Telegram from Uncle Sam

Nursing home employee makes a remarkable antique shop find for local veteran/resident.

Reprinted from the Citrus County Chronicle (May 29, 2013)

by Nancy Kennedy

When World War II broke out, young men were notified to report for military duty by telegram.

Harold Jaeckle, now 95, was a young man in Buffalo, N.Y., when he received his notification dated Jan. 1, 1942:

“Report for duty Saturday Reveille January Third.”

Fast forward 71 years.

Jaeckle now lives at Citrus Health and Rehab in Inverness, the telegram long gone and forgotten — until James Guthrie, a nurse who takes care of Jaeckle at the nursing home, discovered it at an antiques store near Floral City.

“I’m a history buff, especially World War II, and I stopped at this antiques store one day on my day off,” Guthrie said. “I saw the framed telegram and looked at the name and said, ‘That’s got to be my patient.’”

He bought it and took it to Jaeckle.

“That was a shock to me,” Jaeckle said. “I never expected to see it again.”

Also framed with the telegram is a card signed by Jaeckle’s friends and relatives.

At 95, Jaeckle’s memory isn’t what it used to be, so he doesn’t remember what had happened to the telegram and some of his other belongings. However, he does remember being a battery gunner in the Army, serving in the Pacific.

“I was in Australia, New Guinea and the Philippines,” he said. “One day we shot down six Zeros (Japanese fighter planes) in the Philippines.”

Guthrie filled in the details, saying, “They were island hopping, that’s what they called it back then. They were trying to invade Japan, but their planes were out of range, so they went from island to island until they got close enough.”

“It was wild over there,” Jaeckle said.

After he got out of the Army, Jaeckle spent 25 years with the post office in Buffalo and retired to Florida to get away from the cold.

“Over the years I’ve taken care of a lot of World War II veterans, and I’m always interested in their stories,” Guthrie said. “I teach my children about World War II, and they’ve been here and have met some of these guys. This is the ‘Greatest Generation’ and there’s not a lot of them left, so we’ve got to make sure we recognize them.” 

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com. 

Facility opens doors to national research project on prevention of infections in nursing homes

Regents Park Boca Raton, a Florida-based skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility with 180 beds, is one of only 12 nursing homes across the nation to actively participate in Columbia University’s School of Nursing Study to Help Shape the Future of Infection Control. 

Family-owned and independently operated Regents Park Boca Raton has opened its doors to Columbia University researchers intent on learning more about infection control practices in nursing homes and how effectively they thwart healthcare-associated infections.

The study, funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research, is timely given that the population of nursing home residents is expected to increase in coming years. Statistics indicate that some 1.6 million to 3.8 million infections occur annually in nursing homes in the United States— a problem for facilities that generally specialize in the care of the elderly and often frail people.

Regents Park Boca Raton, a 180-bed facility in Boca Raton, Florida, is one of 12 nursing homes nationwide to invite researchers into the facility to conduct one-on-one interviews with key staff involved in infection control. Researchers began qualitative, in-depth interviews at Regents on June 11.

“It’s an honor to be involved with a program that Columbia University would do,” said Gilda Osborn, administrator at Regents Park Boca Raton. “I feel we have one of the best infection control programs out there. We work hard on prevention, not only because prevention can curb infections, but because in the long run prevention is significantly less costly than just trying to treat infections. It behooves all facilities to look toward prevention, not just trying to deal with infections that have already occurred.”

Tova Sacher, Regents’ assistant director of nursing and the facility’s infection control director, explained that although the state mandates annual in-service training sessions to keep staff educated about infection control, Regents has long conducted nearly monthly in-service classes. Those sessions are also intended to keep nursing staff aware of newly developing infections, trends in infections and, of course, procedures to prevent and treat them.

“It actually comes down to a quality of life issue, and we have to advocate for the residents,” said Ms. Sacher. “We want to keep healthy residents from acquiring an infection and help those with an infection get better. That’s especially important because we’re often dealing with people who live in close quarters and already have compromised health issues. We have to stay on top of everything.”

