It’s the little things that count, according to the most recent results of a family survey conducted by the New Horizons Care Center. The Care Center surveys the families of its residents every six months to learn how they perceive the care their loved ones receive at the center.
“How they feel about it is very important to us, because people say ‘perception is reality,’” explained North Big Horn Hospital District CEO Rick Schroeder. “So if those who receive our care and their families perceive it positively we feel like it is a success.”
Schroeder said the Care Center leadership team uses information gathered in the survey to determine areas of focus and improvement.
“Our scores continue to increase every time we send out a survey,” said Schroeder. “That’s what we celebrate.”
Schroeder said the survey focuses on areas earmarked for improvement.
“Every time we send one out, we select three areas to survey,” he said. “Then we focus really hard on improving those areas. We’ll send that same survey out six months later and we’ll see how we did on areas we are working on. Our scores always go up, which means we are always maintaining the areas we are focusing on, while improving the areas we are working on. We feel like this is really meaningful.”
Schroeder said its very helpful that the results of this particular survey are available within a month, unlike other surveys where it may take a year or more before administrators can actually review results in order to set an improvement plan in motion.
“It’s current, it’s actionable and measurable,” said Schroeder. “The responses on the survey tell us what we’re doing right and they direct us to what we need to work on.”
The survey asks questions like, “Are your concerns addressed in a timely manner?” and “Do you feel personal rights are respected?” or “Are meaningful
activities offered seven days a week?”
The survey questions cover a broad range of daily activities from housekeeping to meals, personal care, social programs, exercise, laundry, building maintenance and social services. Nearly all scores from the most recent survey were 90 percent or higher, with some activities reflecting 100 percent satisfaction rating. Nearly every category saw improvement over previous surveys.
Ten CNAs, four nurses, five activity aides and a number of volunteers contribute to the positive atmosphere at the center.
“What impresses me when I walk through is how you see an aide interact with our residents, said Schroeder. “It’s not just a job for them. They really care about the people they are taking care of.”
Care Center Director Michelle Horrocks noted that, unlike quality surveys that focus on specific care measures, the family survey looks at perception of care.
“What’s interesting about this particular survey is that we ask about the perception of care,” said Horrocks. “Ancillary services like housekeeping, laundry, activities and meals are a very important part of the survey, because it’s the very personalized care provided through these services that make a big difference.”
The Center houses and cares for 68 residents, and around 40 percent of those residents have some degree of dementia, which requires special care. Nearly 240 meals a day are served, accommodating special requests or needs. Activities like field trips, musical performances, bible studies, arts and crafts classes and exercise keep residents busy throughout the day, seven days a week.
A sign in the reception area reflects the philosophy of the staff: “Our residents do not live in our workplace; we work in their home.”
“It’s not a rest home anymore,” explained Horrocks. “It’s a care center. We want people to be healthier because they are here. Because they are cared for.”
By Patti Carpenter