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Celebrating 50 years of family-owned compassionate care

Rennes Group operates more than a dozen locations throughout Wisconsin

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August 10, 2023

PESHTIGO – Nicole (Nikki) Schingick said she admits a nursing home isn’t typically a place most people are eager to move into.

However, as president of Rennes Group (pronounced wren-ess) – which provides compassionate care via Rennes Health & Rehab Center, Renaissance by Rennes Assisted Living and Residence by Rennes Assisted Living & Memory Care locations throughout Northeast and North Central Wisconsin – Schingick said she does what she can to make that transition as positive as possible.

“There are a lot of wonderful things that happen within our doors,” she said. “We might not be the (place for everyone), but at the end of the day, we try to be as close to that as we can be,” she said. “When people have a first-hand experience of what that is and can see the good in it, that makes everything better.”

A half-century of care
Schingick’s aunt and uncle, Debbie and Tim Rennes, opened the first facility – Rennes Health & Rehab Center – in Peshtigo in 1973.

It was followed a little more than a decade later by a second facility in De Pere in 1984.

Tim had worked in the healthcare field, and his mother was a nurse, so Schingick said a care center for seniors wasn’t a foreign concept to him.

A facility in Appleton and a second location in Peshtigo (this time on the east side of the city) followed in 1990 and 1993, respectively.

Schingick said the Rennes Group developed the first RCAC (Residential Care Apartment Complex) in the State of Wisconsin in 1997 with the opening of Renaissance by Rennes in Appleton in 1997.

The next few years, Schingick said, saw the opening of several other Renaissance by Rennes locations in De Pere (1998), Marinette (1999), Wisconsin Rapids (2000) and Weston (2006).

“(Tim and Debbie Rennes) have pioneered the idea that people maybe needed some additional help, support, services and care, but did not need an institution-like environment,” she said. “So, they built the Renaissance by Rennes location in Appleton with the concept of apartments and more of the luxury lifestyle that people could still have a place that felt like a home and yet have access to additional services and nursing support if they needed it.”

The newest addition to the Rennes Group family, Schingick said, is its Residence by Rennes locations, which offers assisted living and memory care.

The De Pere campus offers a full continuum of care with 75 assisted living apartments, a skilled nursing center at Rennes Health & Rehab Center and a dementia assisted-living community based residential facility at Residence by Rennes. Submitted Photo

The Renaissance by Rennes-De Pere location opened in 2018 – which is located on the Rennes Health & Rehab Center-De Pere campus.

A second Renaissance location opened last month adjacent to Rennes’ Peshtigo location.

Schingick said its Residence by Rennes locations offer the next level of memory care, while maintaining the highest level of safe independence and privacy.

An evolution of care
Schingick said over the last five decades, the industry has changed – much of it for the better.

“When we first started 50 years ago, there was a strong emphasis on long-term care,” she said. “When you thought about a nursing home – that is often what people associated with a nursing home.”

As the healthcare model transformed over the years, Schingick said care providers saw the need for facilities to also offer care in acute situations, as well.

She said hospitals needed resources for patients who weren’t ready to go home, but it may not necessarily have been appropriate for them to stay in the hospital, occupying a bed.

“That is where we started transforming into offering the therapy services,” she said.

Now, Schingick said, Rennes serves many people on a short-term basis, including those who require rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.

“So, think about somebody who maybe had an open-heart procedure, a stroke, a hip replacement or who needs help with wound management, IV therapy, that kind of thing,” she said.  

That post-acute care environment, Schingick said, helps people regain the strength to be able to transition safely into another, lower level of care.

Each of its skilled-nursing facilities, she said, has a director of rehabilitation services and employs physical, occupational and speech therapists, along with assistants in those specialities – offering outpatient therapy services.

“So you don’t have to be a resident with us to get our therapy services,” she said.

Schingick said a medical director oversees the skilled nursing facilities, and Rennes has partnerships with hospital systems and providers in its communities so every resident has a primary care physician keeping tabs on their health.

Schingick said Rennes has 1,035 operating beds and employs 1,500 people across 13 sites.

“The RCAC is where you go if you need some level of support services but you are still your own person,” she said. “You don’t have an activated power of attorney – you need some care but not the whole gamut.”

Schingick said the need for a greater degree of nursing services may necessitate transitioning to a CBRF (community-based residential facility).

“It is another type of assisted living that offers a bit more care and support than what you would get in a traditional assisted living,” she said.

A skilled-nursing facility – which is commonly known as a nursing home, such as Rennes Health and Rehabilitation Center – might be the next step if someone needs more in-depth care, such as wound dressing or a special lift. 

The center of all they do
Besides being family-owned, what makes Rennes different is what Schingick calls the Rennes difference.

“We talk about wanting to make sure we do things with integrity and class and that the residents are at the center of what we are doing,” she said. “That is the secret recipe if you will – take care of your employees, take care of your people, treat everybody like you would want to be treated. That has done well for us.”

Just ask Rennes Health & Rehab Peshtigo-East resident Harvey Stank, 86.

With help, over the past three years, Rennes Health & Rehab Peshtigo-East resident Harvey Stank, 86, has created trails, paths, small roads and a bridge behind the Peshtigo facility. Submitted Photo

The wheelchair-bound octogenarian built a 4 1/2- by 20-foot bridge with a 13 1/2-foot clearance – Schingick said impressive, yes, even more so considering Stank has no hands and only one leg.

With help, over the past three years, the former Pound farmer has created trails, paths and small roads in much of the 33 acres behind the Peshtigo facility. 

Stank said he had a friend make street signs to mark some of the roads – Deer Drive, Oak Road and the Turnpike, among others.

“(The Turnpike is a) superhighway leading up to the bridge,” Stank said. “It’s a real freeway.”

Schingick said Stank’s talents are in demand. 

“The nurses are pushing me – one wants this, one wants that,” Stank said. “One says I’ve got to build a swing for children, and the nurses want me to build a log cabin so when they get tired of me, there’s a place to put me. Another nurse says ‘You have to put a porch on it.’ So, now I have to put a porch on it.”

Schingick said “I think that is really special.”

Schingick said the Rennes Group’s culture is based on three guiding principles:

To our residents – we believe in respecting each person’s uniqueness and dignity while practicing personalized, efficient and competent care. We promise to promote independence and create meaningful experiences.To our community – we strive to show gratitude and respect to the areas we serve, to act with integrity and always lead by example.To our employees – we continually strive to be the employer of choice and grow a culture of trust by doing the right thing. We will always work to encourage growth, enhance knowledge and empower success.
“We’re honored to celebrate 50 years of living and working within the communities we serve,” Schingick said. “We owe and share this journey with our dedicated team members and the community residents who entrust us with the care of their loved ones.”  

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