In 1957, Ruth Braun opened her own nursing home on First Avenue. She was a nurse, and knew the community needed such a facility.
She continued to run the skilled nursing facility until 1993, when she stepped away and leased the building to other operators. But three years ago, when the lease of the latest operator expired, the next generation of Brauns stepped in.
Braun’s Nursing Home was reborn, now under the direction of Peggy Braun and her niece and nephew, David Braun and Melissa Tiemann. As it was for their grandmother, David and Melissa say their small, family-owned business can offer a high level of care and attention.
“We’re not affiliated with any other facility, and we kind of like it that way,” says Melissa. “I think we are pretty user-friendly. We know who our residentsare, and we know their families. We are proud to be a local, family-owned business.”
Ruth Braun passed away in 1999. Peggy, along with David and Melissa’s father Michael Braun, had retained ownership of the building during the years when it was leased. It was Peggy who suggested David and Melissa join her in taking over operations in 2011.
“It was a time when a lot of people were getting out of the business, we were getting in,” says David. “But I think it was a good decision for us.”
For the last two years, Braun’s Nursing Home has been given an overall five-star rating by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, placing it in the top 20 percent of nursing homes in Indiana. U.S. News and World Report rated Braun’s as a Best Nursing Home for 2014.
“This was a group effort. We highly attribute the success to our hands-on staff,” says Melissa. “Those are the people taking care of the residents. I think that is a big deal.”
When Ruth Braun first started the business, it was in a Victorian home in the middle of the 900 block of First Avenue. Over time, the family acquired more parcels to the north and south, eventually demolishing the old structure and constructing the 71-bed facility that exists today.
Today, Peggy is the facility’s administrator. David is the financial officer. And Melissa is the operations officer. Because there is no corporate office to report to, Braun’s can meet requests more quickly, they say. For example, says David, if a patient needs a new mattress, one can be purchased in just a few hours, rather than waiting days for approval and delivery.
“Because we are small, every admission we have, we introduce ourselves and get to know the family and the resident,” says David. “Last week, we had a resident who wanted Netflix, so I set that up for him. It is that kind of thing I think we do really well.”
David says another thing Braun’s does is carefully explain the circumstances under which a patient qualifies for a nursing home stay.
“You can’t just use your Medicare, you have to be in a hospital to qualify,” he says. “So we really try to slow people down and educate them.”
Braun’s offers both short- and long-term care. For short-term patients, Braun’s nursing and rehabilitation services include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, cardiovascular care, orthopedic recovery, cognitive care, wound management, coordination of dialysis care, and more. For long-term care, restorative care, palliative care, and hospice services are available when needed.
“We maintain a high staff-to-patient ratio,” says Melissa. “We don’t have anyone holding us back in care areas. That benefits our staff because they have more help, and it benefits the residents. That’s the No. 1 thing, making sure the residents have the help that they need. That’s our business.”
When the Braun family returned to the business operations, they debated about whether to go back to the original Braun’s Nursing Home name or use something different. They chose to stick with the original, even if that’s caused some misconceptions.
“People will say ‘So it’s just a nursing home. You guys don’t do therapy,’” says David. “But yes, we do a lot of therapy. We do all of that.”
Most of the residents at Braun’s come from the two Evansville hospitals, while a few come from home and assisted living facilities. Braun’s is centrally located within the city at 909 First Ave., just north of Downtown.
“It’s almost like we’re a little secret,” says David. “When people come in, they are pleasantly surprised by the facility, with staff always around and ready to help. We are trying to reestablish ourselves in the market. I feel like if I can get you in the building, talk to you, and show you around, you’ll like it. You’re sold. There are people out there who can really benefit from what we do.”
For more information about Braun’s Nursing Home, call 812-423-6214 or visit braunsnursinghome.com.