A conversation with Kimberly Green about somebody who’s life had been changed as a result of working with Diakonos.

By Pam McDonald

Kimberly Green is the Chief Operating Officer for Diakonos Group based in Oklahoma, which offers the full spectrum of long-term care in its 22 buildings. Steve asked Kimberly if she had a story about somebody who’s life had been changed as a result of working with Diakonos — whether it was a resident, family or team member.

The First Step

Kimberly recalled a time when she was running a rehab company and noticed a young woman, a CNA, who Kimberly says, “just really had ‘it.’ You know you meet those people that have it. She was always the first person to the call light, the first person to get something. I never had to ask her to do anything.”

Kimberly described how one day she said to the staff member, “You ought to think about coming to work as a rehab tech or a restorative aide. She really liked the idea of being a restorative aide, so the company sent her to school. She came back and she was the best restorative aide I’d ever seen.

Upward Momentum

“A little while longer goes by and I’m like, ‘I have an opening for a rehab tech. Have you thought about working for a rehab company instead of the health care side?’ So she wanted to be a rehab tech.”

Kimberly continues, “I was watching her with the PTs and OTs, and she just got it, you know, she was like a sponge. So I told her she ought to go to therapy school and asked if she’d ever thought about being a physical therapy or occupation therapy assistant.”

The woman responded that nobody in her family had ever been to college and she was raising eight children so she didn’t think she could do it. Kimberly said, “I know you’re struggling with your kids. It takes 18 months to be a therapy assistant . . . where will you be in 18 months if you don’t do this?

“Eighteen months from now if you don’t [go to school] you’re still going to be struggling to pay your rent, you’re still going to be struggling to buy the clothes for your kids.”

Continued Advancement

Kimberly pointed out to her that she works for a rehab company that will help her through it, advised her to get some aid through the state, and informed her the company would have her work PRN on the weekends. Kimberly told her to “keep her head up, and say ‘I’m in school; I’m bettering myself.’ She started school and would call about once a week crying, ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this.” She end up getting through it, graduated, and called me sobbing.

“Even though she had a career as a CNA, she didn’t feel like she did. She said, ‘I can tell people that I’m a physical therapy assistant. I’m the first person in my family to graduate college.’

“She went from making minimum wage basically back then up to making a salary, a real salary that could take care of her family. She had benefits; I mean great benefits . . . [and] worked for a national company.”

Changing Lives

Several years ago Kimberly reconnected with this woman on Facebook. Kimberly says, “The woman wanted to thank me. She said her two oldest children are now enrolled in college and that path totally changed her entire family.”

To watch the video, please click the link below:

Diakonos Group has 22 communities in Oklahoma and offers the full continuum of care, including intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IID) independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing long-term care, and post-acute transition care. The company also operates a hospice and a pharmacy.