HILLCREST HOME ANNOUNCES NEW DIETARY SUPERVISOR
Hillcrest Home in Geneseo recently promoted Donya Price to dietary supervisor following the retirement of Linda Jagers in late January. Price previously held the position of assistant head cook and worked with Jagers for many years. “I used to fill in for Linda when she went on vacation,” stated Price. She admits that the days go by really fast in her new position.
She is now joined by Annette Jackson, a registered dietician who works part time at the home. “Although I am only at the home two days a month, the staff here know they may phone me if there is a question with a new resident’s chart or a patient that is being fed by a tube,” said Jackson. The pair work together to make sure that every patient’s nutritional needs are being met on a daily basis.
“If a patient has noticeable weight gains or losses, I contact Annette and prepare the chart for her review,” Price said. As dietary supervisor, Price is also responsible for purchasing groceries, scheduling of staff, inventory, and resident reports. “I really like what I am doing at Hillcrest,” she said.
Additional focus for Jackson during her scheduled work hours at Hillcrest includes reviewing charts, especially those patients on dialysis or receiving wound care. She also works closely with the doctor and adjusts meals according to recommended changes.
Both Price and Jackson agree that the buffet dining is still the best option for all patients since it offers the opportunity to choose what they would like to eat and portion sizes. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and includes larger servings and several desserts. Residents may select from 2-3 salads, 2 entries, 2 vegetables, and fresh fruit and there is always jello available as well as daily soups or sandwiches. The menus are printed every 6 months and are on a four-week rotation with seasonal items included. “There’s always something good cooking in our kitchen,” Price said.
She reported that each resident has a card on file and staff are able to assist them with foods they may have especially if they are diabetic or have specialized dietary needs. “The residents receive help through the line, but are encouraged to make their own meal choices,” added Price.
Currently, there are plans to renovate the dining room. There will eventually be a new entrance and the dining area will be larger. Staff members expect some adjustments during the renovation process. The buffet will be moved to the back instead of the front area of the dining room. “Everyone is excited and ready about the changes,” stated Price.
According to administrator, Mary Bergren, the buffet will be even better in the future with batch cooking, which will provide even fresher items and more variety for the residents. When time allows, Bergren enjoys spending time in the kitchen preparing items for the breakfast buffet including some of her popular Belgian waffles.
For more information on Hillcrest Nursing Home or to schedule a visit, please call 309.944.2147.
Pair praised for perfect attendance
Arising to the occasion of perfect attendance is no easy task, but at Hillcrest Home not one, but two employees have achieved that goal. And, for one employee, Kandy Hege, a registered nurse at Hillcrest, she has had perfect attendance for two years in a row. Both Hege and co-worker Laurie Kelly, a certified nursing assistant, were recently recognized with special gifts for their much appreciated effort and dedication to Hillcrest Home and the profession they serve in each day.
According to Hillcrest Home Administrator, Mary Bergren, both employees are knowledgeable and efficient in their work. “Laurie admits that it is her personal mission not to miss any time and she has stuck to it, while Kandy’s military background has trained her to take her job seriously and be there as expected each day,” added Bergren.
Ms. Hege, was first employed at Hillcrest in 1997, a decision she is glad she made many years ago. “I come from a military family and in the air force you don’t miss a day there and even if you are truly sick, they tell you to go to sick call and get an excused absence; you don’t call off,” stated Hege.
She enjoys the interaction with the residents and feels that over time you really get to know them and their families. “You start to develop some type of friendship and trust, especially when they have been there for awhile,” added Hege. After beginning her career at Hillcrest, she learned that her grandmother had also worked there for some time. She is no stranger to Geneseo, as her mother grew up in the area.
“I love to wear my Cardinal scrubs to work during baseball season as I am a very avid St. Louis Cardinal fan. We have a good time at the home teasing one another especially when it comes to beating the Cubs,” she said. She explains that it is all in fun and the staff and residents, and even the administrator, have a good time throughout the summer months.
When Hege is not at work she is fulfilling another passion of hers and that is serving as a firefighter EMT for the Annawan-Alba Fire Department. She first became interested in the medical field while in the Air Force. She volunteered to take a first aid course and then later went on to receive her nursing degree at Lincolnland in Springfield. She relaxes by traveling around the United States hiking and reading a good western novel.
