AHCA, NCAL Gold Quality Award Achievers Talk Strategy, Sacrifice<blockquote><h4><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-4 ms-rteFontSize-2">National Quality Awards Ceremony </span></h4><h4><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-4 ms-rteFontSize-2"><strong>Don’t miss the Live National Quality Awards Ceremony, which begins at 2&#58;00 p.m. ET Thursday, Oct. 22, in the General Session and Special Events Theater in conjunction with AHCA/NCAL’s 70th Virtual Convention &amp; Expo. </strong></span></h4><h4><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-4 ms-rteFontSize-2"><strong>All 719 Bronze, 147 Silver, and 4 Gold recipients will be honored. Attendees are invited to join in the chat function to share congratulatory messages and shout out to other 2020 recipients. </strong></span></h4><h4><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-4"><strong class="ms-rteFontSize-2"> Registration for the convention closes Friday, Oct. 23. Not signed up?</strong><span class="ms-rteFontSize-2"> </span><a href="https&#58;//www.eventscribe.com/2020/AHCANCAL/aaStatic.asp?SFP=WURZVUdSWVlAMzk3NA%29"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-6-4 ms-rteFontSize-2">Register now.</strong></a> </span></h4></blockquote><p></p> <style> p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin:0in; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color:#0563C1; text-decoration:underline; } span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color:#954F72; text-decoration:underline; } .MsoChpDefault { font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Calibri",sans-serif; } .MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom:8.0pt; line-height:107%; } div.WordSection1 { } </style> <p>A quartet of providers has received the preeminent Gold National Quality Award designation from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for 2020 and is being honored for their achievement during the association’s annual convention that runs on a virtual basis through the month of October.</p><p>Jane Martin, RN, director of nursing, Treutlen Health and Rehabilitation, Soperton, Ga., says for her 50-bed facility in rural Georgia the latest attempt to achieve Gold started five years back when the organization earned Bronze from AHCA/NCAL, then Silver in 2017.</p><p>“That is when we decided to go for the Gold,” she says. “We [earned] a site visit last year and then this year got the Gold award.”</p><p>Going for the top honor and going for the Bronze or Silver are worlds apart, Martin notes. “The Gold is so much different, and you really need to dedicate time to it.” This work includes copious writing down to report quality-based outcomes for residents, since getting positive results is what the award process is all about, she says.</p><p>“Probably the most difficult things is collecting the data. Everything has a different measurement time frame, so I really rely on LTC Trend Tracker [from AHCA/NCAL], NursingHome Compare…You need to know all of these data today on a regular basis.”</p><p>Once all the hard work resulted in the Gold, Martin says sharing the good news, in a COVID-sensitive manner, was a great feeling for staff and residents alike.</p><p>“We were in a huge open area when we told them, and it was a lot of yelling through masks,” she says. “It was kind of sad that we could not hug or have family there, but we did our best.”</p><p>As for what she would tell fellow providers about the award program, Martin says facilities should do it; even though it is not easy, it is well worth it. “We all learned so much through the process, and there were so many little things along the way, it has changed the way we live and work here.”</p><p>Kristin Thrun, administrator, Burgess Square Healthcare and Rehab Centre, Westmont, Ill., says her nursing home got into the quality award world because back in 2012 when accountable care organizations and other value-based care entities emerged in her area, it became imperative for her facility to set itself apart.</p><p>“The focus became even more pronounced on overall performance outcomes and quality measures, and becoming part of the AHCA award process helped us to do this in a systematic way,” she says.</p><p>After receiving some local awards for their work with residents, the facility earned Bronze from AHCA/NCAL in 2017 and then eyed going for Gold after that. </p><p>“I think the biggest challenge is continuing to push forward in terms of meeting the criteria and putting our programs in place and sustaining them despite the external challenges brought on by things like changes in payment models [person-directed payment model] and keeping pace with those,” Thrun says.</p><p>An example she gives is the challenge it was to make the systemic change on medication reconciliation when a resident moved from the hospital to the nursing home. “We worked with the hospital to change the process and reduce errors tied to these transitions of care and created a pharmacy position that just does admission reviews for new patients coming in,” she says. </p><p>The third achieving group says its journey to Gold began 18 years ago, according to Gail Cushing, RN, executive director, Applewood Center, Winchester, N.H.</p><p>“It has been a long journey for sure, but we continued to forge on throughout the time, but it did not prevent us from getting to where we wanted to go,” she says.</p><p>The greatest thing about the Gold process, Cushing says, is that it gave Applewood Center and its staff new skill sets to be able to adapt to new demands. “We can take new problems and adapt very quickly. An example is with COVID-19; I have said handling the pandemic was made more manageable because we went through a dress rehearsal with the Gold awards.”</p><p>For her, the award application has taught her and her people to communicate better, get feedback, educate, teach, and fix pitfalls. One example is that during the pandemic, her staff came up with a way to clean their goggles when there was no water source in an area where people were working.</p><p>“The whole Gold process is a concept really that provides a facility&#160;with new means to achieve success, and the more you practice, the better you become and the more ingrained it all becomes,” Cushing says.</p><p>Katie Frederick, administrator, Heritage of Bel-Air, Norfolk, Neb., started out talking about the end game of achieving Gold, which was the joy she, her 160-strong staff, and residents felt at accomplishing so much. Even though the pandemic has made a true celebration difficult, she says the pride all in the community feel about making Gold is real.</p><p>For her, making changes to be more efficient and better at evaluating results and outcomes is the lasting impact going through the award process will have. </p><p>“Evaluating and learning is what this has all been about. And, really getting better at communicating, listening to each other, and putting ideas into practice. That has all worked for us,” Frederick says.</p><p>Looking ahead to 2021, AHCA/NCAL said the deadline to submit an Intent to Apply for a 2021 National Quality Award is Nov. 12 by 8 p.m. (ET). For more information, visit the Quality Award <a href="https&#58;//www.ahcancal.org/Quality/National-Quality-Award-Program/Pages/default.aspx">website</a>.</p>2020-10-21T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Breaking-News/PublishingImages/740%20x%20740/0220_News2.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality AwardsPatrick ConnoleAll Quality Award recipients are being honored Oct. 22 at the association’s 70th Virtual Convention & Expo going on this month and live on Thursday the 22nd.
