BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - What makes Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights special? Aside from their top ratings by US News and World Report "Best of" ranking -- it's important to meet the people behind these top ratings.

TAPinto had the opportunity to sit with Autumn Lake Administrator Ben Basch, LNHA,CDP.

Now in his fourth month at Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights, Basch wants to make a difference here in Berkeley Heights. 

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He loves how Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights is a big family. "And that's the amazing part about being here," said Basch. It's not unusual to see Basch walking the halls with a resident on his arm. He interacts with the patients every day. "I'm on the floors every day saying 'Hello.' I'm obviously not a clinician -- but, you can step in and say hi and make sure the patient and family's needs are taken care of. -- That's what we're here for -- the little things -- interacting with the residents makes a difference in their lives every day," said Basch. 

At Autumn Lake, "Everyone knows each other," he said. "The staff knows every resident, they know the residents' needs, the personalities -- it's not just cookie cutter, so to speak. We see dedication of the staff, giving each resident the attention that they need -- we customize so the residents get the care that they need." 

Basch loves that Autumn Lake is part of the Berkeley Heights community. "You feel that we are part of the community," he said. Autumn Lake is host to many community-wide events like the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, the upcoming Easter Egg Hunt, Bingo nights, and several groups visit to entertain and socialize with the residents.

Basch has a Bachelors and Master's degree in accounting. He started his career as an accountant in the private healthcare sector. After following the perfect career path as an accountant, he realized he wasn't fulfilled and wanted to become an administrator. "I knew I wanted to make a difference -- I wanted to have interaction with the residents and make a difference in their lives. I wanted to pave the way for the next generation to get where we need to be for the aging population."

To become a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator, you need to take 100 hours of classes, said Basch.  In addition to the class time, a prospective administrator needs 1,750 hours of training in order to sit for the test and get a license. "You have to be passionate about what you do," he said, "When you enjoy your job, it makes the job easier."

TAPinto: How do you make families more at ease about their decision?

Basch: We want to put the families at ease when they make that important decision to accept more help for their loved one. We're just putting you in a place where we can care for your loved one and keep them safe 24/7. You always can come visit  -- always communicate with us. We're here to work with the family. We're not taking them away from the family.

TAPinto: Is there any words of advice when a family is looking into a nursing facility? When is it the right time to place a loved one in a nursing home?

Basch: We have to do what's best for Mom or Dad. You know we're here to help out if you can't take care of Mom or Dad. Give us a call. 

Sometimes reality is hard to accept. We'll go the extra mile if the family is having a hard time accepting different support. We have different avenues we know of that may not be readily available through the community. A lot of times I think that the family feels like they're failing. It's just the next chapter of care. We're just putting you in a place where we could care for them. And keep them safe 24/7.

TAPinto: What is your favorite thing about your job?

Basch: Aside from providing top care for our residents and families, I feel the support from the community. We keep up the standards of care and I'm proud to represent the community in the right way. -- We get a lot of Berkeley Heights residents -- to take care of our own, so to speak. 

TAPinto: What do you do for fun?

Basch: Aside from raising my four young children, I am a big sports fan and enjoy playing sports.

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Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights earned the U.S. News and World Report "Best Of" rating for 2019/2020 Elite Skilled Nursing Facility for both Short Term Rehabilitation and Long Term Care.  

Autumn Lake Healthcare at Berkeley Heights is located at 35 Cottage Street in Berkeley Heights. To learn more visit their website https://www.autumnlakehcberkeleyheights.com/ or call 908.897.1000.