Employee Spotlight: Aprile Greene brings out the “home’’ in Homeland


Aprile Greene, CNA, dietary and activities aide at Homeland Center.The resident didn’t want breakfast. Her worried son told Aprile Greene that his mom wasn’t eating her oatmeal and eggs, but Aprile had an idea. She went into the kitchen for some applesauce.

It did the trick.

“You get to know the residents and what they like,” says Aprile. “I knew how to help her. She wanted something cold. She didn’t want something hot, and she ate the applesauce. She ate her yogurt, too, because it was cold. You have to put yourself in their shoes.”

Aprile, who came to Homeland in 2013, takes to heart that she’s a guest in the place that residents call home.

“What would they do at home? They would laugh. They would dance. They would sing if company came over,’’ Aprile says. “We may work here, but we’re like company to them. We’re in their house. We entertain each other. They keep me smiling. We keep them smiling.”

Before joining Homeland, Aprile worked as a medical assistant in a pediatrician’s office. Dealing with sick children and their parents took a toll on her, and every day, she carried the stress home with her. Then, at a laundromat, she met a woman who works at Homeland, who suggested she apply.

Aprile started as part-time in the dietary department. Six months later, Homeland paid for her to earn her CNA certification. Soon, she was working full-time with diverse duties building-wide as CNA, dietary supervisor, and activities aide. She is known for chatting cheerily with family members and for dancing with residents during musical presentations.

While Homeland staffers often say that coming to work helps them park their troubles at the door, Aprile flips the script. At the end of every day, the joy of Homeland goes with her. She credits her unique perspective to Homeland’s adherence to standards of excellence, which instills self-awareness about the attitude she projects.

“Being in someone’s home, you have to be aware that someone might not be feeling good or if they’re having a problem,” she says. “Your attitude has to change with every single person you run into. It grooms you for better behavior as far as society is concerned. When you’re here, you’re saying good morning to everyone or offering to help, and that’s what you do when you’re on the outside.”

Aprile is a lifelong resident of Harrisburg, from a family steeped in a tradition of service. Family members who served in the military include her father, sisters, brothers, niece, and nephew, and Aprile was in ROTC in high school. Her father, the first black student to graduate from John Harris High School with honors, spent his career as a civilian computer analyst for the U.S. Army. In World War II, he wrote the math test administered to qualify fliers as Tuskegee Airmen, the legendary African-American bombers and fighters.

Aprile’s mother worked hard every day caring for their 11 children – Aprile was the 10th, and the youngest girl – and instilled a strong work ethic in her kids. Even dinner was a time for togetherness and a routine that Aprile can still recite.

“We would say Grace, all eat at the same time, then get up, scrape your plate, put your plate in the sink. Somebody had dishes that night. We wash them, dry them, and put them away. Soak the dish towels, sweep the floor, wipe the stove. Once the kitchen’s shut down, it’s shut down. No eating anymore.”

Aprile’s sense of service has been passed down to her four daughters, who work in healthcare, education, and financial services. Whenever she can, she spends time with her 11 grandchildren, ages 1 to 17.

Residents’ family members have been known to call Aprile their “angel.” To Aprile, that means “doing what we can” for residents.

“We’re supposed to make them feel comfortable in their home,” she says. “We’re supposed to make them feel happy in their home. If they’re having a bad day, we cheer them up. I go out of my way for them because it matters to them. You have a good day here, and you take it out of here.”

Only a few copies left


Homeland CookbookDelectable appetizers. Made-from-scratch desserts. Traditional comfort food like grandma used to make.

Last year, Barbara Cleeland, a volunteer at Homeland Center, spearheaded the creation of a cookbook to commemorate the non-profit’s 150th anniversary.

“Since we created one for the 125th anniversary, I suggested the idea at one of our development committee meetings,” she says. “A cookbook committee consisting of six members, and me as chair, had the task to make it happen.”

While most of the 185 recipes in the 86-page book are new, a few are from the 125th anniversary edition that Barbara and her committee just couldn’t leave out.

“I personally recommend the Pasta Ala Vodka,” Barbara says with a smile. “That one is mine and it is one of my family’s favorites.”

The cookbook, titled Heritage Recipes from Homeland Center Cookbook, costs $25 and all proceeds benefit the Homeland Center Endowment Fund.

“The Endowment Fund is used to assist residents who have run out of money to pay for their services here at Homeland, keeping with the founder’s tradition of never asking anyone to leave due to financial distress,” Barbara says. “No one knows which residents are in need, as it is kept strictly confidential.”

Before the 150th celebration comes to a close this spring, make sure you purchase the cookbook while copies are still available.

After living in Los Angeles, California for over four decades, Barbara Cleeland moved to the Harrisburg region in 2003 to be closer to her sister, as she was receiving care at Homeland Center. After her sister passed away, Barbara was asked to be a volunteer in the Development Office and has been assisting Homeland Center as a volunteer since 2006; she also began serving on the Board of Managers in 2007.

Back to Basics: Short-Term Care vs. Long-Term Care


Making decisions concerning care for you or a loved one is rarely, if ever, easy. There is much to take into account including the type of care needed, who will provide that care, where it will be provided and how to pay for it.

Here in brief are the basics of short-term care and long-term care.

Short-Term Care

Short-term care, in one word, is temporary.

Patients may require a short stay at a nursing facility if they are recovering from a serious illness or injury. For example, a senior may require medically administrated wound care, intravenous therapy, injections and lab tests, as well as continual therapies, after a fall.

Short-term care at Homeland involves a level of care provided by trained and certified medical professionals to help patients progress to the level of function they were prior to an incident.

“Those professionals may include registered nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists,” says Deb Haas, Director of Skilled Care Admissions and Ellenberger Unit Coordinator at Homeland Center. “Obtaining rehabilitation and therapy services at a facility like Homeland is convenient and more intensive than an outpatient rehabilitation facility, as it offers patients more hours in therapy to help them get back to the life they were used to living in less time.”

Short-term care is covered by Medicare and most insurance plans for up to 100 days if deemed necessary by a physician.

Long-Term Care

Seniors in need of support due to a physical or mental condition that limits their ability to function independently may need long-term care.

Long-term care includes both medical (skilled) and non-medical assistance. An example of skilled care is changing sterile dressings. An example of non-medical care (or custodial care) is help with daily tasks such as feeding, bathing and dressing. Individuals who need long-term care typically have a chronic or progressive illness, or an advanced memory impairment such as Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Medicare may cover care in a certified skilled nursing facility (SNF) like Homeland if skilled nursing care is medically necessary. However, most nursing home care is custodial care, and Medicare doesn’t cover custodial care if that is the only care needed. Coverage through Medicaid or long-term care insurance may, on the other hand, cover custodial care if that is the only care needed.

“We recognize that the differences between short-term and long-term care can be confusing, as well as what insurance may cover,” adds Haas. “We invite anyone, at any stage in their decision-making process to talk with us. We are here to alleviate anxiety by helping future residents and their caregivers better understand their options so they can confidently make the healthcare decision that is right for them.”

Offering 24-hour expert nursing for those requiring either short or long-term care, Homeland Center’s care is designed with our residents’ comfort and well-being in mind. Homeland Center, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, is a Five-Star CMS Skilled Nursing Care Facility. In keeping with its founders’ goal to meet the region’s needs, no resident in financial distress has ever been asked to leave.