The Road to Gold<div>​</div> <div> </div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/AndreaAston.jpg" alt="Andrea Aston" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />Like athletes making their way up to the top spots on the medal stand, the leadership and staff at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home, a skilled nursing facility (SNF) in Ogden, Utah, have worked their way up the ladder to reach the pinnacle in attaining the Gold level of the National Quality Award for 2019 from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL).</div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div> </div> <div>Andrea Aston, director of social services at Ogden, tells <em>Provider</em> that over the past five years the facility that cares for mostly men who have served in the U.S. military has charted a steady course in quality achievement. First, the community received the bronze quality award in 2015, then silver in 2016, and now gold in 2019.</div> <div><br></div> <div> </div> <div>“We really loved the idea of the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program, and so we started our journey with the bronze award and thought, ‘this is a cool award to be recognized for,’ and from there we looked into improving our processes even more,” she says. “That really is when we started looking at the big picture and decided this was a journey we wanted to take.”</div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div> Ogden and its 225-strong staff care for 120 residents with an average age of 75. As a veterans home, all of the residents save for 11 are men. The criteria to get in are to be a veteran, a spouse of a veteran, or a Gold Star parent, Aston says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Get on the Train </h2> <div>In explaining how the facility worked its way to gold, she emphasizes the importance of getting more than just the top echelon of management on board. “This is not a one-person job. You have to have the buy-in of everyone,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“When we got the silver, even then we knew there were many things to improve on. We actually took a year off from the awards program after the silver as we knew we were not ready yet to be recognized as a gold facility.”</div> <div><br></div> <div>During that year off in 2018, Aston says she and others charged with getting even more staff involved in the quest for gold really “hit the floor running” in seeking to make improvements from the 2016 silver performance. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“It was eye-opening for the whole staff. We really had to change our frame of mind, and we did that by opening up a dialogue for everybody to have a chance to jump on board. We really just tried to make it fun,” Aston says. </div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Making the Grade</h2> <div>In striving to make the journey to better quality fun, Ogden and its employees, from the line cooks to upper management, focused on shaping their work to meet the Malcolm Baldrige Performance Excellence criteria, which AHCA/NCAL uses as the foundation for its Quality Award program. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>These standards cover areas like leadership, strategic planning, and customer service. Communicating what Baldrige is all about to Ogden’s employees was all part of the process, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“We asked who wants to be a part of this, and then we broke it down into category meetings. We made Baldrige standards part of our all-staff meetings, too, really for everyone to get a chance to be involved,” she says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Putting Theory into Practice</h2> <div>The quest for gold was not a matter of reading off lists of standards, but instead a series of practical steps to improve processes and thus make residents’ lives and care better, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“There are so many things we did to make these improvements,” she says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>One example came in how staff managed behavioral issues and the use of medications to calm individuals. Using the quality goals established by AHCA/NCAL, the facility decided to focus more attention on innovative nonpharmacological methods to improve behaviors.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“One thing we did was to create a Namaste culture as we wanted to honor the spirit within Namaste, and we also added staff trained in this area,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“We trained our whole staff as well so when a resident is having a bad day, instead of medications and interventions, we turn to things like aroma therapy, healing touch massage, reflexology, herbal medicine, increased presence of nature, light therapy, and music therapy,” Aston says.</div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Satisfaction Reaches New Highs</h2> <div>A spillover effect of the gold award status, and the years it took to get there, is that job satisfaction has never been higher. “We know the residents love the one-on-one attention they receive, but it is also the staff. Satisfaction has shown improvement from being able to provide more individualized care to residents,” she says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>There is also something larger at play, in working for a skilled nursing center and giving great care at a time the general public may not get the message of what long term and post-acute care is all about.</div> <div>“I talk about that all the time, the perception of the public on what we do. It is not in the news that we achieved this quality standard but there is news when there is neglect or abuse [in a facility somewhere in the country],” Aston says.