To Whom It May Concern,
I was introduced to Rich Enriquez of Rienda Service’s in late 2013. At that time, my brother Matthew had been a resident of Lanterman Developmental Center for over 27 years and I was beside myself with worry and concern over his placement in the community due to Lanterman’s closure.
Everything was changing, including the fact that he would now be served by San Diego Regional Center because San Diego is where I now reside and I wanted him to be close by. I began my research as soon as it was determined that Lanterman would definitely close, that was about 2011. I spoke with board members of the Parents Coordinating
Council and Friends who told me good homes were being built and contracted with good quality providers in San Diego; and I was able to meet one of Matt’s future SDRC’ social workers, man with an outstanding reputation and many years of service to the disabled. Since community placement was inevitable I made a decision to have faith, be optimistic, and do the footwork necessary to protect my brother and give me peace of mind.
Although I had a good feeling about Rich Enriquez when I first met him, I wasn’t going to let my feelings be my guide. I went to the home prepared to thoroughly interview Rich and his staff, and I was armed with a checklist covering all of the important aspects of care that any family member would want for their disabled loved one. Rich had arranged for all of his staff to be there to meet me, about 15 people, including overnight staff, nurses, his new psychologist, SDRC staff, Lanterman’s transition staff, and Hannah Atanque,, Rich’s Nurse Consultant and Co-administrator. They answered all of my questions about staffing ratios (which is at least one or two staff to one client!), how they handle emergencies, how they would handle Matt’s special medical and psychiatric issues, what kind of activities would be provided to keep him from getting bored, how would his medication be handled, what about diet and what food kind of food, when would he start a day program and so many other concerns.
Matthew moved into the Villa San Francisco home in May of 2014. To make a long story short Rich Enriquez (“Richie Rich” as Matt calls him) and Matt’s entire team of staff, doctors, nurses, and regional center staff has incredibly exceeded my expectations. Rich saw Matt with fresh eyes and brought attention to health issues that weren’t being treated at all at Lanterman! Matt is now receiving the best care he’s ever received in his whole life. Over the last year the staffing has been caring, stable, and professional. Matthew has an entire team of people monitoring his medical, psychiatric, nutritional, behavioral, recreation needs. Sadly, Matt has some chronic health issues that have landed him in the hospital quite a few times this year. Rich and his staff didn’t waste any time getting him to the emergency room. Rich and his staff have spent countless hours accompanying him and sitting with him at the hospital. In addition, Rich reaches out to me regularly to let me know when issues come up, but also he or his staff will text me with pictures of Matt when they’re on an outing, so I get to see Matt having fun in a restaurant or kicking a ball at the park.
The home itself is beautiful, clean, and safe. Matt has his own really nice bedroom with everything to make him comfortable including his own TV, DVD player and ceiling fan. Staff decorated his room with collages of photos from all of Matt’s years at Lanterman. There’s a big fenced yard and a shady patio with patio furniture, and a BBQ. There’s a big screen TV and comfortable furniture in the living room and dining room and a nice big kitchen where the staff make wholesome, nutritious, homemade meals. And believe me, I look in the refrigerator when I’m there and I see all the good healthy food on hand. Matt was overweight when he left Lanterman, but in the last year at Villa San Francisco he’s lost 30 pounds! When I visit I inspect the whole place for cleanliness and safety, and I watch how staff take care of the other special needs clients. They’re all well cared for.
Rich and his staff got Matt into a day program within days of his placement where they’ve customized vocational and recreation activities for him and the other three precious guys at his home. On weekdays, the same staff member, Keila, comes to work and assists Matt with showering, shaving, and having breakfast, then she takes him and the other guys to day program where she teaches Matt behavioral and vocational skills, she exercises with him, comforts him and takes him home every afternoon! This continuity of care is priceless.
I do have to say the first six weeks were really hard for Matt, he really wasn’t properly medicated at Lanterman. He suffered chronic, untreated insomnia and was allowed to roam the hallways at all hours of the night. He was emotionally fragile and full of anxiety, but even a so-called “normal” person would be after moving to a new place from where he’d lived for the past 27 years. However, within six weeks his sleep issues were addressed, his medications were adjusted and on his 60th birthday, July 4th of last year, Rich the staff put on the best birthday party he’s ever had! Matthew didn’t want to go back to Lanterman. He told me “I like it here” and so did I.
Rich and Hannah, and all of the staff have become family to Matthew, and to me! There are no words to express my gratitude. I unconditionally recommend Rienda Services to any family searching for a safe and caring home for their loved one.
Conservator and Sister