Like her co-worker, Laurie Kelly also enjoys her job and the residents she cares for regularly. “I love to hear about what they used to do when they were younger,” said Kelly. She does the same thing with her 80-year-old father-in-law. Kelly feels it’s like a live history lesson.
“I look forward to coming to work each day because everyone is so pleasant and I love the work,” stated Kelly. She has worked at other nursing homes, but can‘t believe how kind everyone is at Hillcrest. “I’m amazed at the things they do for the residents here, especially at Christmas time,” stated Kelly. This year there was a whole room full of gifts. “They really do go all out for the residents as it is one big happy family here,” added Kelly.
She can’t believe the things that Hillcrest Home and the administration does for the community as well. This year they gave to the Humane Society, adopted a family at Christmas and most of the employees also contribute to the community when there is a need. “We have a great administrator and she makes things happen. We all work together so well to take care of the residents,” said Kelly.
Laurie began her nursing career many years ago, but left it for 11 years to work in a factory. After being laid off, she returned to work as a CNA and she is glad she did. “I love working at Hillcrest and I’m glad I am there,” she added.
Hillcrest Home resident learns she will be the ‘Calendar Girl’ for next August
When Marjorie “Marge” DeMay decided to attend a cooking class at Hillcrest Home, she never imagined that having her photo taken with a decadent dessert would land her the title of ‘Calendar Girl’. “This was the first class I had gone to while at the home and the picture they took of me makes it look like I could eat the whole thing,” stated DeMay. She admits that it was a lot of fun and she now attends the cooking class regularly.
Several months ago, the Long Term Care Nurses Association in Illinois announced they were sponsoring a photo contest. Long term health care facilities around the state were invited to submit a photo of a resident taking part in a fun activity. According to Mary Bergren, administrator of Hillcrest Home, staff decided to send the photo in because it captured the joy that Marge and other residents experience while participating in activities like these during their stay at the home.
DeMay is fortunate that two of her daughters are employed at the home. Her daughter Norma Disterhoft works the day shift and peaks in on her mother from time to time. “I am able to run errands for her once in awhile,” said Disterhoft. Her sister Connie checks on their mother during third shift. Although their mother had been at Hillcrest on prior occasions, she has now resided there since July of 2009, following a bad fall where she broke her shoulder.
“I have worked here 12 years, and am glad that my mother is here,” added Disterhoft. She explains that there are so many activities offered at the home and her mother enjoys many of them. “She has adjusted to living here and loves it,” said Disterhoft.
Since returning to Hillcrest, DeMay has been performing with other residents in the kitchen band and enjoys playing the tambourine. She also loves the entertainment that is provided from time to time including the Elvis impersonators. DeMay prefers the summer months because she likes eating out in the garden and patio area. “The flowers were just beautiful here last year,” DeMay said.
Her favorite thing to do is go on the shopping trips when the weather is nice outside. “We have gone to the new Dollar General in Cambridge and the new Walmart in Silvis,” stated DeMay. She also likes going on fishing trips near Annawan, but admits that she usually doesn’t catch a thing! “I just like spending time outdoors and doing things with my friends,” DeMay said.
“It is a lot of fun here and there is almost always something to do,” said Demay. She also attends her arm chair exercise class, but knows she should go more often for the benefit it offers. “I miss walking around the square outside, but I have a lot of friends here and we enjoy watching movies together and playing bingo,” stated DeMay.
Reading her favorite westerns and staying in touch with her other two daughters and relatives is also important to Marge. Their photos and gifts are on display in her room and offer comfort to her each day.
HILLCREST HOME SATISFACTION SURVERY RETURNS FAMILIES APPROVAL FOR RESIDENTS’ CARE
Hillcrest Home in Geneseo, recently conducted a written survey of residents’ families regarding areas of care and services, communications with families and courtesy to residents and their families. According to Mary Bergren, administrator for the home, the comments compliment the daily practices of her staff.
“We are always pleased to hear the many positive comments that we receive from the survey results regarding the care and comfort level of a family member at Hillcrest,” said Bergren. She appreciates the feedback from the surveys and shares it with her staff and administrators. “The residents’ care is our main concern and it takes precedence over everything else,” explained Bergren.
