Taking the job of administrator at Hickory Creek at Huntington has been a "good, healthy change," says Brandon Kastner.
Kastner started at the non-profit Huntington nursing home on Jan. 28. Though he's a native of South Bend, coming to Huntington was something of a homecoming for Kastner.
"All my family's down here," he says, including his fiancé, who lives nearby in North Manchester.
Nursing home administration is something of a family business for the Kastners.
"I've kind of always been in this field, for sure," says Kastner. "My dad's an administrator who moved to Florida, so he's doing it down there."
After graduating from Manchester University, Kastner worked for two for-profit companies, one in a small town and another in Indianapolis, and so far he says he's enjoyed the switch to a nursing home that's non-profit.
"Big difference that I've noticed, even in the first two weeks of being here, is you're dealing a lot with Medicaid or Medicare, in that sense, but if we say to the higher-ups, ‘Hey, this person needs this kind of wheelchair, this kind of bed, this kind of whatever,' I don't have to go through 20 different people to get them to say ‘yes' or ‘no' to it.
"Guy up top's going to say ‘Yeah, if the resident needs it, this is what you're going to get,'" Kastner says.
Kastner says his vision for Hickory Creek going forward is for it to have a community center feel, erasing the notion that one can't enjoy themselves at a nursing home.
"Kind of make it comfortable for the community to come in here and whether they come in to sing or come in to help do whatever, play cards or anything, this is a comfortable place for anybody to be," Kastner says of his vision.
"I'm excited to see where we can go from here."
Complete caption: Brandon Kastner, the new administrator at Hickory Creek at Huntington, works in his office on Friday, Feb. 8. Kastner says his vision for the non-profit nursing home is to make it feel like a community center and be a comfortable place for anyone to spend time at.