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CEO Darcy Davis shadows Healey Center teams in "Walk a Mile in Your Shoes"

kathlen jean louis 

Kathlen Jean-Louis, Certified Wound Care Nurse at The Healey Center

So this was my first “Walk a Mile” experience that involved direct patient care, and boy was it a doozy. The good news is that I had been on a wound care visit in a previous job, in a previous organization, so my expectations were for the worst! I remember every aspect of that last wound care rounding, down to the pungent smell that will be forever in my memory. I also know that two of my least favorite words in life are “puss” and ”ooze,” so I ate a light breakfast (just in case), decked out in Healey-issued scrubs and put myself in the capable hands of Kathlen Jean-Louis. I was ready for anything that morning.

She really loves this stuff!

Before I could get my scrubs on, Kathlen sent word that she was getting started. I rushed to meet her, just as she finished tending to her first patient. I jumped right in as she and Jim Page, PTA moved to the next patient.

These two make a great team as they rotated patients, pulled bandages off of extremely sensitive body parts and then began assessing the healing process of some truly unbelievable wounds.

They informed the patient of what they were seeing in terms of measurement (length, width and depth), all the while they were educating. Very firmly, but subtly, Kathlen was reminding the patient of the keys to successful healing. She spoke of the importance of the diet, the frequency of activity to keep the blood flowing in cases where the resident was mobile, and also of keeping the area clean and dry.

darcy davis shadows healey center teams

Humanizing the task

When we first walked into “Mary’s” room, I immediately realized she was non-verbal but she was very welcoming with a huge smile on her face. She mouthed a few words of greeting to Kathlen and Jim and she was so happy to see them, even though she knew this was about to get uncomfortable.

As I looked at a gaping space where her right buttock used to be, I realized what I saw was bone and what Kathlen explained to me was rotting flesh. This should have grossed me out, because it was a sight I have never seen before, but there was no puss, no oozing. I saw healthy tissue and progress. Mary was healing.

How did this happen?

As we went from room to room, I was trying to wrap my head around the idea that someone could let a wound grow to the size and severity I was seeing here. So my obvious question in every room was “How did this happen?” The answers were slightly different in each case, but the underlying theme had to do with diabetes, lack of circulation from immobility, high sugar diets and a bit of improper hygiene thrown in on occasion.

In every case though, these were not wounds that developed under our watch. Oh, no way was that going to happen with Kathlen and Jim and the rest of the Healey team. They gladly accepted patients from hospitals or other sites that had these conditions when no one else would take on the challenge. They rise to the challenge and have some pretty impressive results to show for it.


Not only are Kathlen and Jim passionate about what they do, but they have been dedicated to the residents of the Healey Center for a very long time. Kathlen joined the Health Care District in 1999 as a nurse and has served as Assistant Director of Nursing since 2007. She has been caring for people with wounds for many years, but received her Wound Care Certification in 2015.

Jim has been a Licensed Physical Therapy Assistant at the Healey since 1995. He showed me a device that he helped develop to irrigate the wounds. The work these two do is so intense and heart-wrenching at times. I wanted to know what they do to take their minds off of such intensive interventions. It turns out that Kathlen is quite the world traveler and just returned from two weeks in Paris. Talk about getting away from your work…that’s the way to do it! Jim was an avid surfer in California and Puerto Rico, but now prefers to spend his time with his car collection.

andy kroner dietary services manager

Andy Kroner, Dietary Services Manager

No one looks good in a hair net!

I had to think long and hard about adding a picture to this publication of me in a hairnet…BUT, I have made a commitment that I will be transparent with all of you, and if that means publicly sharing a less than flattering photo of myself, so be it. But hairnets are required in the kitchen, for everyone.

Structure through Logistics

Andy Kroner is relatively new to the Healey Center and comes with a fascinating background that he taps into in his role as Dietary Manager. He spent years opening up Target stores across the country and prior to that had a military background. That combination of logistical skills serves us well as he puts process after process in place. His approach to meals and inventory is methodical. He has notebooks for meals and lists for tasks that need to be accomplished every day. He even created order in the freezer, refrigerator and dry pantry by labeling the shelving units and consistently stocking in the same place.

One of his more popular additions to the Healey was the “Meal on Demand.” This allows a resident to order from a fixed menu if he doesn’t care for the hot meal.

Think grilled cheese, hamburgers, and chicken sandwiches and so on. Other positive changes include the introduction of the improved uniforms for staff. He has stepped up the image of the team and insists on excellent customer service from all of his team members.

not your mothers kitchen team

Not your mother’s kitchen

Perhaps it comes as no surprise to anyone in our highly regulated health care organization, but the oversight of the kitchen is intense. When the surveyors come in they look at everything. And I mean everything! I recall a survey finding in another facility where unopened can tops were dusty (not expired), and the surveyor wrote this up. But rest assured, with Andy and his fine team in place, they not only please the Healey residents, but satisfy the strictest surveyor.