Regents Park Boca Raton is no stranger to efforts intended to help the nursing home industry as a whole. In addition to the Columbia University research program, it is also a participant in the “Reducing Healthcare Acquired Conditions Project,” which is sponsored by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That project aims to reduce the rate of pressure ulcers and improve the health and quality of care for nursing home residents.

To augment personal interviews for its research program, Columbia University is also mailing 3,000 surveys to eligible nursing homes. It is uncertain when the research will be completed and results compiled.


There's an App for that!

Residents get better connected with their iPads at Village on the Isle.

Village on the Isle (VOTI) in Venice recently offered residents a six-week training course on navigating the iPad. Residents learned about settings, apps (applications), e-mail, Facetime, using the camera and how to surf the Internet using Safari. The class was taught by Chris Gerard, director of special projects and information technology at VOTI. Mr. Gerard displayed his personal iPad screen via an overhead projector so residents could experience an immediate review of their actions.

After completion of the course, VOTI hosted a graduation ceremony for residents, whose average age is 87. "This is proof that learning new technology is only limited by one's desire, not one's chronological age." said Tom Kelly, CEO of Village on the Isle.

Seniors shine in Ms. Northwest Florida Senior Pageant

In April, 13 contestants participated in the Ms. Northwest Florida Senior Pageant. Hosted by Pensacola-area nursing homes from FHCA District XII, the competition is designed to promote the inner beauty and share the life experiences of nursing home and assisted living facility residents.

In April, 13 contestants participated in the Ms. Northwest Florida Senior Pageant. Annually hosted by Pensacola-area nursing homes from FHCA District XII, the competition promotes the inner beauty and share the life experiences of nursing home and assisted living facility residents. Contestants are judged for their interview skills, which allow them to demonstrate conversational skills and give the judges a glimpse into their personality. Contest judges also looked for a candidate who exhibit grace and poise. This year's judges included owners and executives from Summit Health Care, Southern Health Care Management, Gulf Coast Health Care and Sacred Heart Hospital.

A Hollywood theme set the stage for this year's pageant, which featured over 150 guests in attendance. Pageant contestants were escorted by members of the Washington High School ROTC. U.S. Army Specialist Stephen Calloway, who had recently returned from Afghanistan, led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Dave Keighley, administrator with Southern Oaks, conducted the invocation.

The winner of this year’s pageant was Ms. Ida Rutledge of Haven of Our Lady of Peace. First Runner up was Ms. Olean Nelson of Crestview Rehabilitation Center. 

In its 14th year, the pageant is described as being “what America is about . . . a re-affirmation of life and self-worth, of laughter and tears, of inner beauty and outward charm.”

FHCA District XII would like to extend a special thanks to all those who contributed - facilities, vendors and community partners - as the pageant is totally funded by donations and volunteers.

Late at Night, in Rehab, My Anxious Mom, & "A Woman Named Wendy”

There is no way I can paint a rosy picture of my mom’s recent hospitalization and subsequent rehab stay for a fractured left upper arm following a fall. She is 91, stubborn, hard of hearing, and has both reasonable and picky expectations.  She is smart and pretty astute despite some forgetfulness. Her anxiety has been off the charts and she wants, among other things, to be HOME!  Her panic, hearing deficit, pain, dependence on unfamiliar and many new people all contributed to her confusion and despair.

By Beth Boynton

There is no way I can paint a rosy picture of my mom’s recent hospitalization and subsequent rehab stay for a fractured left upper arm following a fall. She is 91, stubborn, hard of hearing, and has both reasonable and picky expectations.  She is smart and pretty astute despite some forgetfulness. Her anxiety has been off the charts and she wants, among other things, to be HOME!  Her panic, hearing deficit, pain, dependence on unfamiliar and many new people all contributed to her confusion and despair.

It is very painful for me to see her suffer.  But, one story in particular made me cry with gratitude.
I had taken her out for a drive and lunch by the river which is something we always do when I visit her in Florida.  We sat feeling the breeze as she shared:

It was late, I couldn’t sleep.  I don’t know what time it was.  A woman came in and asked me, “Would you like me to sit with you?”  I couldn’t see her face, but she sat down and reached for my hand.  Something in the way she held and gently squeezed my hand comforted me.  I couldn’t see her face.  We just sat for a bit.  I think she told me her name was Wendy.  After a while she said she had to go.  She came back later.  I was able to fall asleep.