According to one family member who responded, “My Mom has enjoyed being here and has not had any problems with depression since she has been here . . . kudos to ALL of you!” When asked on the survey, ‘Do you know how to register a complaint or make a suggestion at our nursing home?’ one reply stated, “No reason to complain.” Another question pertained to the comfort of a family members room and one relative wrote, “Mother’s been permitted to bring all of her craft projects, letter writing things, and other stuff and that means a lot to her – within reason and space. She has her family photos, it’s fine.”
For the residents of Hillcrest, staff are like a second family, notes Betty Murphy, member of the Henry County Board Health and Human Services Committee. “They understand the needs of each resident because they care for them 24/7," added Murphy. The survey comments reflect the quality of care a resident is receiving through the experience of a family member.
“I feel that these comments help us make life better for the home’s residents and we review and discuss each response,” said Bergren. The home is open to both Henry County and out-of-county residents in need of both long-term and short-term rehab and respite care. “We want everyone to feel at home during their stay at Hillcrest, no matter how long that may be,” added Bergren.
She also believes that using these comments as a guide has helped Hillcrest achieve the Five-Star Quality Rating again this year. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers and their families compare homes based on specific standards. The rating system also helps to identify targeted areas that a caregiver or family member may wish to ask questions when considering a home for a loved one.
The CMS rates each home quarterly based on the same three sources of data including health inspections, staffing and quality measures (QMs). These areas of criteria provide a means to measure the quality of care for each certified nursing home. A 5-Star rating means that a facility ranks “much above average.” A 1-Star rating is the lowest and means a facility ranks “much below average.”
When comparing nursing homes the Five Star Quality Rating System is helpful, but a personal visit is the best way to make a final decision. “I always recommend people make an onsite visit to meet the care givers at Hillcrest Home and to experience the comfort level and atmosphere of the home. They should tour the facility and see for themselves the care we provide to each and every resident, “said Bergren.
For more information on Hillcrest Nursing Home or to schedule a visit, please call Mary Bergren at 309.944.2147.
HILLCREST HOME AND HAMMOND HENRY HOSPITAL JOIN FORCES
TO PROVIDE SPEECH THERAPY SERVICES
Hillcrest Home is pleased to announce that Bridget Real is currently providing speech therapy services to residents at the home. She often spends her morning hours in the therapy department at Hammond Henry Hospital in Geneseo, and her afternoons at Hillcrest Home. “I am enjoying splitting my time between the two facilities and the staff at Hillcrest has been great,” stated Real.
According to Bergren, since beginning her work in May, Bridget has already provided a staff inservice on resident dehydration and has expressed many new ideas about working with the residents. “The staff and residents are already experiencing the benefits of her services, added Bergren. “I appreciate the assistance of other staff members identifying certain residents that may be experiencing more difficulties and need additional help,” stated Real. She admits that it is a good working environment at the home and she has learned a great deal during the summer.
There are four problems that speech therapists are able to treat and they include speech, language, cognition or thinking skills and swallowing. The goal of the therapist is to restore the ability to communicate accurately through appropriate treatment that will identify the problem. Once that has been established, a care plan is developed to improve the clarity of speech or practice exercises that will strengthen the mouth and throat muscles to avoid choking on food or liquids.
She has also spent a great deal of her time designing some memory aides for residents with memory and confusion difficulties. Each resident is provided with a typed version of the resident’s life story. These memory aides are part of the treatment plan and help other staff members learn about the resident. As a result, they become a more effective communication partner. It is also intended to orient them to time and improve overall communication skills.
The memory aide may be used by an individual who might not initiate a conversation because their verbal skills are limited. Its aim is to be a life story and is organized into 4 time spans which are each 20 years. The emphasis is on the first 20 years of their life and then the remaining years. Another strategy is that it may bring light to their life. Real feels it has helped staff to connect with the patients at Hillcrest.
According to Real, therapy or treatment may last anywhere from 4-12 weeks in length. “This is not a permanent or a long-term period of time,” said Real. She explains that often times this is a transition phase and patients may arrive at Hillcrest Home following a hospital stay. Benefits from therapy are dependent on the severity of the patient’s injury or diagnosis. “I do an independent plan and try to reassure and help them during their transition here. It can be very rewarding,” explained Real.
