“Quality focused care, one resident at a time”
New Port Inn is an assisted living community in the town of New Port Richey, Pasco County, Florida. According to its Executive Director, Lara Kelley, the property, which was built in 1986, has always been devoted to senior housing, but was only acquired by its current management company about eight years ago. New Port Inn offers the following care levels: Assisted Living, Independent Living, Memory Care, and Respite or Short-Term Care.
Kelley breaks down the numbers and explains New Port Inn’s housing strategy. “We have a total of 126 apartments; 28 of those are in our secured memory center,” she says. “There are two dedicated respite care beds – one in independent living and one in the memory care center. The remaining apartments are an independent/assisted mix. There are no segregated, assisted or independent wings, or other set-up of that nature; they’re co-mingled. And the reason for that is if somebody were to move in as an independent resident and then, as they age, and their needs change, they will not have to move again.”
There are approximately 60 staff members with a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), onsite, 24/7. Services provided at New Port Inn include: 24-Hour Emergency Call System, Home Health Services Available, Rehab and Physical Therapy Services Onsite, Housekeeping, Transportation to Local Doctors and Shopping, Pharmacy Services, Resident Trust Account and Banking Services, Notary/Fax Services, Visiting Podiatrists and Primary Care Physicians, Daily Activities, Social Events, and Excursions, Exercise Programs, and Three Meals a Day, Restaurant Style. Amenities include: a Game Room, a Beauty Salon/Barber Shop, a Library, a TV Lounge, a Sundries Shop, and a Coffee Bar.
New Port Inn’s residents are approximately 80 percent local. In most cases, though, the remaining 20 percent have adult children living in the area, and the competition for residents in this part of Florida’s western Gulf Coast is considerable. “This particular demographic has everything from the small mom and pop facilities to the large, corporate, publicly-traded structures,” says Kelley. “We have positioned ourselves somewhere in the missing niche between those two. So, while we do compete with the larger places – we put in a price point a little bit underneath the price point that they offer –we typically tend not to compete with the very small, privately-owned facilities.
“What we’re really trying to create here is an opportunity in Pasco – where there wasn’t one before – to find affordable, senior care for loved ones that is local, within budget, and provides the same quality of care as the more expensive properties at a more affordable cost. Because we do realize that our target audience is on a tighter budget in this area than they might be in, say, Pinellas County, just a few miles down the road where your financial demographic is much higher.”
Kelley came to New Port Inn about three and half years ago with a mandate to rebrand the facility and institute a new marketing plan. “My background is in marketing senior housing,” she says. “So when I got here, one of my initiatives was to completely rebrand and get our name out there. There was no web presence. Now we have a solid web presence and we redesigned all of our collateral material. We do print ads with our local newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times, and some smaller places too, like the local shopper guides. Also, HOA guides are inexpensive and our target demographic tends to read them cover to cover. We have partnered with some of the web referral portals, like A Place For Mom, and five or six other more locally-based web referrals. So that helps us, as well. And then last, but definitely not least, is our community involvement. We’re part of the Chamber, we do a lot of sponsorships, we try to get our name out at a very grassroots level, and just stay very well-connected. It’s a small community, here. Everybody kind of knows everybody else, and that makes it critical to consistently stay community-minded.”
In addition to offering its own assisted living and healthcare services, Kelley sees New Port Inn as an important informational resource for families in the area who are looking for senior care options. “Even if they don’t choose us, these adult children have no working knowledge of this industry. And it can be a full-time job to find mom or dad the right place,” she explains. “So, we really wanted to make it very clear in all of our advertising and all of the collateral that we send out: ‘just come to us.’ Even if you don’t choose us, you can tell us specifically what you’re looking for. I’ve been in the area twelve years and I know all the buildings. I know the small ones, the big ones, and everything in between; all their price points and all their services. So we’re happy to spend the time with the families and get them on to the right place if we, for any reason, aren’t it. We know the local elder care attorneys; the places to call to get the VA assistance; or if they need to talk to someone who can assist with Medicaid processing; etc. Whatever it might be, we can, at least, jump start them and they can do that one-stop-shopping here versus walking into a place, walking out, and starting all over again. And that’s worked out for us because it’s helped build our relationships with other properties.”
Of course, Kelley always hopes that New Port Inn is, ultimately, a family’s choice and she is more than ready to state the reasons why: “We’ve tried to really create a family culture and atmosphere” she states. “We try to do multi-generational things like bringing in small children and comingling the generations when we can. The staff and the residents are professionally close and we try to keep those relationships open so that it feels like home. And we try to foster longevity with our staff. I think that’s very important for the seniors when they move in somewhere – to see the same faces. Industry-wide, unfortunately, there’s a fairly high turnover; we’re really working hard to keep some sustainability with our team members.”
Kelley says that while no major expansions of the Inn are being planned for the immediate future, there are constant improvements being made to the property. New Port Inn’s Executive Director understands that, even though the facility’s mission statement may be “Quality Focused Care, One Resident at a Time,” its ability to stay in business so that it can offer that high quality care – and offer it consistently – must be based on a sound business model that includes continual property improvement, staff retention, and proactive marketing. “The biggest thing for any assisted living facility,” she says, “is to build and stabilize your census with a good pay source and to keep your numbers steady as time goes on.”
AT A GLANCE
WHO: New Port Inn
WHAT: An Assisted Living community
WHERE: New Port Richey, Florida