Overseeing the smooth operation of a skilled nursing facility is no small task, but Robert Smolin has learned to take things one day at a time.
Smolin became the Administrator of New Community’s Extended Care Facility late last year and has taken the helm during a period of transition for the 180-bed nursing home. Extended Care, located at 266 South Orange Ave. in Newark, is in the process of opening a new specialized program for nursing home residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
“That’s a community need,” Smolin said of the anticipated opening of the new Alzheimer’s program. In addition, Smolin has drawn up a list of items he wants to tackle in his department: tracking outcomes and quality measures to promote high standards of care, marketing the nursing home to more physicians, and promoting the subacute nursing level along with the physical therapy and occupational therapy services offered at Extended Care.
“I pride myself on knowing rehab,” said Smolin, a licensed nursing home administrator, who spoke highly of the therapy services offered at New Community.
“Robert displays compassion and brings a great depth of experience in healthcare administration to New Community Extended Care,” CEO Richard Rohrman said. “Leading a large and complex department that provides services 24-hours a day is a major responsibility and Robert has readily taken on the challenges,” Rohrman added. Smolin officially started his role on Oct. 20, 2014. During the recent snowstorms this winter, Smolin helped to ensure that Extended Care operated smoothly, was staffed sufficiently and that resident care was the top priority.
From 2006 to 2014, Smolin worked as an administrator for Alaris Health’s sites in Guttenberg, Secaucus and Irvington. In his most recent position at the Guttenberg site, from 2010 to 2014, Smolin raised the facility’s rating from two stars to five stars and achieved a deficiency free survey in 2014. His previous employers include HCR Manor Care in Mountainside, Cambridge Healthcare in Norwood, Harbor View Health Care Center in Jersey City, St. Elizabeth Hospital in Elizabeth, Bayonne Hospital in Bayonne and the Jewish Home and Rehabilitation Center in Jersey City.
While studying as an undergrad at Rutgers-Newark, Smolin began working as a medical orderly (now called a Certified Nursing Assistant). It was during those years—where he prepared bodies for the morgue, assisted those dying of cancer, and readied patients for surgery—that Smolin became convinced that healthcare was his calling.
“It’s important to take care of the sick and dying,” he said.
In his first several months at NCC, Smolin’s passion has become evident to his colleagues.
“Mr. Smolin has proven to have the interest of the residents at heart. He is working hard trying to understand his staff in order to improve services,” said Director of Nursing Veronica Onwunaka, who described Smolin as “a team player.”
In his free time, Smolin enjoys taking walks or going on bike rides. Smolin is a lifelong New Jersey resident and he and his wife, Margaret, have four grown children: Samantha, Kenneth, Andrew and Hannah.