“If a patient has difficulty swallowing it can become a health risk and we need to work on ways to reduce those risks. I have been doing a lot of swallowing evaluations and treatment for that specific problem over the last several months,” stated Real. Many times a change in diet is recommended or an adjustment in eating position may help also. She is currently working with 3 residents for swallowing issues. Therapy for these patients includes strengthening exercises to improve control of mouth and throat muscles. “I spend about 2 to 3 hours a day at Hillcrest. The treatments last from 25 to 60 minutes and consist of reminding them to chew their food well to reduce the risk of choking,” added Real.
She also counsels families of patients with communication and swallowing disorders. They are invited to be a part of the treatment sessions and they also receive care giver instructions. Many times they can play a huge role in helping Real build a patient’s treatment plan or they can contribute to the development of the memory aide. “This is information you can’t get from a chart,” added Real.
Resident John Hunt finds Hillcrest Home a place of contentment
For the last nine years, John Hunt has lived his life at Hillcrest Home in Geneseo. He first came to the home in June 2001 just several months following his mother’s passing in February. For a while, Hunt was able to live on his own; however, he began to lose a great deal of weight and had become very weak. His condition was complicated by the fact that he was handicapped from polio. “After Mom died, I wasn’t eating right and went to my family doctor for a check-up. He recommended that I spend several months at Hillcrest Home,” stated Hunt.
Once Hunt regained his strength, he wanted to return home. “I tried to stay at home by myself, but it just didn’t work out and I was afraid to be alone because I might fall and no one would be there to help me,” explained Hunt. He asked others for advice but he was told to make the decision on his own and after the third try at returning home, he did just that. “I came back to the home after the final attempt to make it on my own only to find I wanted to stay at Hillcrest Home after all,” he said.
Hunt has made many friends throughout the years and is saddened when he remembers those that have come in and out of his life over the course of his stay. “We are like one big family here. You really get to know the other residents and staff members and everyone around here is fantastic,” added Hunt. He likes the fact that the Home provides everything he needs to be comfortable and people like to kid around when they have time.
In 2003, Hunt was elected council president and is now serving in his eighth year. His duties include reporting and writing for the monthly Hillcrest Hummer newsletter. He is also responsible for writing thank you letters and points of view on behalf of the residents at the home. “I enjoy telling others how great Hillcrest is and how wonderful the staff are to be around each day and, of course, we all love our administrator Mary Bergren. She is an inspiration and such a great example for others,” he added.
Hunt reports that life is good here and he keeps busy with daily activities and fun events with his Hillcrest Home family. “I like using the computers here and spend about 20 hours a week working on my sections of the Hummer,” he said. “I was always a hard worker before I became sick and held several jobs I really enjoyed many years ago.’
At one time, Hunt delivered papers to carriers in the area for several local newspapers. “I was a hauler for about 25 years, and I also worked at Flicks by the airport in accounting,” said Hunt. He reports that he did this while going to school and got about four hours of sleep at night. He attended several schools including Hamilton Tech and has an associate’s degree in accounting. He is proud to mention his accomplishments and places he has lived in the past.
“I grew up in Coal Valley and then moved to Cambridge, where I lived for many years before making Hillcrest Home my real home,” said Hunt. He is glad to be where he is at this time of his life because he feels safe and cared for by his many friends and the staff at Hillcrest.
HILLCREST HOME RIDES THE NEW WAVE IN ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORDS
Hillcrest Home has recently taken patient charting to a new level. Funding received from the Department of Public Health last year has provided the means for streamlining the tedious task of documenting patient care. The newly installed “PointClickCare” software is an innovative program that allows the user capability to save time on paperwork and focus more on direct patient care by automating Electronic Health Records.
According to Hillcrest Home’s Administrator, Mary Bergren, it was the ease of the software that sold the product to her and Julie Kaufman, director of accounting. “One of our main concerns when we were shopping around for a new program was training some of our seasoned employees, but everyone has adjusted very well to using the new software, stated Bergren. “In fact, the overall experience by employees of the home has been very favorable.”
She explains that this software is similar to the programs currently being used in hospitals, but the PointClickCare model is tailored specifically for healthcare in regards to nursing homes. It was designed to reduce the burden of time spent on record keeping for both the clinical and financial areas. Bergren is also pleased with the functionality of the program because it allows her to check the communication board from home on the weekends and lets her know if there are any concerns she may need to address when she returns on Monday. “It’s a great way to stay in touch when I’m away from the office,” remarked Bergren.