I welled up with tears when she told me this story and do so now as I write about it.  This profound example of human caring is as therapeutic as medication, rehab, or brain surgery.  And we need all of these.  Wendy helped my mother to feel safe and cared for!  Days later, when I tracked her down and thanked her, she smiled and said, “It was nothing!

Nothing? NOTHING!

It was a huge gift to my mother and her circle of family and friends.  And if I can step back from my emotional involvement for a minute, I believe Wendy is an example of what healthcare SHOULD include at every step in every intervention.   Or at least more of a priority than it is.  Our patients are human beings and caring for them during times of vulnerability, a privilege.  Sometimes we lose sight of this.  Maybe some of us lose our way.  But not Wendy.

The emotional intelligence that she used to assess my mother’s  fear that night and understand what she needed and then to take the time to be with her is a reflection of her own compassion and brilliance.  It also is indicative of an organization that allows her the time and perhaps promotes this kind of intervention. So I commend Wendy Frazier, Rehab Tech, and Consulate Health Care.

And there were other examples where I could feel kindness and respect extended towards my mom…

Tyrone, the physical therapist, engaged her in conversation while working with her…Valerie, the COTA, was so gentle and such a great listener as she moved my mom’s healing arm through painful exercises and helped her to discover hopeful goals for gaining independence.  She spoke softly near my mother’s ears and my mom could hear her…Caitthe, LPN/MDS Coordinator/Clinical Liaison, who listened to my concerns and my mom’s and facilitated a medication change and informal team meeting…Emanual…who nudged my mom to join the table for dinner despite my mom’s reluctance, helping her to become part of the community.

I appreciate every one of you and suspect there are others who offered similar support that I didn’t personally observe.  These are not small gestures.  Please know; I hold you all in deep gratitude and heartfelt respect.    We may never eliminate suffering from healthcare.  Perhaps it goes hand in hand with our work.  But when we honor patients in authentic caring connections… it makes a huge difference.

Beth Boynton, RN, MS, is a daughter, nurse consultant and the author of  “Confident Voices” book, newsletter and blog. Follow her posts at http://www.confidentvoices.com/home/, or she can be reached at beth@bethboynton.com.

Florida tops nation in Quality Award recognition

Sixty-seven FHCA member facilities have earned National Quality Award from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living National Quality Award program. Ten achieved Silver Award status and 57 achieved Bronze Award status, exceeding all other states in this national distinction.

American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) has released the names of the nursing facilities from across the country that have earned 2013 National Quality Awards in both the Silver - Achievement in Quality and Bronze - Commitment to Quality categories. FHCA is pleased to report that 10 facility members have earned the Silver Award and 57 facility members have earned the Bronze Award. This is the highest amount in each category for a single state. The National Quality Award program honors skilled nursing and post-acute care facilities across the nation that have demonstrated their commitment to improving quality care for seniors and individuals with disabilities. 

Implemented by AHCA/NCAL in 1996, the National Quality Award Program is centered on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. The program has three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Facilities begin the quality improvement process at the Bronze level, where they develop an organizational profile with essential performance elements such as vision and mission statements and an assessment of customers’ expectations. To receive the Silver Award, facilities must demonstrate a level of achievement in their quality journey through good performance outcomes that have evolved from how they embrace the core values and concepts of visionary leadership, focus on the future, resident-focused excellence, management by innovation, and focus on results and creating value. 

