The award of excellence in health care quality given by Qualis Health, a national organization founded for the purpose of improving the quality of health care within the health care industry, was presented to Sunnyside's Hillcrest Manor last week.
Administrator Mary Arthur, certified nurses assistant Patsy Turner and staff members from the manor traveled to Seattle for the award presentation, which was held at a conference hosted by Qualis Health.
Arthur said it is not typical for a nursing care facility to receive the award. "I worried about my acceptance speech because I wondered what I should say," she recalled.
She said she provided the audience an overview of the services and the culture at Hillcrest, stating she didn't look at the audience.
"They (the audience) were crying," said Turner.
Arthur said Hillcrest has been utilizing practices which are becoming more common in the health care industry.
She said many of the hospitals and nursing care facilities are changing to implement the concepts used at Hillcrest.
Those concepts include listening to what the residents and/or patients have to say. For instance, the residents and staff at Hillcrest requested that the aides not be rotated. The request was that the aides provide continuous care to specific patients.
"It was thought that staff members would experience burnout," said Arther, stating the opposite is true.
"Burnout is not even in our vocabulary," Turner said.
Arthur said the aides and staff members caring for residents become more familiar with the health care needs and develop relationships with those whom they care for.
Through those relationships, the residents become more comfortable and peaceful.
Arthur said the family members also feel a higher level of peace in the level of care provided to their loved ones.
As a result, "...staff members are better able to identify even the smallest of changes, providing better care in continuing the health of the resident," said Arthur.
"It is a real love that is developed between the residents and the staff members," she noted.
Arthur said the staff at Hillcrest Manor believes residents and patients are intelligent enough to voice their needs. The relationship developed allows staff members to anticipate many of those needs.
In addition to Hillcrest Manor receiving the award, there were five other health care facilities presented the award of excellence in health care quality. They included two major hospitals, a small hospital, a pathology lab and a hospice facility.
Arthur said she felt it was a great honor to be the only nursing care facility to receive the award.
"I give a lot of credit to Patsy (Turner) because she did a lot of the work throughout the application process," said Arthur, stating a total of 300 health care facilities applied for the recognition.
During the process, Turner participated in a teleconference and answered a number of questions.
She told those present for the teleconference that she feels "consistent assignments," such as those which have been implemented at Hillcrest, provide a great benefit to both staff and those whom they serve.
"It has made a great difference. The elders and the staff are happier," Turner said.