In Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – President/CEO of Beacon Hill at Eastgate, Jeff Huegli, Elected to Board of Directors – LeadingAge Michigan

LeadingAge Represents the Entire Continuum of Post-Acute, Long-Term Residences & Services for Seniors

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – June 26, 2019 . . . LeadingAge Michigan announced newly elected board members at its June 25 meeting in Lansing. Included in the group of six is Jeff Huegli, President and CEO of Beacon Hill at Eastgate (Beacon Hill), a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in Grand Rapids offering independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, rehabilitation and memory care to its 300+ residents. Huegli brings over 20 years’ experience in managing residences and services for older adults in a CCRC setting. Before assuming the top spot at Beacon Hill, Huegli was Executive Director at Porter Hills.

David Herbel, President/CEO of LeadingAge Michigan, said this about Huegli’s election: “The Board of Directors of LeadingAge Michigan is thrilled to add Jeff Huegli to the group.  We look forward to Jeff’s seasoned leadership and entrepreneurial vision to help guide the future of the association and its membership.” 

That “entrepreneurial vision” has been a characteristic of Huegli’s leadership at Beacon Hill. After becoming CEO of Beacon Hill (then known as the Michigan Christian Home) in 2003, Huegli recognized the growing need for independent living options for older adults seeking a retirement setting. In 2006, the organization purchased a 12.5 acre site adjacent to the original campus in order to build new independent living accommodations for older adults. The organization was then renamed Beacon Hill at Eastgate.

Occupancy of the new $85 million community began in November 2010. It was a state-of-the-art continuing care retirement community offering expanded services with an emphasis on rehabilitation and also serving residents suffering from dementia. Along with the opening of the new Beacon Hill at Eastgate CCRC, came a repositioning plan that emphasized integrating a more highly defined service model characterized by best practices in the areas of social and clinical services with excellence in hospitality.

Huegli placed particular value on developing distinctive fine and casual dining throughout all areas of Beacon Hill. It is his belief that extraordinary resident satisfaction can be achieved by coupling personal care with a highly flexible, exceptional culinary program.

In 2017, Beacon Hill opened a 150,000 square foot addition which included 56 independent, entrance-fee apartment homes and the Beacon Hill Community House, featuring a 150-seat auditorium and Garden Cafe. Also part of the 2017 expansion was a new 30,000 square foot skilled nursing residence with 15 rooms dedicated to short-stay rehabilitation patients and 14 to residents needing skilled nursing care.

Continuing Huegli’s focus on providing exceptional care and enhanced services to Beacon Hill residents, early in 2019, it opened a pedestrian bridge that connects Beacon Hill’s independent living building to its health care facility, including assisted living, skilled nursing, rehab and memory care.

The bridge makes it easier and more convenient for:

  • Residents in independent living to visit their spouses who are in memory care or skilled nursing;
  • Friends can visit each other just by walking across the new interior travel route;
  • Volunteering in memory care or skilled nursing is easier for Beacon Hill residents who comprise a great number of its volunteers;
  • Clergy, relatives and friends have better access to their grieving or ill family members;
  • Beacon Hill staff also benefits as the bridge offers a safe and convenient way to walk from one residence to the other.

The bridge is further enhanced by original artwork by local artist, Marianna Heule, that comprises a permanent Beacon Hill art collection in the walkway. The remaining more than 80 feet of walkway will feature an art gallery of pieces by additional artists. 

Motivated by its commitment to best practices in the areas of social and clinical services with excellence in hospitality, Huegli initiated a five-star hospitality training program designed specifically for the nursing staff, who care for the most frail and vulnerable of Beacon Hill residents.

The training began with inviting Beacon Hill’s entire clinical staff of 100+ to experience, first-hand, five-star hospitality in a mandatory 1.5-hour training, during which they enjoyed services, such as valet parking and coat checks, culminating in a gourmet meal along with five-star table service. Huegli’s reasoning was that if the staff was to up their performance to a five-star level, they needed to experience it first-hand.

After the meal (either breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on their shift) Amanda Daggett, Director of Nursing, and Christopher Rigsby, Human Resources Director, led the staff through detailed instruction on the specific components of five-star care. Staff was encouraged to live the five-star experience – “Creating this level of experience for our residents and co-workers every day is the standard and not the goal.”

They were told they have the opportunity to provide five-star service at every encounter. “The tools you have to help create this experience are low staffing ratios that support meaningful engagement, a beautiful work environment, and the collective strengths and experiences of your service teams.”

Huegli’s vision for Beacon Hill has been constant throughout his 15+ year tenure: “to ensure that Beacon Hill is a joyful place where the combination of ambience, activities, meals, the gardens and campus, our location in the Eastgate neighborhood – all of it – adds to the tremendous emotional contentment that resonates with our residents.”

Beacon Hill at Eastgate is home, family, and security, dedicated to engaging seniors in an active and fulfilling retirement. Its state-of-the-art campus is a continuing care retirement community offering expanded services with an emphasis on rehabilitation and serving residents suffering from dementia. Beacon Hill integrates a more highly defined service model characterized by best practices in the areas of social and clinical services with excellence in hospitality.

For more information about Beacon Hill at Eastgate or the election of Jeff Huegli to the LeadingAge Michigan Board of Directors, please contact Mary McLoughlin at (616) 698-0748 or email: contactus@beaconhillgr.org.

 

 

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