Florida winners in each category include the following facilities:

Silver Award Recipients

  • Regal Palms LLP, Largo
  • Oakwood Garden of DeLand, DeLand
  • Tierra Pines Center, LLC, Largo
  • Ruleme Center, Eustis
  • Highlands Lake Center, Lakeland
  • Palm Garden of Gainesville, Gainesville
  • Windsor Manor Health Rehabilitation, Starke
  • Fountainhead Care Center, North Miami
  • Debary Manor, Debary
  • Rehabilitation Center of The Palm Beaches, West Palm Beach

Bronze Award Recipients

  • Alpine Health and Rehabilitation Center, St. Petersburg
  • Avante at Boca Raton, Boca Raton
  • Bartow Center, Bartow
  • Beneva Lakes Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Sarasota
  • Bonifay Nursing & Rehab Center, Bonifay
  • Bradenton Health Care, Bradenton
  • Central Park Healthcare and Rehabilitation, Brandon
  • Coral Trace Health Care, Cape Coral
  • Countryside Lakes, Port Orange
  • Countryside Rehab and Health Care Center, Palm Harbor
  • Destin Healthcare & Rehab Center, Destin
  • Emerald Shores Health and Rehabilitation, Callaway
  • Englewood Healthcare & Rehabilitation, Englewood
  • First Coast Health and Rehabilitation, Jacksonville
  • Fletcher Health and Rehabilitation Center, Tampa
  • Floridean Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Miami
  • Fort Pierce Health Care, Ft. Pierce
  • Grand Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center, Palm Coast
  • Harbor Beach Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Fort Lauderdale
  • Health Center at Brentwood, Lecanto
  • Heritage Health Care Center of Venice, Venice
  • Heron Pointe Health and Rehabilitation Center, Brooksville
  • Hillcrest Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Hollywood
  • Island Health and Rehabilitation, Merritt Island
  • Keystone Rehabilitation and Health Care, Kissimmee
  • Lake Mary Health and Rehabilitation Center, Lake Mary
  • Largo Rehabilitation Center, Largo
  • Magnolia Health and Rehabilitation Center, Sarasota
  • Marshall Health and Rehab Center, Perry
  • Miami Shores Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, MIAMI
  • Moultrie Creek Nursing and Rehab, Saint Augustine
  • North Florida Rehabilitation & Specialty Care, Gainesville
  • Palm City Nursing, Palm City
  • Plantation Bay Rehabilitation Center, St. Cloud
  • Renaissance Health and Rehabilitation, West Palm Beach
  • Rio Pinar Health Care, Orlando
  • Riverfront Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Bradenton
  • Rosewood Health and Rehabilitation Center, Orlando
  • Royal Oaks Nursing & Rehab Center, Titusville
  • San Jose Health and Rehabilitation Center, Jacksonville
  • Sea Breeze Health Care, Panama City
  • Seaview Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Pompano Beach
  • Shoal Creek Rehabilitation Center, Crestview
  • Spring Hill Health and Rehabilitation Center, Brooksville
  • Sunset Lake Health and Rehab, Venice
  • The Abbey Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, St. Petersburg
  • The Health and Rehab Centre at Dolphins' View, South Pasadena
  • The Inn and Nursing Center at La Posada, Palm Beach Gardens
  • The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, Sarasota
  • The Parks Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, Orlando
  • The Rohr Home, Bartow
  • The Villa at Carpenters, Lakeland
  • Unity Health and Rehabilitation Center, Miami
  • Valencia Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center, Lakeland
  • Vista Manor, Titusville
  • Wedgewood Healthcare Center, Lakeland
  • Woodlake Nursing and Rehabilitation, Greenacres
FHCA members earning National Quality Awards will be recognized at FHCA's 2013 Annual Conference & Trade Show, August 4-8, in Hollywood. The awards will be officially conferred during AHCA/NCAL’s 64th Annual Convention and Exposition in October in Phoenix, AZ.

*At press time, AHCA/NCAL had not yet released the names of Gold Award winners.

Is it dementia, mental illness or just plain bullying?

Several studies have recently been conducted regarding inappropriate behavior of seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes which revealed some of that "bad" behavior exhibited is nothing more than plain old bullying.

By Karen Goldsmith, Goldsmith & Grout
FHCA Regulatory Consultant

Several studies have recently been conducted regarding inappropriate behavior of seniors in assisted living facilities and nursing homes which revealed that some of the inappropriate (bad) behavior exhibited is nothing more than plain old bullying.

There are many reasons for bad behavior. Some are not the fault of the resident, such as dementia, but others are under the control of the resident.  These studies have found that people who were bullies when they were young tend to revert to this behavior at the end of their lives.