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“Honestly, I have worked in multiple SNFs [skilled nursing facilities], and I feel there is a huge misunderstanding out there, because everywhere I have worked has been awesome at caring for residents. There are a lot of good people trying to do good things,” she says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>That optimism about being at the forefront of providing excellent care and the corresponding honor of reaching gold status has left everyone at Ogden excited for what they achieved and what comes next, Aston says. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>“It really is a journey, and any organization should get excited about getting into the mindset of making improvements,” she says. </div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2">Five Named Gold Recipients</h2> <div>Including Ogden, there are a total of five providers that earned the 2019 Gold – Excellence in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program.</div> <div><br></div> <div>The four facilities that joined Ogden are&#58; Christian Health Center, a SNF and assisted living community in Wyckoff, N.J.; Parker at Stonegate, an assisted living community in Highland Park, N.J.; The Villages Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, a SNF in Lady Lake, Fla.; and Vista Pacifica Convalescent, a SNF in Riverside, Calif.</div> <div><br></div> <div>“The Gold Quality Award is the highest honor a facility can receive that recognizes its quality of care,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL. “These recipients are role models for our sector, and because of their years of hard work, dedication, and passion, they are improving and will continue to improve lives every day. This recognition is more than well deserved.” </div> <div>&#160;</div>2019-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/gold_t.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality;Quality AwardsPatrick ConnoleThe leadership and staff at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home have worked their way up the ladder to reach the pinnacle in attaining the Gold level of the National Quality Award for 2019 from AHCA/NCAL.
2019 AHCA ⁄ NCAL Annual Awards<div>​</div> <div>The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) pay tribute to the best and brightest in long term and post-acute care. Individuals and groups honored with awards will be recognized during the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention &amp; Expo this month in Orlando, Fla.</div> <div><br></div> <div class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Richard Cole</div> <div>Adult Volunteer of the Year<br></div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/RichardCole.jpg" alt="Richard Cole" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />The first time <strong>Richard Cole </strong>walked into LACOBA Homes’ facility in Monett, Mo., he felt he had a calling to serve. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Although not a clergyman, Cole provides spiritual counsel to residents, even sensing when some are nearing the end of life. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Cole also provides gifts at Christmastime, distributes quilts with personal messages, and buys and delivers candy on all holidays and celebrations to residents. Even when residents have been discharged from the <br></div> <div>facility, some request that Cole visit them in their home, and he happily accepts. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Staff at LACOBA have remarked that even when they feel discouraged or emotionally drained, Cole’s support helps them regain the strength to keep going, and every interaction with him lightens their hearts and lifts their spirits.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>In addition to volunteering at LACOBA Homes, he has developed a volunteer program that includes three other long term care facilities and has more than 15 volunteers to provide ongoing extra activities for the residents of these facilities as well.</div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Good Samaritan Society - Ambassador</span><br>Not for Profit Program of the Year<br></div> <div><br>The Adopt an Elder program is an intergenerational craft-exchange activity that connects elders who live at <strong>Good Samaritan Society (GSS) - Ambassador</strong> and children at Bright Beginnings Learning Center, a daycare center in Maple Grove, Minn. It is the culmination of resident-expressed interest, high-quality patient care, interdisciplinary brainstorming, and collaboration with locally owned businesses in the community. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Since the fall of 2017, on alternating weeks, the two groups take turns creating small crafts for the other that is then hand-delivered by GSS - Ambassador’s director of social services.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The intent of this program is not simply to provide residents with busy work, but rather to create a program that provides a sense of purpose and nurtures feelings of accomplishment in the participating elders.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div>When asked their thoughts about the Adopt an Elder program, some of the residents shared that every time they work on these projects, they smile, and that the children are their sunshine.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The most astonishing impact is the measurable decrease in self-identified depression symptoms among the participating elders, with a 38 percent decrease in self-identified feelings of little interest or pleasure in doing things they enjoy; a 13 percent decrease in self-identified feelings of being down, depressed, or hopeless; and an 8 percent decrease in cumulative Minimum Data Set PHQ-9 mood assessment scores.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The success of the program is built on the supportive staff who not only listen to the residents but put their ideas into action.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Railey Conner</span><br>Young Adult Volunteer of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/RaileyConner.jpg" alt="Railey Conner" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />At just age 11, <strong>Railey Conner</strong> found her passion for volunteering in long term care. She wanted to bring joy to residents by providing Christmas gifts. What began eight years ago as an act of kindness developed into continuous acts of love and lasting relationships with more than 200 residents across five Crestview Health &amp; Rehabilitation centers in Crestview, Fla.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>To coincide with her December birthday, Railey started her Annual Birthday Project/Remembering Our Elderly in Nursing Homes. She takes time to get to know the residents’ hobbies, interests, and life stories so that she can pick out special gifts tailored to what they like. She’s able to do this by raising money from local churches and other organizations. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>After learning that one resident spoke Spanish, Railey enlisted her high school Spanish teacher to begin visiting this resident so that she could speak her native language, further demonstrating her willingness to <br></div> <div>go that extra mile for residents.</div> <div><br></div> <div><br></div> <hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /></div> <div> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Dave Gessel</span><br>Not for Profit Trustee</p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/DaveGessel.jpg" alt="Dave Gessel" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Dave Gessel</strong> has served on the West Valley City, Utah-based Mission Health Services (MHS) board for the past 15 years. During his tenure, MHS has received the Best of State Award for Skilled Nursing five of the last eight years, approved charitable care for more than $30 million to the elderly and vulnerable adults throughout Utah and Wyoming, and received many other awards and recognitions.&#160;</p> Gessel is committed to replacing an institutional culture with surroundings that foster warm, personal relationships and help attain autonomy. He has a genuine responsibility to serve beyond MHS’ care communities and has advised MHS to seek social accountability, opportunities, and measures to identify and exercise leadership in meeting local needs.&#160;</div> <div><br> <p class="ms-rteElement-P">Through his leadership, MHS has opened its care communities to other nonprofit organizations by sharing their strategies of positive achievement.</p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><br></p> <hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Barbara Smith</span><br>ID/DD Hero of the Year<br></div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/BarbaraSmith.jpg" alt="Barbara Smith" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Barbara Smith</strong> embodies and executes Valley Village’s mission to protect, foster, develop, and advance the rights and interests of individuals with developmental disabilities, and strongly represents Valley Village with skill, expertise, compassion, and fortitude.&#160;</div> <div><br>She has been part of Valley Village in Winnetka, Calif., for 25 years, and since 2008, she has served as residential program director. In 2001, Smith provided oversight for a pilot program to establish a new intermediate care facility type for residents with developmental disabilities with continuous nursing needs.</div> <div><br>More recently, Smith opened and designed the program for a five-bed adult residential facility for persons with special health care needs for individuals who were transitioned from closures of California developmental centers.</div> <div><br>Smith has collaborated with the California Association of Health Facilities to provide educational opportunities for providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities <br>(ID/DD) for federal compliance standards. She is an advocate for residents and their families by providing a greater understanding of services, supports, programs, consents, and protection of rights and freedoms, assuring them that they have someone in their corner.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Stone Hearth Estates</span><br>National Assisted Living Week® Program of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div>The staff members of <strong>Stone Hearth Estates</strong> in Gothenburg, Neb., put together an engaging National Assisted Living Week (NALW) program for its residents in September 2018. The community embodied last year’s theme, “Capture the Moment,” by offering a photo booth with local celebrities, a caricature artist who drew residents’ portraits, and an exhibit of American photos from the Library of Congress.</div> <div><br>Stone Hearth Estates also helped residents reminisce as hundreds of community pictures from over the years were hung in one of the building’s hallways.&#160;</div> <div><br>One of the major projects the rural Nebraska community executed was dubbed Grandma on a Stick. Prior to NALW, residents’ family members were sent a picture of their loved one held up by a stick and then asked to take a photograph in an everyday setting.&#160;</div> <div><br>On the first day of NALW and National Grandparents’ Day, each resident was surprised with a package of printed photos their family members had taken with their image.</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteForeColor-10 ms-rteFontSize-4">Elizabeth Blankenship</span><br>Jan Thayer Pioneer Award</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/ElizabethBlankenship.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="Elizabeth Blankenship" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />During her more than 40-year career in senior living, <strong>Elizabeth Blankenship, RN,</strong> former owner and operator of assisted living communities in Arkansas, has championed common-sense state regulation, quality measurement and improvement, and a positive workplace environment.&#160;</div> <div><br>“As a nurse who worked her way up to soon run her own long term care communities, Liz is an inspiration to the profession,” said Scott Tittle, NCAL executive director. “Her story is remarkable, but it was her involvement at the state and national levels that make her worthy of this award. After finding effective ways to improve the lives of her residents and employees, Liz committed to sharing that success with her fellow providers to lift up the entire sector.”</div> <div><br>Now retired, Blankenship previously owned and operated Southridge Village Assisted Living, a company consisting of four assisted living and continuing care retirement communities throughout Arkansas.</div> <div><br>She designed and built some of the first private apartments for assisted living residents in the state, dubbed Homestyle Cottages, that maximized independence in a homelike environment.&#160;</div> <div><br>When the Arkansas Legislature established the licensure of assisted living in 2001, Blankenship served on the committee that helped draft the regulations for the sector. She continued to serve the state on numerous committees, task forces, and boards.&#160;</div> <div><br>At the national level, Blankenship was one of the first NCAL State Leaders representing Arkansas. Additionally, she served on the NCAL Quality Committee, and her clinical expertise and workforce innovations made her a sought-out speaker at multiple national conferences.