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Business Plan by Drexel Graduate Student Becomes Innovative, Cost-saving Measure for Caregivers

SACRAMENTO, CA, August 8, 2012

Ron Ordona

Who says that schoolwork doesn't pay off?

Ron Ordona, like countless others before him, finds that schoolwork does pay off, and sometimes, literally.

Ordona is a registered nurse who received a Master of Science in Nursing degree from Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions in 2010. Ordona's schoolwork in one of his classes for the master's study was a business plan that he's now successfully using to develop a new model for residential-care homes.

Ordona developed the Care Home by RNs business and care model as a classroom project as a student at Drexel. Ordona said Cheryl Portwood, an assistant clinical professor and director of the leadership track, was a major influence who encouraged him and other Drexel classmates to think "out of the box" in striving to become health care systems leaders.

Drexel University's Sacramento Center for Graduate Studies has expanded on the University's commitment to health care leadership by launching an MBA specialization in Health Care Administration. The program, which starts this fall, will help supply Sacramento's health care industry with creative, innovative leaders like Ron Ordona.

Ordona's idea has gone from the classroom to the real world with excellent results - growing from one California home in 2008 to five homes in 2011, with two more in the pipeline.

Ordona, along with other nurses who partner with him, owns the business and helps supervise the care in a growing number of California residential facilities, including the first one in Lincoln, two in Granite Bay, and one each in Sacramento and South San Francisco. The homes are supervised by RNs/LVNs, an innovation in this category of the health system where the majority of care homes are owned and operated by non-medical professionals.

Another major innovation that Care Home By RNs has pioneered was the pilot study led by Ordona in the use of a smart-bed technology - the first facility to use the technology in the U.S. Mats are used to measure heart rate, respiratory rate and detect movement.

The technology, called Touchless Life Care (TLC), owned by BAM Labs, Inc., allows Ordona and his team to monitor bed exits (helps prevent falls), bed turns (helps prevent and manage pressure sores); and overall monitoring of trending in heart and respiratory rate (allows the on-call nurse to see data over time that may reflect a change in resident condition).

"I'm very proud of Ron. Care Home by RNs was built on the business plan he developed at Drexel," Portwood said. "The model is dynamite, and Ron now has five residential facilities, each accommodating six residents that are all in lovely homes in nice communities. I visited two of them when I was in the Sacramento area. He has done a tremendous job, taking an original idea as a Drexel student, creating a plan for an innovative care facility, and then making it work."

Ordona is a consultant to care facility owners and staff members, and helps monitor the residents. Ordona also works part-time as a Patient Care Resource nurse at UC Davis Medical Center, while also studying to be a Nurse Practitioner at San Francisco State University.

"I would like to see more nurses (RNs/LVNs) get involved in community-based long term residential level of care," Ordona said. "I believe that this is where the future care of our seniors is headed - home-based care. Nurses being actively involved in this care will help assure that the care given in long term residential care is safe and of high quality."

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