Director of Social Services Gloria Horton, BA, CSW, CDP, CDVC is one of the longest serving staff members at Broadway House for Continuing Care. For Ms. Horton, caring for our residents isn’t just a job—it’s a life-changing vocation.
Tell us about yourself.
I’ve worked in social services for more than 30 years and came to Broadway House in 1995. My job involves supervising the social services staff, including the medical case managers and substance abuse counselors. I also manage our facility’s annual Ryan White Grant and serve as a Rutgers University Field Instructor for upcoming social workers. I earned my Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kean University and was recently accepted to the 2020 AIT (Administrator in Training) program to obtain my licensure as a Nursing Home Administrator through the Department of Health and Senior Services of New Jersey. In addition, I was the 2013 recipient of the Humanism in Healthcare award from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey.
How has HIV/AIDS care evolved?
Care has improved tremendously since I arrived at Broadway House in 1995. When people arrived here back then, they were already in very bad shape. You have to remember that there was only one drug for treatment at the time. Despite that, at Broadway House we were able to provide our residents with another level of care and sensitivity that was missing at hospitals.
It must have been very challenging.
My greatest challenge working here has been dealing with death and dying. Back then, I would witness seven or eight deaths per week. I would just sit and hold their hands. I attended more memorials and funeral services than I can count—sometimes I was the only person there. There was so much bias back then and it made me realize the importance of a good quality death.
Did those experiences change your perspective?
Yes, those experiences really changed my perspective on what I do and how I do it for the better. That is why Broadway House is so near and dear to my heart. I feel the presence of those souls who have passed. I get very emotional, especially around the holidays. All of our Broadway House residents, both then and now, are real people to me. They’ve never been just statistics or a number on a page.
What is your greatest joy?
Without a doubt, it’s the ability to serve my community. I had opportunities in the private sector. This community has been good to me and this is my way of giving back. I wouldn’t go anyplace else. I am living my profession.
What is Project ECHO?
Project ECHO is a very important initiative to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our nation’s nursing homes, like Broadway House. It was created in partnership with the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). At Broadway House, Director of Nursing Lois Beatty, BSN, RN, brought the program here in October 2020 through the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences.
Ms. Beatty, myself, and Activities Director Korvette Hinton-Woods meet virtually with representatives from nursing homes around the country to share best practices in protecting vulnerable populations from COVID-19. While the focus is on our residents, we also discuss how to protect our staff and prevent burnout during the types of difficult situations posed by the pandemic. Moving forward, we’re now discussing how to break through vaccine hesitancy and preparation for future outbreaks.
Project ECHO has been very helpful and eye opening because you are on these sessions with colleagues nationally from other long-term care facilities. This is an opportunity for a collaborative, team approach to share ideas. When COVID-19 first began, we didn’t know a lot of things. Through this program, we see many commonalities among the long-term care facilities. Project Echo allows us to have a global conversation.