&#160;</div> <div><br>Blankenship earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. She later became certified as a geriatric nurse through the American Nurses Credentialing Center.&#160;</div> <div><br>The Jan Thayer Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who have moved the senior care profession forward, positively affecting the lives of those served and those who serve. Recipients must demonstrate dedication, leadership, and considerable contributions to the profession.</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Shirley Perdue</span><br>NCAL Noble Caregiver of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><strong>Shirley Perdue</strong> has served the residents of Richland Place Senior Living in Portland, Tenn., for the past nine years as a resident aide. However, her co-workers credit her with assisting wherever help is needed, whether in housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, activities, or administration.</div> <div><br>At 73 years old, Perdue is known for her amazing energy and perfect attendance, serving as a role model to the entire staff. When inclement weather is in the forecast, she is known to bring a sleeping bag to work and prepares to spend as many nights as necessary to ensure residents are cared for and safe.&#160;</div> <div><br>Perdue’s leadership skills are evident as she provides orientation to all new second-shift employees and helped Richland Place implement a community integration plan. Beyond her daily tasks, Perdue often spends her personal time and money buying residents items they need, as well as holiday gifts.</div> <div><br></div> <div><div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10"> </span>&#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Jaclyn O’Keefe</span><br>NCAL Administrator of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/JaclynOKeefe.jpg" alt="Jaclyn O'Keefe" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />During her nearly four years as administrator of Heritage Woods of Rockford, in Rockford, Ill., <strong>Jaclyn O’Keefe</strong> has helped the assisted living community measurably improve in several areas, including staff retention, annual surveys, and resident satisfaction. These efforts, among others, helped the community earn the Bronze - Commitment to Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program in 2019.</div> <div><br>O’Keefe is known as a strong leader, constantly empowering her employees to seek professional development while fostering a teamwork atmosphere. The residents of Heritage Woods regularly give back to the larger Rockford community through book drives, holiday donations, and fundraisers for veterans and students, frequently organized by O’Keefe.</div> <div><br>She is a tireless advocate for residents and the profession; she recently led an effort in which hundreds of residents, families, and staff wrote letters to their state legislators encouraging appropriate Medicaid funding.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Friends of G</span><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">ood Samaritan Society - Scotland</span><br>Group Volunteer of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/GoodSamScotland.jpg" alt="Good Samaritan Society" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" />For the past 13 years, members of <strong>Friends of Good Samaritan Society - Scotland</strong> in Scotland, S.D., interact with residents on a daily basis in a variety of ways. They range from helping with resident activities, reading personal mail for residents who are unable to do so, to sitting and being with someone nearing the end of life.</div> <div><br>With “fun” identified as part of the group’s mission, they organize and host events to raise funds in order to take residents on field trips, purchase and wrap individual Christmas gifts for each resident, bring a flower and card on residents’ birthdays, and help host various events and activities at the facility.&#160;</div> <div><br>However, their work is not just about sharing sweet treats, but rather about building relationships, excitement, and joy. As members of their small town, the group speaks at various community events and places articles in the local paper and church bulletins to promote involvement with their group.&#160;</div> <div><br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">Janet Snipes</span><br>Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award</div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/JanetSnipes.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-1" alt="" style="margin&#58;5px 10px;" /><strong>Janet Snipes,</strong> executive director of Holly Heights Nursing Center, in Denver, is the 2019 recipient of the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award. Snipes is recognized for her outstanding contributions to quality in long term and post-acute care.</div> <div><br>“Janet’s work with federal regulators, payers, and providers to improve quality outcomes in this profession has made a national impact,” says Mary Ousley, AHCA Quality Cabinet co-chair and namesake of the award. “This award recognizes individuals who embrace quality as a central focus of their work, and Janet does just that. It’s an honor to recognize her for her commitment and dedication.” <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>For more than 30 years, Snipes’ entire career has been devoted to driving quality improvements and reshaping federal policy to improve national quality outcomes. Snipes was an early champion of the pursuit of quality outcomes and is known statewide for mentoring others to do the same. In 2018, under Snipes’ leadership, Holly Heights earned the Gold – Excellence in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award&#160; program. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>As chair of the Colorado Health Care Association Board of Directors, Snipes was a pivotal part of creating a Pay for Performance model, which incentivizes providers to lean toward quality outcomes to meet and exceed national quality goals. Sharing the success of the Colorado model nationally helped encourage other states to adopt similar structures.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Her national commitment to quality has shown through her contribution of time, serving as a member of the AHCA Survey Regulatory Reform Workgroup, chair of the AHCA Survey &amp; Regulatory Committee, chair of the Quality Improvement Committee, co-chair of the Quality Cabinet, and a member of the AHCA Board of Governors.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Each year, AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual who has made significant national contributions to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable outcomes.