Smithfield, Va. – Riverside Health System announced this week it has nameMegan Merritt, Riverside Smithfield Administratord Megan Merritt as its new administrator of Riverside Healthy Living Community-Smithfield. Nestled in the historic town of Smithfield, the retirement community offers respite, assisted living, memory care, long-term care or nursing home, and short-term rehabilitation, all on one single campus.

"I'm glad to be part of the Riverside team, especially here, in a place that feels so much like home," said Merritt.

In many ways, serving in this leadership role in Smithfield is like coming home for Merritt, who is no stranger to the Smithfield Riverside Healthy Living Community.

While in college, Merritt, a native of Mathews, Va. on the Middle Peninsula, worked as a certified nursing assistant in her hometown’s Riverside Convalescent Center-Mathews. Following graduation from Old Dominion University, she joined the Riverside Healthy Living Community-Smithfield team as a social worker.

Merritt left Riverside for a short period before returning to the health system in 2015 as the assisted living director at Riverside’s Sanders Retirement Village on Main Street in Gloucester, Va.

“Returning to Riverside was an easy choice for me,” Merritt said. “Having worked now with two different companies other than Riverside, I realized that Riverside’s ideals are more in line with my own – caring for residents as we would care for those we love.”

At Riverside Healthy Living Community-Smithfield, Merritt leads a state-of-the-art facility that embraces a household model of care where individual resident routines are known and respected. Residents arise when they choose, eat when they choose, and have the autonomy to be the driver of their daily lives.

A series of renovations in 2015 included a complete remodeling of the 34-year-old nursing home and the addition of memory support and assisted living apartments to the campus.

The nursing home, called Willow Creek, has 34 beds in order to create an intimate environment that fully supports the household model of care. The nursing home institution is replaced with an authentic home where residents receive a high level of quality clinical care in a highly residential setting. Each Willow Creek unit features private bedrooms and bathrooms and open dining and living areas. At the heart of the home sits a family-style kitchen meant to bring every aspect of home life to the forefront of daily living.

“The absolute best part of what I do is getting to know the residents,” Merritt said. “They all have such wonderful stories and I’m honored to be a part of this chapter in their lives.”

For more information on Riverside Healthy Living Community-Smithfield, visit riversideonline.com/smithfield.

Published: September 13, 2018