Why? These people feel out of control.  Someone has made a decision that they cannot live in their own home where they are surrounded by their own things and where neighbors are familiar.  Suddenly their life is communal and the old coping mechanism of bullying the weaker guy comes into play.  Bullies were not good at sharing in their youth; why should the expectations be different now?

Stress enhances the individual’s need to bully. When the other residents react, the bully ups the ante and becomes worse.  If they don’t react, he increases his bullying to see how much it takes to get a reaction.  In any case, he will get a reaction from the staff, and the old satisfaction he felt as the school bully will return.

Bullying can take several forms.  In the male residents, it usually manifests in aggressive behavior. In the females, it tends to be the kind of behavior that made high school miserable for the bullied: belittling, ignoring, “don’t let her sit at our table” and the like.

For the bullied, the reaction can be very severe, particularly if that person was bullied as a child or young adult.  It can trigger long forgotten (or buried) memories of a time when life was miserable.  Even behavior which stems from dementia, not bullying, can be perceived as such by the victim, thus stirring up the same emotions.

As more studies are conducted, researchers are learning more ways to distinguish the bully from the resident who has dementia or a mental illness.  Of course, this will never be an exact science.  And asking family members about the person’s past may be of no help.  The children of the bully likely don’t know much about his behavior during his school years.

As we learn more about this behavior, we will have more tools to determine who is a bully and who is not. Identifying the victims is often easier.  Think back to your middle school years.  Who were the people who were bullied?  The quiet shy person, the person already anxious, the person who cries easily; those with early stage dementia may already be exhibiting those same behaviors.

Your first priority is to try to protect them.  Being bullied will only increase these characteristics and make them afraid and insecure.  They will withdraw and perhaps refuse to go to the dining room or participate in activities.  They will need special time from social services and others.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Create an environment in your facility that discourages bullying.
  • Take the time to evaluate the person who exhibits bullying behavior to see why, including helping him/her cope with the issues he/she has in a more positive way.
  • In-service your staff to listen for cues that show a resident who thinks he/she is being bullied. Listen for comments such as, "he doesn’t like me,” “I make him mad,” or “he makes me mad.” Housekeepers and maintenance staff are good people to look for bullying.  Residents may be more willing to share concerns with them in a casual conversation.
  • Residents sitting alone by themselves when this is an unusual behavior for that person may be reacting to bullying – help them vocalize their concerns.
  • Train your staff on current ideas about dealing with the bully.  The same methods that work with teenagers, when modified, will likely help in your facility (just remember the residents’ rights).
  • Find a safe way for your residents to report bullying so that they do not fear retribution.
  • Work on ways to build the self-esteem of residents, both the bully and bullied.
  • Offer anger management programs.  Care plan them.

The study of bullying in nursing homes and assisted living facilities is in its infancy.  We can learn a lot from the same studies which were performed for middle school bullying.  Be creative.  Use new ideas.  Always remember, however, that each bully or victim is unique.  Each may have different triggers that prompt their behavior.  Learning these triggers can help significantly in preventing bullying in the long term care setting.


AHCA/NCAL Quality Initiative

The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living Quality Initiative is an effort that builds upon the existing work of the long term and post-acute care field by setting specific, measurable targets to further improve quality of care in America’s skilled nursing centers and assisted living communities. AHCA/NCAL members are encouraged to reach defined, concrete goals over the next three years, in four core areas.

American Health Care Association (AHCA) has launched the Quality Initiative Recognition Program, which is designed to recognize AHCA nursing facility members that demonstrate the attainment of one or more of the four AHCA Quality Initiative goals:

•Safely Reduce Hospital Readmissions by 15%
•Increase Staff Stability by 15%
•Increase Customer Satisfaction to 90%
•Safely Reduce the Off-Label Use of Antipsychotics by 15%  

AHCA's Quality Initiative is an effort that builds upon the existing work of the long term and post-acute care field by setting specific, measurable targets to further improve quality of care in America’s skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities. The Quality Initiative Recognition Program will take a tiered-approach, where member facilities will increase their recognition as they accomplish multiple Quality Initiative goals. Nursing facilities that reach any of the tiers will be honored at AHCA/NCAL's 2014 Quality Symposium in New Orleans, LA.