<br></div> <div><hr class="ms-rteElement-Hr" /> &#160;</div> <div><span class="ms-rteFontSize-4 ms-rteForeColor-10">John Walters</span><br>NCAL Assisted Living Nurse of the Year</div> <div><br></div> <div>As a nurse supervisor, <strong>John Walters </strong>oversees the clinical needs of the 65 residents at Dominican Village in Amityville, N.Y. The center is a 2019 recipient of the Silver – Achievement in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award program.</div> <div><br></div> <div>Walters seeks to improve the quality of care residents receive at this Long Island assisted living community by working closely with case managers to develop care plans, setting goals for his Wellness Department team, and serving as a strong team leader. He is known for going above and beyond the call of duty, often working overtime or checking in on residents, especially those on hospice.</div> <div><br></div> <div>His knowledge of and passion for quality end-of-life care means he is frequently consulted and readily offers additional education and support. Additionally, Walters facilitates a support group for families and caregivers, discussing ways to handle stress, among other topics. <br>&#160;</div></div> <div>&#160;</div></div></div></div>2019-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2019/October/PublishingImages/awards_t.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality;Quality AwardsRachel Reeves, Natalie Visnick, and Cristina CrawfordAHCA/NCAL pay tribute to the best and brightest in long term and post-acute care. Individuals and groups honored with awards will be recognized during the 70th AHCA/NCAL Convention & Expo in Orlando, Fla.
2018 AHCA ⁄ NCAL Annual Awards<div>​</div> <div> </div> <div>The 2018 recipients of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) annual awards will be recognized during the AHCA/NCAL 69th National Convention &amp; Expo this month. Here are their stories of leadership and compassion in long term and post-acute care.<br></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Joe Howard</h2> <p class="ms-rteElement-P ms-rteForeColor-8"><em>Adult Volunteer of the Year </em></p></div> <span class="ms-rteForeColor-8"> </span> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"> </p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/JoeHoward.jpg" alt="Rev. Joe Howard" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 15px;" />Rev. Joe Howard has been volunteering at Harlan Health and Rehabilitation Center in Harlan, Ky., for 21 years. He visits every Monday to lead church services and visit residents. Howard makes himself available to provide support and spiritual guidance when residents and their families go through difficult times. Many staff members have his phone number. He also visits residents in the hospital.</p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P">Rachel Eubank, MD, an attending physician at the center, says, “Rev. Howard’s service to our community is unparalleled.” His presence is felt throughout the town by community members of all ages, she says. He organizes two summer Bible camp getaways for the youth in the community. </p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P"> </p> <p class="ms-rteElement-P">Howard goes out of his way to make residents feel cared for. He buys flowers for every mother in the nursing center on Mother’s Day, officiates baptisms, funerals, and recently a wedding between two residents who fell in love. Howard is not just a minister to residents, but a friend who provides comfort and joy. <br></p></div> <div> </div> <h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Sahar Edalati</h2> <div><em>NCAL Administrator of the Year </em></div> <div><br> </div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/SharaEdalati.jpg" alt="Sahar Edalati" class="ms-rtePosition-1" width="119" height="164" style="margin&#58;5px 15px;" />Sahar Edalati earned his Bachelor’s degree in aging and a Master’s degree in gerontology from the University of Southern California. During his practicum, he lived in an assisted living community where he was known as “the youngest resident.” Now, as one of the youngest executive directors at Sunrise Senior Living, Edalati has led Sunrise Villa Culver City, Calif., in attaining high employee engagement scores, as well as the Bronze—Commitment to Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program. </div> <div><br></div> <div>Beyond improving the residents’ quality of life, Edalati contributes to the community’s social activities with a monthly poetry class for residents. He also expanded Sunrise Villa Culver City’s efforts to offer affordable housing to eligible seniors in the larger community as part of a joint partnership with the Culver City Housing Division. </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Elizabeth Eubank</h2> <div><em>Young Adult Volunteer of the Year </em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/ElizabethEubank.jpg" alt="Elizabeth Eubank" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 15px;width&#58;119px;height&#58;164px;" />Elizabeth Eubank is a busy 18 year old. She is active in her church, the local Kiwanis club, and school activities, but she finds time to volunteer at Diversicare of Amory in Amory, Miss. She even came to visit on the day of her high school graduation. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Activity Director Dian Wilemon, who nominated Eubank, says, “When Elizabeth meets a resident, they become immediate friends. She will rarely visit our home without checking on a resident she has met.” <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Eubank finds a way to connect with residents, whether by initiating a craft activity for reticent residents or painting their fingernails. She made a special effort to help a blind resident reorganize her closet, helping her be more independent in finding her clothing and shoes. As one resident says, “There is no task too big or too small for her.” <br></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">The Chelsea at Fanwood</h2> <div><em>National Assisted Living Week® Program of the Year</em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/The-Chelsea-at-Fanwood1.jpg" alt="The Chelsea at Fanwood" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;10px 15px;" />Staff members of The Chelsea at Fanwood in Fanwood, N.J., put together an enriching National Assisted Living Week (NALW) program for residents in September 2017. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The community embodied the year’s theme, Family is Forever, by holding a unique family barbeque on Grandparent’s Day, painting an outdoor family tree mural, hosting a family talent show, and creating a cookbook with passed-down family recipes. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The Chelsea at Fanwood also embraced community involvement by holding fundraisers for the Fanwood Fire Department and Rescue Squad and the Alzheimer’s Association of New Jersey. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Additionally, children from a local daycare/preschool visited to participate in a scavenger hunt to unearth inspirational messages from one generation to another.&#160;</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Linda Kluge</h2> <div><em>Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award</em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/LindaKluge.jpg" alt="Linda Kluge" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;10px 15px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;160px;" /><br>Linda Kluge, an executive director at Alliant Quality, a Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization for Georgia and North Carolina, is recognized for her contributions to quality in long term and post-acute care.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>For more than 40 years, Kluge worked to advance quality performance in the profession. As part of a national effort to encourage patient-centered care, she co-founded the Culture Change Network of Georgia, a group focused on promoting and fostering culture change to improve the quality of life for older Georgians. Under her leadership, a Georgia coalition and advisory board were formed that played a role in the safe reduction of antipsychotic usage in skilled nursing centers throughout the state. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>She also championed the development of an educational toolkit used by nursing centers nationwide through the initiative, Interventions to Reduce Acute Care Transfers (INTERACT®), to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits and hospital readmissions. Kluge received the Distinguished Service Award from Aging Services of Georgia in 2010 and was the recipient of the President’s Mentor Award from the Florida Dietetic Association.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>AHCA/NCAL presents the Mary K. Ousley Champion of Quality Award to an individual who has made a significant national contribution to advancing quality performance in long term and post-acute care. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Recipients display leadership in the development, promotion, and implementation of quality improvement initiatives that have resulted in measurable improvements in the quality of care and quality of life for individuals in long term care.<br></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Exceptional Care for Children Magical Journey</h2> <div><em>Not for Profit Program of the Year</em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div>Exceptional Care for Children (ECC) in Newark, Del., is the first and only pediatric skilled nursing center in Delaware. It is a residential health care facility serving technology-dependent children and their families. A <br></div> <div>motto at the facility is, “Where superpowers are used every day &amp; nothing is impossible!”<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>ECC was nominated for the Not for Profit Program of the Year award for its Magical Journey program. Over the past seven years, ECC has completed three trips to Walt Disney World and plans to continue the “Magical Journey” as residents present as appropriate and tolerant for the trip. The program was started by a request from a member of the board of directors, and both the board and donors continue to be supportive.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>More than 40 caregivers accompany the children, with some traveling in advance to prepare the housing. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>The trip presents logistical challenges, but as one staff member says, “Basic needs are met every day at ECC; fulfillment of the heart, too, is our routine. Watching a child’s face light up at the sight of a magical place like Walt Disney World is priceless.”&#160;</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Steven Craig</h2> <div><em>Not for Profit Trustee of the Year </em></div> <div><br></div> <div>Steven Craig has been connected with the Chaparral House in Berkeley, Calif., since it opened 40 years ago. His mother, Leela Craig, MD, was the Chaparral House’s founding medical director. He has served on the board periodically for 20 years in many capacities, including a number of years as treasurer. He has also generously given over 5,200 hours of volunteer time. </div> <div><br></div> <div>His experience on other boards allows him to lend his expertise and business acumen to the Chaparral House. But his service goes beyond that. Craig has caregiver experience with both of his parents, so he is able to understand the wants and needs of families and residents. </div> <div><br></div> <div>His leadership and support help Chaparral House deliver a homelike environment and provide programming that meets the social and emotional needs of residents.</div> <div><br></div> <div>One of Craig’s greatest contributions has been managing the facility’s extensive gardens, remapping the landscaping irrigation, and reducing water usage by over 50 percent. </div> <div><br></div> <div>Vice President of the California Association of Health Facilities Rita Chen Fujisawa says, “The world needs to see more role models like Mr. Craig, who probably does not even realize that his long-time involvement has found numerous and invaluable ways to positively impact the residents around him.”&#160;</div></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Amanda Garcia, RN</h2> <div><em>NCAL Assisted Living Nurse of</em> the Year</div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/AmandaGarcia.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="" style="margin&#58;10px 15px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;160px;" />Amanda Garcia has been a registered nurse and wellness coordinator at the Fort Madison, Iowa-based The Kensington for the past eight years. She is tireless in furthering her education in long term care and then sharing her knowledge with others.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>When Iowa created a model of the National POLST (Physician Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment) Paradigm, Garcia was the first in the county to become a facilitator and instructor to help ensure residents’ end-of-life choices were being honored. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>As a Virtual Dementia Tour® facilitator and certified dementia care practitioner, she helped train staff at the local hospital and Iowa State Penitentiary. