Dir. of Social Services Says He Found His “Track For The Long Term” At Oakland Grove
March celebrates National Social Work Month. At Athena Health Care Systems, we want to recognize our Social Services Departments and all the work they do, the contributions they make, and the impact they have on our residents and staff. Throughout the month of March, you will meet some of the faces behind the social work departments across our centers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Doug Klein III likes to ask himself, “What does home feel like?” when a new resident moves into Oakland Grove Health Care Center in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.
Klein has been the Director of Social Services at the center since September. He began his career with Athena as a social worker at Orchard View Manor in East Providence where he spent four years. Prior to working with the geriatric population, Klein spent 14 years working for the state as a child protective investigator at the Department of Children, Youth & Families. He says the transition was smoother than expected.
“It seems like it would be a big switch but certain things overlapped. I was ready for a change after being with DCYF for 14 years and then someone had mentioned long-term care facilities to me and I thought that was interesting,” he said.
Klein attended Salve Regina University in Newport for undergrad and graduate school, where he got a bachelor’s in social work. He holds a Nursing Home Administrator’s Certificate from St. Joseph’s College of Maine and is working to obtain an administrator license.
The Rhode Island native said there are many social issues that carried over from his previous career to working with the elderly population such as substance abuse, mental health issues, and behavioral challenges. However, he said that’s the intriguing part of what he does.
He enjoys the “chaos” of his duties at the center. While each day is a “fun challenge,” he likes that kind of work and likes helping others. His workload includes addressing both short-term and long-term stays. Short-term can include discharges and setting up in-home services whereas long-term is more so helping people adjust to the transition and making them comfortable in their new home.
“I’m really happy where I’m at currently and looking forward to the future. It’s just that day-to-day interaction with people and problem-solving,” Klein said. “We are in the industry where there’s going to be problems and challenges and we like those challenges and being able to overcome those barriers.”
The director said he has a great team at Oakland Grove. He was familiar with the staff and residents prior to joining the team as he had covered shifts at the building periodically while at Orchard View Manor. He has a personal philosophy pertaining to his career based on what he’s doing and where he wants to go but said Oakland Grove will be home for the long term.
Klein is proud to have visited all five of Athena’s Rhode Island facilities including Heatherwood Rehabilitation & Health Care Center in Newport, Summit Commons Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Providence, and Waterview Villa Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in East Providence. His advice to new and current social workers… “you can do this!”