By Natalie Johnson
Amid efforts to study the long-term care needs of the Methow’s elderly residents, Jamie’s Place announced recently that it has hired a new executive director — Rana Clarke, a longtime registered nurse and fairly recent transplant to the valley.
“I wasn’t looking for another job, but what happened from my perspective, is they posted the position for executive director and I just jumped on it,” Clarke said. “It was exactly where I wanted the rest of my nursing career to be, which is in caring for the elderly and that population.”
Clarke and her husband moved to the Methow Valley in 2018. Though they initially came here to look at a commercial property, like many others they fell in love with the area and began looking for a place to settle. After finding a property and what Clarke said is their “dream home,” she began working for Frontier Home Health and Hospice.
Clarke has worked as a registered nurse for more than 25 years, though the first part of her career was focused on critical care and surgery.
“In the latter part of my nursing career I really had a stronger focus on hospice and end of life and that’s kind of where my passion has been,” she said.
Her work with Frontier often brought her to the Methow and to Jamie’s Place. Because of that, she already had relationships with some of the residents.
Working in nursing during the COVID-19 pandemic, and particularly working with the elderly, gave Clarke a unique perspective on their needs and challenges.
“It’s really been a struggle during the time of COVID,” she said. “It just was really difficult emotionally as a nurse and a caregiver and just being out in the community.”
Working as the executive director at Jamie’s Place will give her the opportunity to focus on those issues and bring more attention to them, she said.
“I thought this will be a wonderful time to come work at Jamie’s Place and help bring some of these concerns to the community so that Jamie’s Place can continue to support our local elders,” she said.
Jamie’s Place is the only residential long-term care facility in the Methow Valley and has space for 12 seniors. Members of its board are part of a regional coalition called SASH, or Senior Assessment for Support and Housing, along with organizations including Methow at Home, Methow Housing Trust, Room 1, the Methow Valley Senior Center, Lookout Coalition, Confluence Clinic, Family Health Centers, TwispWorks, Aero Methow Rescue Service, Frontier Health and other community members.
In addition to boosting training and other programs at Jamie’s Place, Clarke said she’s excited to be involved with SASH as well.
“The research that we’ve done through SASH [shows], we should really have 70-plus skilled nursing beds available for our community, and we have 12 and they’re all full,” she said. “We’re looking for community feedback to figure out what can we do to help this community age in the way that they want to and support that need.”
For more information on SASH, go to https://tinyurl.com/jpsash.