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>In 2017, The Kensington earned the Silver—Achievement in Quality Award through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, and Garcia received the Distinguished Director of Nursing in Leadership Award from the Iowa Center for Assisted Living. She is the current president of the Iowa Council of Nurse Leaders.&#160;</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Laura Horan</h2> <div><em>ID/DD Hero of the Year </em></div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/Laura-Horan.jpg" alt="Laura Horan" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;10px 15px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;160px;" /><br>Recreation Director Laura Horan has worked at Mission at West Jordan Care Center (WJCC) in West Jordan, Utah, for 11 years. This intermediate care facility cares for 78 individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. </div> <div><br></div> <div>WJCC embraces the Eden Alternative program to improve the quality of life for individuals in long term care. Horan was integral in WJCC’s Eden journey and serves as the Eden chair. </div> <div><br></div> <div>Horan has a strong work ethic that is fueled by her compassion for the individuals at WJCC. Her positive attitude and smile are always on display. </div> <div><br></div> <div>As recreation director, she works closely with the resident council to implement their ideas. For example, she worked with individuals to share their talent with a small class in areas such as karate, book club, and arts and crafts. </div> <div><br></div> <div>Horan is very resourceful and constantly thinks of new ideas to improve the lives of WJCC residents, including bringing them to community events and fairs, river rafting trips, encouraging volunteers, and involving residents in showing gratitude for community officials like firefighters and police officers. </div></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Loretta Kaes, RN</h2> <div><em>Jan Thayer Pioneer Award</em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/LorettaKaes.jpg" alt="Loretta Kaes" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin&#58;5px 15px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;160px;" />A pioneer isn’t just someone who breaks new ground or charts new territory. It is an individual who also creates a path for others to follow. NCAL’s 2018 Pioneer Award recipient, Loretta Kaes, creates that path and then shows emerging caregivers how to follow. A nearly 25-year veteran, Kaes is a nurse, administrator, and educator who has made it her life’s work to improve the lives of the elderly by her steadfast commitment to edification, leadership, and quality.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>For more than 20 years, she worked at Chelsea Senior Living where she oversaw nursing operations in 18 different assisted living and residential care communities in three different states. As the current director of quality improvement and clinical services for the Health Care Association of New Jersey, Kaes provides clinical and quality guidance to all long term and post-acute care centers in the state. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>She developed the curriculum for the association’s two “Top Gun” schools for skilled and assisted living nurses. She works closely with Rutgers University to encourage new nurse graduates to work in long term care, even participating in their orientation programs. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Kaes founded the New Jersey Chapter of the American Assisted Living Nurses Association. And as past chair and current member of NCAL’s Quality Committee, she helped establish critical, data-driven measures in the crucial areas of rehospitalization and off-label antipsychotic medication use. This valuable work ensures quality improvement can be better identified and continuous quality improvement realized at the provider level.</div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Tieszen Memorial Home Auxiliary</h2> <div><em>Group Volunteer of the Year</em></div> <div><br></div> <div>The Tieszen Memorial Home Auxiliary of Marion, S.D., formed in 1973. Its members’ first undertaking was to plan and throw a Fall Open House, inviting the outside community to the nursing center for coffee and cookies. Since then, the auxiliary has taken on much more and recruited new volunteers, and some of the same volunteers from 1973 are still volunteering today.</div> <div><br></div> <div>The group helps Tieszen Memorial Home accommodate extra guests for a monthly Friends and Family meal that residents look forward to all month. Auxiliary members also host a biweekly Bingo party, the most-requested activity by residents. </div> <div><br></div> <div>The members display an unwaveringly positive attitude, which encourages residents and staff to improve the quality of life for the elderly and individuals with disabilities in their center. Their enthusiasm inspires the center to provide more activities and special outings for residents, including fishing and visits to the county fair.&#160;</div></div> <div> </div> <div> </div> <div><h2 class="ms-rteElement-H2B">Margaret Morton</h2> <div><em>NCAL Noble Caregiver of the Year</em></div></div> <div> </div> <div><br></div> <div><img src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/MargaretMorton.jpg" alt="Margaret Morton" class="ms-rtePosition-1" style="margin&#58;5px 15px;width&#58;118px;height&#58;160px;" />Margaret Morton is credited in developing a unique activities program to maximize socialization, independence, functionality, and quality of life for the residents of Trezevant Episcopal Home, Memphis, Tenn. Specifically, she organized a 10-week equine therapy program for five residents from the memory care unit at a local equine therapy center.<br></div> <div><br></div> <div>While equine therapy primarily serves children and teens with intellectual or developmental disabilities, Morton showed it could also be beneficial to older adults, and the five residents living with dementia saw noticeable improvements in their strength, gait, and speech. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>She also introduced art classes, sewing classes, and family support groups for loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. <br></div> <div><br></div> <div>Additionally, Trezevant Episcopal Home is certified as a MUSIC &amp; MEMORY® location, thanks to Morton. <br></div>2018-10-01T04:00:00Z<img alt="" src="/Monthly-Issue/2018/October/PublishingImages/awards_t.jpg" style="BORDER&#58;0px solid;" />Quality;Quality AwardsRachel Reeves, Carly Sfregola, and Andrea ToddThe 2018 recipients of the AHCA/NCAL annual awards will be recognized during the AHCA/NCAL 69th National Convention & Expo this month. Here are their stories of leadership and compassion in long term and post-acute care.