God's Lovely Living set to open in Eden

Entrepreneur brings first-world style senior care to Montego Bay

Observer writer

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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Five years ago, a Jamaican-born United States citizen, Tyra Channer, received news that her mother had experienced a stroke. The stroke, fortunately, was not severe enough to cost her mother's life but a long period of rehabilitation would be needed for her return to health. So Channer set about looking for a nursing home in the Montego Bay area to facilitate her mother's recovery.

It was a process that would eventually lead to her opening her own nursing home five years later called the GLL (God's Lovely Living) Nursing and Rehabilitation Home in Eden on the outskirts of Montego Bay.

Her initial quest to find a facility for her mother took her to a number of facilities within the city and its environs. She did not find a place that she thought would be ideal for her parent but along the way she gained a greater awareness of the quality and standard of many of the facilities that were available.

“Many of the nursing homes I looked at were not up to the expectations I had in mind,” Channer told Sunday Finance.

“In a number of locations space was an issue. Homes had small, limited indoor space and very little outdoor space. I saw beds in living rooms in some instances. Many beds were not even medical beds. When this is the case, these nursing homes are unable to provide a lot of physical activity for patients.”

She realised that these factors contributed to a stigma when it came to nursing homes. She asked a lot of people in Montego Bay for advice during her search and the responses were mostly negative and critical of such institutions.

Channer could not find the nursing home she was looking for in Montego Bay, and her mother is now doing better, but Channer was left with a strong desire to see such a facility in the area.

“That is when the idea was born to open my own nursing home in Montego Bay,” she reveals. “I felt that the place I was looking for ought to exist and be available to the communities in this region of the country.”

Channer's professional experience comes from the medical industry in the United States. She worked with the American Diabetes Association as an associate manager for the professional membership department. Currently, she is involved in the administration of the Ophthalmology Department for children of the Children's National Medical Centre in Washington DC.

Over the past five years, with the help of her husband who is a businessman originally from Montego Bay, Channer's vision has gone from planning to implementation and the GLL Nursing and Rehabilitation Home is now ready for its first residents.

The home features a mix of private and semi-private rooms, as well as a host of amenities and speciality services, to make residents feel as if they are in a health care resort.

GLL is a 50-bed senior care facility. It offers assisted living and geriatric care with high-end finishes, multiple dining options, and integrated technology and concierge services.

Added features that will offer the families and relatives of GLL residents greater peace of mind include in-room surveillance cameras for family members to monitor, as well as electrical beds and personalised call buttons for each patient.

“We are bringing first-world standards to this region of the island and we are very excited about that.” Channer told Sunday Finance. “The nursing home concept is out the door because your standard of living shouldn't be compromised because you require senior care.”

With the facilities now completed, the process of reaching the market has begun. GLL is a family-owned venture and the marketing communications channels that they have opted to utilise have been chosen for a more personal approach.

Social media is being used, as well as disseminating information through local church organisations and communities. Currently the facility is receiving between 20 and 30 messages per day and bookings have already been confirmed. GLL is expecting the arrival of their first clients in January 2019.

Also set for January is the addition of a rehabilitation centre to serve clients of all ages. Its purpose is to facilitate rapid recovery and to restore quality of life to patients and residents. It will include a state-of-the-art physical therapy suite that will specialise in orthopaedic, cardiac and stroke rehabilitation programmes.

Channer emphasises that her long-term vision is not just to provide a high standard of service as a nursing home but to inspire future providers to raise the overall quality of the service currently available to clients in this part of the country. It is a mission that has spanned five years since she decided to pursue this path, but it is really just beginning.

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