Team approach helps residents to heal more quickly

A self-assessment to identify its community’s needs and teamwork to address it has earned Riverside Convalescent Center-West Point national recognition.

The American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living honored Riverside Convalescent Center-West Point with a 2017 Bronze Commitment to Quality Award. It’s one of just seven awarded to Virginia long and short-term care facilities and 524 facilities nationwide. The Bronze Award identifies recipients as those facilities committed to improving the quality of care for its residents. It’s the first level of three distinctions, with the Silver Award and Gold Award the next levels.

Bob Yeomans, Riverside Convalescent Center-West Point’s administrator, says identifying teamwork was one of the most important teaching areas in the facility’s self-assessment that laid the groundwork for the Bronze Award.

“We looked at how important each team member is for patient care, and that gave us a better awareness of how the whole team works together,” Yeomans says. The Riverside team applied that awareness to residents’ pain management, which emerged as an area for a change in treatment approach.

Yeomans says while each person tolerates pain differently, all staff members have now been trained to monitor residents’ pain so the medical staff may intervene and eliminate pain in a more consistent way. Many staff members are not necessarily medical professionals, but they’ve been trained to ask the right kinds of questions during their interactions with residents that help inform better patient care and pain management. Things like being mindful of scheduled physical therapy sessions and the toll it may take on a resident and asking what’s alleviated pain in the past have meant “the right type and amount of pain relief at the right time, so healing can happen,” Yeomans says.

The months that followed this training showed improved outcomes in residents’ pain management.

“We’ve raised everyone’s role,” Yeomans says, “and with the Riverside Care Difference, where we care for our residents as we would those we love, we have a whole team of people working for each patient.” Yeomans calls the Riverside Convalescent Center-West Point staff the “unsung heroes” whose good work on behalf of patients just got better during the dedicated efforts to improve patient care. The Bronze Award, he says, is a great way to recognize the staff’s dedication to finding opportunities to improve the patients’ experience. But it’s also important for the community to know about the efforts of the people behind the care, which becomes a measure of quality not just for current residents but for community members seeking short- or long-term care.

“Everyone is an active player here and contributor to the team,” Yeomans says, adding that he intends to be sure the recognition wall for individual accolades just inside the front doors makes room for the Bronze Award, an honor for all. Riverside Convalescent Center-West Point is a 4-star facility, as judged by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Five Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families and caregivers more easily compare senior living facilities. A star rating is awarded in part after unannounced annual surveys. RCC-West Point’s 4 stars indicate an above-average facility, a designation 30 percent of Riverside’s nursing facilities have reached (compared to 23 percent nationally). Fifty percent of Riverside’s nursing facilities have earned the highest rating of 5 stars, compared to a nationwide average of 10 percent.

Riverside Vice President of Lifelong Health Ed Heckler says a commitment to quality has delivered national recognition for Riverside’s nursing facilities as being among the best choices. A year ago, just one Riverside facility had earned five stars; today, five – that is, half – of Riverside’s nursing facilities have five stars and three have earned four stars.

ABOUT Riverside Convalescent Center – West Point

The Riverside Convalescent Center, located in the West Point community where the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers meet to form the York River, offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation care for both short-stay and long-term residents. With 60 beds, RCC-West Point has been a part of the community since 1989. It earned a 4-star rating from the federal government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families and caregivers compare senior living communities more easily

ABOUT AHCA/NCAL

The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,000 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long-term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org

Published: June 8, 2017