All necessary data submissions for staff stability and satisfaction measures must be received by AHCA by Monday, July 15, 2013. Hospital readmission and antipsychotic data does not need to be submitted by facilities; it will be analyzed via MDS data.

For more information about The Quality Initiative Recognition Program, click here.

QAPI offers data-driven, proactive approach to improving the quality of life, care and services

QAPI is the merger of two complementary approaches to quality: Quality Assurance (QA) and Performance Improvement (PI).  Both involve seeking and using information. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now made introductory materials available on its QAPI website.

The Nursing Home Quality Assurance and Performance Program (QAPI) is designed to take many nursing homes into a new realm in quality—a systematic, comprehensive, data-driven, proactive approach to performance management and improvement. QAPI is the merger of two complementary approaches to quality: Quality Assurance (QA) and Performance Improvement (PI).  Both involve seeking and using information, but they differ in key ways.

QA is a process of meeting quality standards and assuring that care reaches an acceptable level.  Nursing homes typically set QA thresholds to comply with regulations.  They may also create standards that go beyond regulations.  QA is a reactive, retrospective effort to examine why a facility failed to meet certain standards.  QA activities do improve quality, but efforts frequently end once the standard is met.

PI (also called Quality Improvement - QI) is a pro-active and continuous study of processes with the intent to prevent or decrease the likelihood of problems by identifying areas of opportunity and testing new approaches to fix underlying causes of persistent/systemic problems. PI in nursing homes aims to improve processes involved in health care delivery and resident quality of life.  PI can make good quality even better.

QAPI is a data-driven, proactive approach to improving the quality of life, care, and services in nursing homes.  The activities of QAPI involve members at all levels of the organization to: identify opportunities for improvement; address gaps in systems or processes; develop and implement an improvement or corrective plan; and continuously monitor effectiveness of interventions. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has now made introductory materials available on its QAPI website. Materials include: QAPI at a Glance – a guide for understanding and implementing QAPI in nursing homes; QAPI Tools – process tools (within QAPI at a Glance) to help providers establish a foundation in QAPI; QAPI News Brief - a newsletter describing basic principles of QAPI; and a Nursing Home QAPI Video – What’s in it for you, which introduces QAPI, its value to residents, their families and caregivers and explains what is in it for nursing homes that embrace QAPI.

To access the website for additional information about QAPI and the above-mentioned resources, click here.

Resource guide for dementia care

Alzheimer's Association guide offers resources on dementia care goals and recommended practices.

Nursing homes and assisted living facilities looking for resources on dementia care will want to access the Alzheimer’s Association's Practice Dementia Care Recommendations. The guide covers food and fluid consumption, pain management, meaningful activities, resident wandering, resident falls and physical restraint-free care. What’s especially helpful is that each section provides a clear statement of the issues, care goals and recommended practices.

Throughout the guide are brief stories entitled, “learning from an individual with dementia.” For example: An 87-year-old woman moved into an assisted living residence with her own furniture. Staff noticed that she experienced significant distress when trying to leave her recliner. An assessment revealed that she had difficulty maneuvering the chair’s handle and, in fact, the recliner was becoming a restraint due to her inability to remember how to operate it. Staff consulted with the resident and her family about the situation and asked if she had another chair that might be an acceptable substitute for the recliner. The family found one that pleased the resident and her distress decreased markedly.



National conference makes culture change resources available

The 2013 Long-term Care Conference has made presentation materials available, including those focusing on long term care strategies for implementing culture change, improving the effectiveness of staff development for all levels of care givers, implementing transition to practice strategies and more.

Resources are now available from the 2013 Long-term Care Conference. Videos and materials for the following presentations are available:

  • Spring Cleaning: The Rules in Our Heads
  • Implementing Culture Change in Long-term Care
  • The Practice of Nursing in Long-term Care: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Promoting Quality Care: Collaborating with Your LANE Convener
  • Implementing Culture Change Panel Discussion
  • Feasibility of a Standardized Transition to Practice (TTP)
  • California Institute for Nursing & Health Care's Transition to Practice Program in Long-term Care
  • Transition to Practice Panel Discussion
  • Developing Safe Systems in Long-term Care

This national conference brings together leaders from nursing regulation, practice, education and research to participate in interactive discussions to debate issues and collaboratively discover ways to address barriers and improve care quality.  Access the materials from the 2013 event by clicking here.

