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Hillcrest Manor aces fourth straight state survey

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Certified Nurses Aide Angie Gonzalez prepares elder Juanita Mohr to take a walk, while elder Ruth Ray looks on. Hillcrest Manor recently passed their fourth state survey in a row without any findings.

"That's 120 pages of regulations," says Hillcrest Manor Administrator Mary Arthur, slapping down a thick guidebook produced by the government to ensure quality elder care.

Evidently, Hillcrest Manor had no trouble following the rules. For the fourth year in a row, the nursing home has passed the state survey without any findings. This marks five perfect state surveys in just six years.

"We're more regulated than Hanford," Arthur says. "And it should be that way because we're caring for the elders."

When state officials conduct the surveys, they do so without notice. Surveyors began their most recent inspection Sunday night.

Arthur said that she, the Director of Nurses and the Assistant Director of Nurses dropped what they were doing Sunday evening and headed back to Hillcrest Manor.

The goal of the surveyors is to find areas where a facility is not providing proper care.

Because of technology, state officials know everything about those living in a nursing home before they make their visit, Arthur explained. She said that when a new elder comes to reside at the facility, it's mandated that within five days several pages of documentation be sent electronically to Olympia, outlining such details as patient care, diet, pain level, etc.

That way, Arthur says, the surveyors know the elders in the building that are in the most need. "That's the group of elders that they review for the first half of the survey.

"When they find we're doing right there, they select another group of elders to review."

Surveyors also conduct a lengthy review of records and the inspection is exhaustive. All told, Arthur said there are 15 major areas of care that are reviewed. "So it's nice to hear them say 'You didn't do it wrong'," says Arthur.

To what does she attribute the success? She said it's the spirit of love, kindness and respect staff feels for the elders who reside at Hillcrest Manor.

"I attribute it also, secondly, to the fact that we are in a wonderfully small, rural community where people really care about each other," she says.

She also attributes the facility's Eden philosophy. "The elder makes the decisions...We know we're here to serve them as they want to be served." This has been evident in the change in staffing; elders wanted the same familiar caregivers and they got it.

Arthur said she believes these same characteristics also contributed to the facility being recognized by corporate as the facility of the year. Of Eagle Healthcare's 14 facilities, Sunnyside's retirement home was declared top notch.

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