Brandenburg will be stepping down as administrator
By Laurelle Walsh
Sheila Brandenburg, founder and chief administrator at Jamie’s Place adult family homes in Winthrop, is stepping down from her leadership and nursing roles in the organization. Brandenburg cites personal and family responsibilities as reasons for her departure, but said she “may be involved with Jamie’s Place in some capacity” — such as a seat on the board of directors — in the future.
“This has been a huge, personal, wonderful journey,” Brandenburg said. “I’m invested in seeing this place succeed and continue to grow.”
Although her resignation is effective Sept. 30, Brandenburg figures she will have wrapped up her job by the end of the year, she told the News.
“I’m dealing with a lot of issues that the families here have been dealing with,” said Brandenburg, whose father is a resident at Jamie’s Place. “I want to spend more quality time with him … but it’s hard to be the daughter, the boss and the RN and deal with all these roles at once,” she said. “I’m really good at this with other people, but not so much on my own.”
Helping her brothers run their father’s out-of-state business in his absence is another challenge that is pulling her away, Brandenburg said. “I watch families struggle with these kinds of issues all the time,” she said.
A residential model
Brandenburg has been involved in every aspect of Jamie’s Place — operated since 2013 by Methow Valley Family Home Center Association — since its beginnings in 2006.
“We are very appreciative of Sheila’s amazing service and care,” board president Sue Peterson said. “She was helping this place grow even before we opened.”
Brandenburg was a nurse with Okanogan Home Health and Hospice, when the The Cove board of directors asked her to help them develop a residential model for the elderly in the Methow Valley. While researching options, Brandenburg learned of the Green House Project, a nationwide model for licensed, elder-centered homes, and The Cove set out to build one in Winthrop, the first — and so far only — Green House in the state of Washington.
Working within the restrictions of state and federal requirements for adult family homes, in 2007 The Cove opened its first six-resident home — Jamie’s Place — with Brandenburg as chief administrator and RN. In February 2009 a second home — Mountain View — opened next door.
“It’s no longer realistic for Jamie’s Place to be solely administered by one person,” Brandenburg said. The board has restructured the position, for which two people — nurse practitioner Kevan Coffey and administrator Jim Grinnell — have been hired to fulfill the duties. Coffey started her job last week, and Grinnell is expected to start by the first of November.
Jamie’s Place also recently identified the need for two house managers, whose responsibilities will include quality assurance and staff support. Certified nursing assistants Angie Ochoa and Mallory Brandenburg (Brandenburg’s daughter) took over those roles at the beginning of September.
Looking ahead, Brandenburg, who has taught for several years in the nursing program at Wenatchee Valley College, said she hopes to help the college develop a program for home care aids who wish to continue their education to become certified nursing assistants. “I want to help people who start out at the entry level to work up to more career possibilities,” Brandenburg said.
Celebration and capital campaign
Jamie’s Place invites the community to celebrate the contributions of Sheila Brandenburg at a retirement party on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. at the Winthrop Barn. The organization will also launch a capital campaign at the same event.
October starts a year-long fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $600,000 to pay off the mortgages on Jamie’s Place and Mountain View homes.
According to capital campaign literature, without the mortgage burden Jamie’s Place will be able to offer “sustainable wages” to its caregivers, keep its facilities in good repair and continue to offer both Medicaid and private-pay rooms for its residents.
For more information, call 996-4417.