 

Critical questions - just how prepared are you for a hurricane?

Hurricane season began June 1 and will run through November 30. To help long term care facilities with taking a critical look at their preparedness level, FHCA has offered a list of questions for careful consideration.

You can’t live in Florida without being aware of the potential for hurricanes and tropical storms. Many recall Hurricane Andrew that hit in 1992 or the five hurricanes which kept everyone in a constant state of worry during the 2005 season.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1-November 30, and the Colorado State University’s Atlantic Basin forecast is for 18 named storms and 9 hurricanes, of which four are expected to be a Category 3 or higher.

To help facilities take a critical look at their preparedness level, FHCA has offered a list of questions for careful consideration. Remember, it only takes one storm in your area to make it an “active season” for you.

Click here to download FHCA's June 2013 Pulse article and read from our list of helpful tips. Additional resources are also available in the Emergency Preparedness section of FHCA's website.



Nurse leaders honored for excellence in care delivery

During FHCA’s Nurse Leadership Program in May, the Association recognized its 2013 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Award recipients for making outstanding contributions when caring for Florida’s elderly and/or citizens with disabilities. Each individual was honored for his/her efforts to improve quality outcomes in nursing home resident care, for professional excellence and enthusiasm to promote long term care nursing as a specialty.

During FHCA’s Nurse Leadership Program in May, the Association recognized its 2013 Long Term Care Excellence in Nursing Award recipients for making outstanding contributions when caring for Florida’s elderly and/or citizens with disabilities. Each individual was honored for his/her efforts to improve quality outcomes in nursing home resident care, for professional excellence and enthusiasm to promote long term care nursing as a specialty. Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Certified Nursing Assistants employed at FHCA member skilled nursing or assisted living facilities are eligible for these awards.  

“These nurses are excellent examples of what a successful long term care nurse brings to the profession, with their unique characteristics, professionalism, dedication and expanded skill sets,” said FHCA President Scott Allen. “No other nurse practice setting has such diverse and comprehensive skills sets continually in play as that of long term care, and we are proud to recognize them as our state’s best.”

Nurse Administrator of the Year: Terry Karfonta, Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center (Belleair)
Karfonta (center) is Director of Patient Services for Morton Plant Rehabilitation Center, where she supervises more than 140 team members, monitors care delivery and regulatory compliance and promotes ongoing quality improvement efforts.  Her leadership has helped the facility continue to see measurable improvements in patient outcomes, including its ability to remain restraint free and reduce patient falls, hospital readmissions and medication errors. Karfonta is a “hands-on” nursing leader with a proven track record of recruiting and retaining talented nursing staff through a positive work environment. She has consistently encouraged and mentored her staff to develop professionally, which is evidenced by the more than 60 staff members who have increased their level of professionalism and licensure under her leadership.

RN of the Year:  Marita Ulysse, Life Care Center of Sarasota
Ulysse (center) is Lead Resident Care Specialist at Life Care Center of Sarasota. She was an integral part of the facility's achievement of the American Health Care Association's 2011 Silver National Quality Award and has assisted with its ability to meet the requirements to apply for the Gold Award over the last two years. In her role as Lead Resident Care Specialist, she oversees a department of three other MDS coordinators, whom she has trained and encouraged to reach the highest level of knowledge in their area of practice. Her supervisors recognize her for her unmatched desire and passion to excel in her area of practice in addition to the consistent support and appreciation she shows her team while holding them accountable.

LPN of the Year: David Wright, Ponce Therapy Care Center (St. Augustine)
Wright (center) is LPN Supervisor of Ponce Therapy Care Center, where he demonstrates exemplary leadership skills and commitment to long term care. He has a sincere desire to learn and often takes the knowledge and skills he gains and shares it with the facility's Certified Nursing Assistants to help enhance their skills. He is committed to the facility’s employees and is a mentor to many, known for an encouraging and positive attitude that regularly boosts employee morale.

