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Pioneer Award 2016 - Joan Reidy

Pioneer awardsThe OHCA Pioneer Award is designed to recognize Ohioans influential in the development and advancement of long-term care programs, education, professionalism or ideals. The Awards honor the commitment of these individuals to excellence in long-term care services.




Joan Reidy

Joan started working at Avon Oaks when she was 14, and has worked in every position possible, from mowing the lawn to laundry and housekeeping, Social Service Designee to nurse aide and nurse, therapy aide and administrator. 

It’s a lucky child who remembers sitting on grandma or grandpa’s lap to listen to a story, sharing some home baked cookies or spending an hour with a favorite toy. This thought inspired Joan to build a child care center at her family’s nursing facility. In September of 1985, the first onsite childcare center as part of a long-term care facility in Ohio opened at Avon Oaks Caring Community. Over 30 years later, the center continues to thrive and now serves over 40 children.

Joan’s innovations also include children and pets in the facility; resident gardens and peaceful spaces; and collaboration with local schools to providing classroom space and work experience for “at risk” eighth graders. Porter Pavilion at Avon Oaks was one of the first specialized units for Dementia and Memory Impairments.

One of the first in Ohio to implement state of the art medical records technology, Joan also added 7-day therapy services to ensure that every resident receives adequate rehabilitation. She established a restraint free environment and a commitment to Resident Centered Care. A tobacco-free campus and health and wellness programs demonstrate her commitment to the well-being of the team members at Avon Oaks. 

A preceptor to more than 50 administrators in training and professionals in post graduate programs in social work, psychology and nursing, Joan urges others to get the most from education and hands on experience and has offered a tuition assistance program for decades. 

Giving back to her profession, Joan served on the OHCA Board of Directors from 1992 to 2012. In 2001 she became the first female president of the Association in over 50 years. She also served three terms on the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators, and served on the state task force which formulated the Ohio State Health Resources Plan. She also gives back to her follow man in other ways, participating in missionary excursions to Jamaica, Honduras and other locations to assist in providing health care, resources and other assistance to those in need.


Based on the foundation of caring that her parents built when they opened Avon Oaks in 1965, Joan, her brother Richard and sister Judy carry on the legacy and continue to strive to be a leader in long term care. Joan will tell you that it is not about her… it is about the great nursing assistants, nurses,  professionals and support staff who come to work every day – rain, shine or snow – who make Avon Oaks Caring Community a great place to work, live and receive care.  


OHCA Pioneer Award Nomination Form 

See Other Pioneer Award Winners