Schlehuber comes to CEO role with field experience


SchlehuberKelly.jpg Kelly Schlehuber, Hillsboro, brings 17 years experience in the field of long-term care to the newly created position of chief executive officer and administrator at Salem Home.

The position was necessary with the formal separation of the long-term care unit following the sale of the hospital operation to HMC/CAH, based in Kansas City, Mo.

?Salem Home? was the original name of the long-term care unit, and it is operated by the former hospital board now known as the Salem Home Board of Directors.

Schlehuber?s career in health care began as a certified nurse aide. At the suggestion of a friend, she went back to school to earn a degree as a licensed practical nurse and later as a registered nurse.

Most recently, Schlehuber worked at The Cedars in McPherson as the director of nursing and as risk management director.

Why did she choose elder health care? When Schlehuber moved to Hillsboro 18 years ago, she discovered a need for CNAs.

?I was a single mom with two children, and looking for a way to support me and the kids on my own,? she said.

Schlehuber credits Lois Nuss with her start in health care.

?She told me I could get a job as a CNA, and I didn?t even know what it was,? she said. ?Then I got my certificate and started working at Parkside Homes.

?Paula Johnson told me about LPN program and suggested I try that, so I enrolled. I felt more fulfilled in that job than anything I had ever done.?

One of her most memorable professional moments came while she was working there.

?A resident in a wheelchair held up her index finger and motioned for me to come over to her,? Schlehuber said. ?So I did, and she gave me the biggest hug ever. It gave me goosebumps.

?Looking back later, I realized that I needed that hug more than she did. I was hooked.?

Has the change to administration changed that feeling?

?No, I see all the changes that are coming down the line and can envision where senior care is going,? Schlehuber said. ?We are making it a home for the elders, where they can build meaningful relationships with the caregivers and people in our community.

?Elders in nursing homes can continue to grow, learn and be productive.?

Schlehuber said she knows elder nursing care is not seen by others as a glamorous career because the industry as a whole has a poor public perception.

She said Salem Home can help change that because Kansas is a leader of the culture-change movement in the elder-care industry, and Salem Home is a leader in Kansas.

?Culture change? refers to moving elder care from an institutional model with a regulated schedule to a personal?ized model where residents exercise more freedom of choice.

?A friend of mine recently attended a national convention in Florida for nursing homes,? Schlehuber said. ?One of the speakers talked about culture change, and most of the people there didn?t know what it was. She told me ?Kelly, we?re ahead of the game.??

?We need to treat our elders with respect, honor and dignity,? she added. ?I want to help make elder care a better place.?

Schlehuber lives in Hillsboro with her husband Jeremy and son Jacob, 9. Her daughter Nicole, 23, lives in Kansas City, and son Michael, 20, is in the Army, stationed in Alaska.

When she?s not working at the home, she enjoys cooking, boating and fishing.

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