Staying a while
NH resident hired as new administrator at Atrium
By Mark Sherry
Mark Sherry photo
Ericca Ylitalo, the new administrator of Atrium Post-Acute Care in New Holstein, chatted with resident Evangeline Draheim.

Ericca Ylitalo, the new administrator at Atrium Post-Acute Care, said she is looking forward to a long career at the New Holstein nursing facility.

While several administrators have come and gone over the past couple years at the facility, there is good reason to believe things might be different for Ylitalo.

Most importantly, she has already been residing in the community for about the past five years along with her husband and their three young children. In addition, she has about 10 years of experience in health care administration, so it is clearly a profession she enjoys.

Ylitalo said she first became interested in the care of society’s older population as a child. “When I was growing up my grandma was at our house for a couple months until she went to a nursing home,” she said.

Career in health care

While in high school in the Wausau area, Ylitalo worked as a medical records clerk at a health care clinic, and while in college worked in health information at a hospital. She also worked as a personal care worker for Lutheran Social Services.

When she and her husband brought their family to New Holstein in May 2011 because of his job relocation, she said she already had her eye on the administrator’s position at what was then called Homestead Care Center. She worked in administration at facilities in Sheboygan until the Atrium opportunity arose again, and as of Jan. 19 became its administrator.

Ylitalo said she has liked what she has seen at Atrium’s New Holstein facility from the first day she arrived. “The building and the staff here, there’s so much potential,” she said. “It’s really nice here.”

Ylitalo said she recalls what nursing homes were like just a few decades ago when her grandmother was at one. “There was definitely a different feel back then,” she said. Today there is an emphasis on the “home” part of nursing homes, and Ylitalo said that is definitely the case at the 60-bed Atrium Post-Acute Care in New Holstein. “It doesn’t feel institutional,” she said. “You walk in and there’s a warm feeling.”

New owner as of 2014

Atrium—which also has facilities in New Jersey—purchased 23 nursing homes or senior living facilities from Rice Health Care in 2014. The name also changed at that time. Many people continue to refer to the New Holstein facility as “the Homestead” and likely will for years, but Ylitalo said she is fine with that. She said she feels they have a staff and facility which make residents feel like they are at home. “We have the longevity in the staff,” Ylitalo said. “We have a very caring and compassionate staff. The staff is here for the right reasons.”

While only here about two months, Ylitalo said she has already identified one of her goals—to continue changes and renovations which will help attract more short-term and long-term therapy patients to the facility. Atrium Post-Acute Care has many private rooms and Ylitalo said the goal is to continue to modernize those rooms to give therapy patients a home-like atmosphere while they are staying there.

Atrium Post-Acute Care is again partnering with Greenfield Rehabilitation Agency to provide occupational, speech and physical therapy services to people of all ages. That includes residents of Atrium Post-Acute Care as well as area residents who are in need of outpatient, short-term, or long-term rehabilitation services.

Atrium Post-Acute Care in New Holstein has a separate therapy wing with its own entrance to make it convenient for therapy outpatients.

Atrium’s core values

In addition to continuing to promote the use of Atrium’s rehabilitation services, Ylitalo also will simply work to promote the core values of Atrium. The first letter of each of those values forms the word Atrium, as follows:

Accountable: We take full responsibility for our actions and work each day to deliver exceptional and compassionate resident and patient care.

Truthful: We build honest and open communication within our organization; amongst our partners and with the residents, patients and families we serve.

Respectful: We value our residents, patients, their families and our team members and pledge to treat them like a part of our family.

Inspired: We are passionate about our commitment to help residents and patients achieve positive outcomes and an enhanced quality of life.

United: We create a family-like environment by fostering supportive relationships and encouraging teamwork.

Motivated: We work together across all levels of our organization to support the ongoing professional growth and achievements of our team members.

Ylitalo incorporates those same values in her personal life. She said her family loves New Holstein and is getting involved in the public school system and the community. Ericca teaches Sunday School at Zion Lutheran Church and also is on a city committee which is presently exploring the possibility of getting a tow rope installed at the Optimist Park sled hill.

“I want to be more involved in the community,” she said. “We love the School District. We’re getting to know all the people in town. I’m planning on being here for the long term. I have a passion for this. I’m not planning on going anywhere.”