On Monday, I blogged about a contest to transform “a day in the life of the resident.” I like this contest because it asks staff members for their often-overlooked expertise, and is designed to improve life for the residents, centering the nursing home day around their needs rather than vice versa. I got an update on Tuesday from Dave Sedgwick, initiator of the Ensign Group’s $150K e-prize contest. He reports not one, but two winners, with $100K going to Brookfield Healthcare in Downey, California, and a $50K Special Honors prize to Julia Temple in Englewood, Colorado.
Brookfield’s winning entry focuses on the theme of being a “Brookfield Zero,” meaning zero deficiencies on surveys, and has customer service at its core. According to their application, they used to be a “traditional” nursing home — “bland, generic, colorless, and flavorless,” until they made the decision to “show the world that skilled nursing facilities are no longer a place to die, but a place to live, learn, and grow.” Some of the highlights: They harnessed the passion and enthusiasm of their staff to create programming that engages the residents, such as tai chi and computer classes. Showers are provided by two dedicated “shower girls” who offer them at the frequency requested by the residents. Nurses answer the call bells as soon as they’re rung, and all staff members greet resident requests pleasantly. To compensate for a small parking lot, valet parking is provided. Brookfield’s application is in the form of a recipe book to encourage replication of their process.
Special Honors were given to Julia Temple, based on their “jaw-dropping” transformation of a facility for residents with dementia. Dave reports that when he entered the facility on the day Ensign acquired it, he was, for the first time in his career, afraid of being in a facility. At that time, it was common to observe physical restraints of agitated residents in order to administer sedating medication. Now, he describes the environment as “peaceful, loving, calm, and productive .” Using the Allen’s Cognitive Levels model to assess the abilities of residents, Julia Temple groups residents into neighborhoods based on their abilities, and offers programs to enhance their experience at each level. They also emphasized increasing the involvement and satisfaction of staff members. For example, they created an employee council to improve communication between management and caregiver, and a wellness program that, among other offerings, provides free massages to staff members on their lunch breaks.
While some of the innovations in the contest facilities required site renovations, more of the changes leading to success were focused on rethinking systems and improving customer service — something that can be accomplished by every facility, everywhere.