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Blue Valley names Juanes as CEO

As Silvester Juanes looks back, he sees himself as earning a well-rounded, hands-on education in nursing home care.
Juanes is the new chief executive officer at Blue Valley Lutheran Homes in Hebron. His start date was Feb. 1.
From dietary to delving into problem facilities, Juanes  has filled 640 hours of internships with every facet of long term care, including the executive level.
As a result, he has crafted a set of goals for Blue Valley’s three buildings — spanning the stages of independent living to Alzheimer’s – that are based around quality of life and care as the primary objectives.
“One thing we are doing is integrating the community,” Juanes said about the elevated boxes maintenance will build for the gardening season. The horseshoe parking lot in front of the long term care building where Juanes has his office, is fit for farmers’ markets.
“I want to do more fun things with our residents,” Juanes said. “Improving the quality of life is our primary goal.”
A committee has been formed to plan for fun, like a prom night for the elderly, complete with a king and queen, or a pancake feed.
Juanes is eager. He is eager to plug Blue Valley’s staff. He is eager to explain Blue Valley’s five-star rating.
“We go above and beyond what is expected. We have dedicated workers. I can’t say enough about their willingness to do whatever needs to be done. It’s very impressive,” he said, adding the magnitude of the staff’s zeal is something he has never seen before.
In the nursing home industry, a solid staff is a precious commodity. Staff turnover is a major issue as baby boomers are flooding the long term care sector.  
“It’s hard to keep up. We have facilities opening up and not enough staff to fill them. We have more facilities than staff,” he said.
Juanes said Hebron is in a unique quandary simply because it’s rural.
A model has been developed to retain employees.
“In every step of the way, we have a process in place that entices them to continue their career here, and keeping good people,” Juanes said.
He’s working with multiple state agencies, educational institutions and local organizations to present the model.
Nursing homes are also the second most regulated next to nuclear power plants by the state and federal government.
Juanes said he watches legislature activity and he is prepared for an audit every day.
“We operate as though we will be audited every single day,” he said, meaning staff perform their roles according to state and federal guidelines.
Financially, Juanes is aware of how much the budget requires of him.
“I’m always looking at ways to save money, but ensuring we meet our standard of quality care,” he said.
Meanwhile, Juanes is content to be in Hebron.
“This is home, the open lands and farms,” he said.
Juanes comes from a family of migrant workers from Brownsville, Texas. Every year until he was 16, he made the trip back and forth from Texas to the fields of Venango, which is southwest of Ogallala.
His older brother was eventually married in Nebraska, and Juanes decided to stay with him. Juanes knows farms well – he’s operated everything from a grain cart to a grain elevator.
He recently received the distinguished graduate award for migrant workers from the Nebraska Department of Education.
His path to degrees in neuroscience and gerontology is unconventional. Juanes didn’t earn his GED until age 26.
He said his father-in-law encouraged him to return to school.
“He’s a big advocate for higher education,” Juanes said.
Juanes lives in Hebron with his wife, Char and three children

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