nursing services (primarily passing medication ordered by the physicians), we now provide all of these services and more.  Actually, Hennis Care Centre consists of three units each with a distinctly different level of services.  First is our Sub-Acute Rehab unit, almost a mini hospital where speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, wound care services and much, much more are done every day.  These folks are generally short-term stays (average stay is about 18 days) and then they go back home.
The Homestead is the unit where we provide services for our residents with Alzheimer’s and similar dementias.  Our staff takes a very warm, tender, patient approach to meet the special needs of these residents.  From specialized programming and cognitive retraining coordinated by nursing, activities and social service staff, to a redesigned building to provide protected environments like an enclosed walking path and a safe controlled unit.
The Gardens is the unit that most closely mirrors the original nursing home residents and the services they needed, with some significant exceptions.  An activity director keeps these folks active in the community with hotel trips to the Columbus Zoo, outings to the fair, out-to-lunch trips, overnight campouts at the lake, and shopping trips.  However, even in this unit we are seeing subtle increases in resident needs and services that we must meet.
Yes, we’ve gone from one black rotary dial telephone at the nurse’s desk to pagers clipped to nurse’s pockets!  Cell phones on the med cart;….from triple carbon physician orders to computers and fax machines at each nurses station—and the expectation that every nurse knows how to operate them!  The physician is able to order an intravenous medication and it can be delivered from a computerized medication station within minutes—and depending on the type of drug it may be delivered by a peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) which specially trained IV nurses at the facility insert and monitor.  How very different from the time when patients went to the hospital “to get an IV!”
What will the next 60 years bring?  We only have a few glimpses, and we prepare to meet the changing needs.  One thing we do know is:  Hennis Care Centre is committed to being on the cutting edge of the standards and technology to offer the highest quality healthcare and customer service to patients.  After, sixty years of growth and service to our community, our enthusiasm and commitment for our chosen profession just keeps growing!

A Real Family Affair

Three generations have been involved in the growth and development of Hennis Care Centre.  The third generation includes the children…
Kathy Hennis Marburger, a licensed administrator and social worker; David Hennis, a licensed administrator; Paula Hennis-Sickinger, public relations.  Their varied backgrounds include experience in public education, social services, human services, all of which accentuates their performance in their current positions.  Additionally, the Hennis children grew up as part of the business, working in many of the departments, including maintenance, laundry, dietary , activities, nurse’s aide, or wherever needed.  Learning about the nursing home from all perspectives certainly enhanced their understanding and appreciation.
The spouses of the Hennis children also contribute their talents in their respective fields, Keith Marburger provides insurance; Patty Hennis lends her accounting knowledge, and David Sickinger is the consulting dentist. 

Though times have changed, the Hennis tradition of family caring continues.  You're invited to come and see the third generation of the trusted family tradition of caring in action at Hennis Care Centre.

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