HCMC long-term care unit receives PEAK award

by Don Ratzlaff

The Free Press

Staff members at Hillsboro Community Medical Center Long Term Care Unit received tangible recognition for their work to change the culture of long-term care at their facility.

Three representatives from the Kansas Department of Aging were in Hillsboro Tuesday to present HCMC with a PEAK award, which was announced last fall.

PEAK stands for Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas Nursing Homes, and recognizes progress made in the growing national movement called “culture change.”

The movement seeks to change the environment and management of long-term care from the institutional models of the past to person-centered care in a home-like environment.

Ten nursing homes in Kansas were chosen in 2005 to receive a PEAK award. The Hillsboro facility is the only hospital-based nursing home to have been chosen.

Mike Ryan, HCMC chief executive officer, said the culture-change movement in the long-term-care unit has been staff-initiated and directed.

“My primary role has been to stay out of their way,” he said. “They deserve the credit for what’s been accomplished.”

Nursing home staff have created a committee that meets regularly to work at culture change.

To be considered for a PEAK award, a nursing home submits an application that describes its progress in four areas: resident control, staff empowerment, home environment and community involvement.

Once an application has been evaluated, a travel team from KDOA visits the nursing home to verify the information. This past year, the team visited 11 homes in the state.

On hand for the presentation ceremony were Bill McDaniel, KDOA’s director of nursing facilities and the Client Assessment, Referral and Evaluation programs, and Dave Hafferty and Patsy Samson, senior managers of that division.

At the presentation ceremony, Hafferty mentioned some of the things HCMC has accomplished in the four qualifying areas.

In regard to resident control, the home has allowed residents to wake up at the time they wish and be served breakfast in bed. Staff have initiated “wisdom circles” to hear from residents, encouraged “memory boxes” at the doorway to each room, started a “Resident of the Month” program and allowed pets in the home if other residents concur.

In regard to staff empowerment, the home has worked at staff consistency by assigning the same staff member to a resident’s care, experimented with staff setting their own work schedules, chosen team leaders for “neighborhoods” established within the home, and have given staff authority to initiate changes.

In regard to the home environment, HCMC has encouraged residents to decorate their rooms to reflect their individual tastes, replaced a nurses station with a comfortable sitting area and fireplace, established a garden in the courtyard and encouraged the presence of children and pets.

In regard to community involvement, the home has invited family and community members-including children-to neighborhood events as wells as craft times, religious gatherings and a morning coffee time. A newsletter is used to inform the public about the home and recognize the involvement of the public in its activities.

Also receiving 2005 PEAK awards are: Arkansas City Presbyterian Manor; Lakewood Rehabilitation, Haviland; Golden Heights Living Center, Garnett; Medicalodge of Kinsley; Medicalodge of Wichita; The Cedars, McPherson; Meadowlark Hills, Manhattan; Pleasant View Home Inc., Inman; and Schowalter Villa, Hesston.

Nursing homes may reapply for the award each year as they make progress toward culture change.

The PEAK award program is in its fourth year. In all, 24 nursing homes have been recognized.

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