By John Lynds
East Boston Times-Free Press
EAST BOSTON, Mass. — For over seventy years the Sons of the Divine Providence have been the owners of the Don Orione Nursing Home on Orient Avenue in East Boston. As Eastie's only nursing home and rehab facility, the Don Orione has had a mixed reputation in the neighborhood over the years. Some years the nursing home would get rave reviews and other years it would struggle to maintain clients.
A lot of the Don Orione's reputation hinged on which management company was working for the Sons of Divine Providence to oversee the sprawling facility.
Two years ago the facility seemed to hit rock bottom and was cited by the state for 20 deficiencies. However, things seem to be looking up for the Don Orione after Tom Lynch and his management team, the Advocate Group, arrived about a year and a half ago. "There were different management groups over the years, some good, some not so good," said Lynch. "It's an amazing facility with a rich history but it has definitely had its peaks and valleys." When Lynch and his group arrived, he immediately set out to tackle those 20 deficiencies.
"The nursing home went from being cited those 20 times in 2015 before we arrived to having zero deficiencies a year later," said Lynch. "We really turned it around and had the best survey in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
The Advocate Group's work at the Don Orione has been so positive that for the first time in history the Sons of Divine Providence have decided to sell the nursing home to Lynch's group.
"We have a purchase and sale agreement and we should finalize the sale in about 3 to 6 months," said Lynch. "The Fathers have been so happy with the way we've run the nursing home and all the positive changes that have been made that they really wanted us to take over the physical property."
Lynch's group has already invested $1 million into the building and completed several improvements to the facade, added new furnishings, and painted interior rooms. The group now plans to invest another $9 million over the next several years.
"It's the only nursing home and rehabilitation facility in East Boston and has been part of this community for so long we want to make the investment so it remains part of this community for another 70 years."
However, Lynch said none of this would be possible without the dedicated employees al the nursing home.
"I have some employees that have worked here for 40 plus years but a lot of times weren't given the tools they needed to make the facility a success," said Lynch. 'The quality care to the patients was always there, so we really want to thank them for their work."
On Friday Lynch's group will have a special event at the nursing home to honor the Don Orione's employees.
"We just want to honor the employees and thank them for dedicating their lives to this facility," said Lynch. "There will be a luncheon and an awards ceremony. We want all of our employees to stay with us and grow with us. If you don't have great employees, you can't do great work—and we are blessed that we have great employees al the Don Orione."