By Laura Plummer, Special to the Gazette
What is Sherrill House?
Located on the border of Jamaica Plain and Brookline, Sherrill House at 135 South Huntington Street is a nursing home that has been serving people from around the state for over a hundred years. Founded in 1907, Sherrill House offers three programs: a short-term rehabilitation program, traditional long-term care, as well as a program serving those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Sherrill House, named for Episcopal Bishop Henry Knox Sherrill in 1970, was first known as the Windsor Home, an elder care facility for women in Roxbury in the late 1800s. In 1910, the operation was moved to Jamaica Plain with a facility serving 25 women. Sherrill House saw many permutations before becoming the community staple it is today in 2007.
That year, Sherrill House completed a multi-year renovation, culminating in a modern facility with 196 beds that was voted among the best nursing homes by U.S. News and World Report for 2018-2019. It was also voted a Preferred Site by the town of Brookline, and it partners with all major hospitals as well as academic medical centers in the Greater Boston area.
Who Comes to Sherrill House?
People come to Sherrill House for long-term care, dementia and Alzheimer’s care and short-term rehabilitation.
Residents in the long-term care facility enjoy round-the-clock, individualized care with a focus on enhancing independence, mobility and social skills. Nurses assist residents with things like pain management, I.V. and other therapies and diabetes care.
Sherrill House is one of the few elder care facilities in the country specializing in patients with dementia (specifically Lewy Body Dementia or LBD) and Alzheimer’s. These patients receive highly personalized treatment by an interdisciplinary staff working to enhance their quality of life while also raising awareness about the disease.
Short-term rehab is offered through the Return to Home™ program for patients who will require a period of recovery following illnesses such as pneumonia or stroke, or surgery such as hip replacement or amputations. Return to Home™ helps these patients to regain mobility and independence in their daily lives with the dedication of physical, speech and occupational therapists.
Whether they are staying for a few weeks or a few years, patients at Sherrill House are offered the same industry-leading comforts of home during their stay. Living areas include private rooms, cleaning and laundry services, cheerful dining areas, park views, a hair salon, as well as standard technologies such as phones, television and internet. Patients can also visit with their families in the library, garden, solarium, outdoor patio and many common areas.
Sherrill House also offers a number of unique programs that set it apart from others in the industry. One of these is an award-winning music therapy program.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is where “music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.” Music therapy has proven especially successful in treating patients with dementia.
Kshitij Rawal is a full-time music/expressive therapist at Sherrill House, and provides both group and private sessions for patients. Rawal, who was born and raised in New Delhi, “grew up in a family of social workers and activists”, and was passionate about combining his love for music with his desire to improve the lives of others.
In his own words, music therapy is “a special use of music to build relationships with a variety of populations of different ages and needs.”
Sherrill House boasts a robust volunteer program. Volunteers provide companionship, bring their therapy animals to cheer patients, lead workshops, staff special events and provide clerical help.
The Chaplaincy program at Sherrill House provides diverse spiritual services for patients of all faiths. These services include counseling, end-of-life planning, worship services, Bible study groups, holiday celebrations and literature.
Sherrill House also prioritizes inviting speakers and performers from the community to visit patients in order to enhance their quality of life. These can include visiting clergy, church musical groups, authors and leading experts in the field of aging.
Residents and patients have endless opportunities to engage in fun and life-enhancing activities every day of the week, from trivia, bingo and board games to movie nights, arts and crafts and tea time.
A departure from the standard for-profit model of care, Sherrill House is a nonprofit facility, which allows it to focus on its mission is to provide top-notch medical care to patients rather than trying to please investors.
“We call it the not-for-profit difference,” said CEO Patrick Stapleton in en email. “The focus is always on stakeholders and never on shareholders.”
Funding for Sherrill House’s diverse programming comes from the ministries of Trinity Church in downtown Boston and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, as well as the combined assets of St. Luke’s Home for Convalescents and the Frank Wood Convalescents Home. Sherrill House also depends on the generous donations of trustees, friends, family and several foundations.
Despite being rooted in religious institutions, Sherrill House welcomes visitors of all faiths and participation in faith-based programming is never a requirement.
“We are a very diverse population that directly reflects the diversity of the City of Boston,” said Stapleton.
For more information on Sherrill House, visit sherrillhouse.org. Potential patients can also read reviews on this U.S. News and World Report nursing home ratings web page and the Nursing Home Compare website managed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.