CNA of the Year: Latrina Clemons, Life Care Center of Sarasota
Clemons (center) is the Central Supply & CNA Staffing Coordinator at Life Care Center of Sarasota.  Her commitment to residents and staff is demonstrated through a spirit of mentorship, compassion and willingness to assist others. In addition to fulfilling her own responsibilities to a superior quality, Clemons is known to offer support to fellow nursing assistants, as well as other department heads, with their daily responsibilities. Clemons has been granted several promotions during her employment; yet, she continues to seek additional learning opportunities and is often the first to sign up for trainings so that she can excel in her job.

FHCA members earn national recognition for advocacy efforts

FHCA Past President Kelley Rice-Schild and Reimbursement Co-Chair Doug Burr were honored with the Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award during American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living's (AHCA/NCAL) Congressional Briefing. More than 400 long term care providers from across the country were in attendance for the award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Earlier this month, FHCA Past President Kelley Rice-Schild and Reimbursement Co-Chair Doug Burr were honored with the Joe Warner Patient Advocacy Award during American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living's (AHCA/NCAL) Congressional Briefing. More than 400 long term care providers from across the country were in attendance for the award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Kelley Rice-Schild is executive director of Floridean Healthcare, which operates the oldest nursing home (The Floridean) in Miami. She is also owner/partner in Partner Care Pharmacy in south Florida. Rice-Schild comes from a background of long term care, growing up in the family-owned facility that was established by her grandparents. Kelley has received numerous awards for her service to the long term care profession, including FHCA’s highest honor, the Walter M. Johnson Circle of Excellence Award, as well as Nursing Home Administrator of the Year and the Arthur H. Harris Government Services Award.  

In a message to attendees, Cong. Joe Garcia (D-FL) said, “We need more advocates like Kelley to work diligently to educate Members of Congress about the needs of long term care patients and residents, and who have worked to advance quality care in the long term and post-acute care community."

Doug Burr currently serves as the vice president of finance, reimbursement and government relations for Health Care Navigator, LLC, (HCN), a long term care company based out of New York. Throughout his 20 years of health care finance experience, Doug has served in several leadership positions. He currently acts as Co-Chair of the FHCA Reimbursement Committee and Chair of the AHCA Finance Committee and Georgia Health Care Association (GHCA) Reimbursement Committee. He also sits on the Board of Advisors for the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA).  

During the event, Cong. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) shared, “As a practicing physician for over 20 years, I know firsthand how important it is for individuals and their families to have someone just like Doug in their corner, fighting to make sure they receive the best care and support they need when they need it.”

Named for the late Joe Warner, the annual award recognizes advocates who possess the same compassion for, and commitment to, the nation's frail, elderly and disabled that exemplified the work of former president and CEO of Illinois-based Heritage Enterprises, Joe Warner. Kelley and Doug were two of the four Joe Warner recipients honored with this national award.

Celebrating caregivers on the frontline

Florida Health Care Association's 2013 CNA Essay Contest recognized Certified Nursing Assistants at a very personal, "where they work" level.

Caregivers across the country celebrated the 36th annual National Nursing Assistants Week in June, a week-long celebration of caregivers. To help honor the valuable Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA) working in FHCA's member facilities and raise awareness about their contributions to long term care, the Association hosted its annual CNA Essay Contest and focused on the theme, "Hand to Hand Care from the Hearts of CNAs."

FHCA received more than 70 essay submissions this year, each providing personal and invaluable insight into how CNAs make a difference in the care of persons with dementia.

This year's Grand Prize winner was Janell Joseph, CNA, of Haven of Our Lady of Peace in Pensacola (pictured center). Ms. Joseph received a $500 cash prize and had her essay printed in the June issue of FHCA's Pulse.

Essay contest runners up included Second Place winner Mary E. Thomas with Valencia Hills Health & Rehabilitation in Lakeland and Third Place Co-Winners Amber Pattee with Brandon Health & Rehabilitation Center and Beatrice Grant Barrow with Avante at St. Cloud in Kissimmee. To read these award-winning essays, visit the FHCA website.