The introduction to the software reads, “If you’ve ever booked a flight, ordered a book, or compared quotes for auto insurance online, you can use PointClickCare.” Bergren acknowledges that this statement is, in fact, true and to the point. “Our nursing staff is now able to spend more time seeing to the needs of residents,” added Bergren. This extra time allows her staff to interact more with the residents and less at the computer.
Kaufman recalls that in the beginning it was difficult to get everyone in agreement on which software to purchase, but this program sold them because of the versatility and efficiency. “We place something new on the communication board each day. When the nursing staff begins their shift there is something posted on the board to get them used to the program,” Kaufman added. She also believes that the integration of the program has improved communication between staff at all levels.
Retired nurse, Diane Fowler, has embraced the new technology and looks forward to its challenges. “I am O.K. now and can do what I need to do with my daily tasks. I enjoy working with the computer and I have learned a great deal from the experience,” said Fowler. Through training sessions at the home others like Fowler are able to maneuver the screens and find the process straightforward.
At this time, Hillcrest is functional using both the clinical and financial systems of the consumer web software model. Only nurses and certified nursing assistants utilize the clinical portion of the program. All four hallways now have Kiosk stations with a computer attached to one of the walls for the convenience of the CNAs. The computer touch screen provides a complete list of residents for their area and is available for the nursing staff to complete their progress notes and dietary reporting as well as other documentation in a fraction of the time.
Kaufman explains that the color coding highlighted on the screen indicates the completion of tasks and assists the nursing staff with additional follow-up when deemed necessary. The color green means that something is completed and red means it is past due. “This is a flag for the nursing staff and has been very helpful so far. The system automatically alerts you and gives you an update to go back to if something may have been missed,” added Kaufman. Additionally, new laptop computers now reside at each of the nurses stations where it is more convenient for the nurses to complete their charting.
Serving as the director of accounting, Kaufman has found the financial system helpful in her daily accounting responsibilities. “It has freed up time and allowed me to focus on other duties that require my attention,” said Kaufman. The financial system promises the opportunity for more accuracy in relation to accounts receivable and billing.
“I feel we have a head start on the new wave of Clinical Electronic Health Records as we are one of the first nursing homes in the area to use this type of system application,” stated Bergren. Initially, the Home purchased the financial module or bookkeeping software in 2008. Last year, the clinical system was added also.
There are additional modules that are available such as the Electronic Medication Administration Record (eMAR) and the Pharmacy Integration, but the current network business system is only hooked up to one tower at present. If there is a problem with the server, it requires a delay in retrieving the needed information. When it becomes a fail-safe system Hillcrest Home will integrate these into the overall system. Pharmacists like the idea of having this program available and feel it will make the process of instantly sending orders versus faxing them a time saving experience for all.
Families’ who are considering placing a loved one in a long-term care facility, are fond of the fact that patients receive more attention and care as a result of the electronic clinical software. Director of Nursing, Nona Diericx, agrees that the program has made a significant improvement to the days’ routine. “We are now able to do reports instantly and verify the information with just a few clicks. There is no more copy cat charting and we can track reports easier by just doing a simple search,” added Diericx. She feels that this is especially important for risk management when you are tracking falls in hallways.
Of the many positive things that Bergren has experienced since the integration of the program, she especially finds the communication board extremely helpful as it serves as a way to notify and remind staff of important matters. “It is like a little sticky note, like a small post it,” said Bergren. For example, if a resident misplaces a pair of glasses or a hearing aid, all you need to do is track the progress of the resident throughout the day to locate the missing item. “That fact alone has been very helpful,” added Bergren. “It continues to save us a great deal of time.”
HILLCREST HOME RECEIVES A 5-STAR RATING
Hillcrest Home in Geneseo, recently received notification that it has again been rated a 5-Star Nursing Home. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers and their families compare homes based on specific standards. The rating system also helps to identify targeted areas that a caregiver or family member may wish to ask questions when considering a home for a loved one.
According to Hillcrest Home Administrator, Mary Bergren, “the CMS rates each home quarterly based on the same three sources of data including health inspections, staffing and quality measures (QMs). These areas of criteria provide a means to measure the quality of care for each certified nursing home. A 5-Star rating means that a facility ranks “much above average.” A 1-Star rating is the lowest and means a facility ranks “much below average.”
The health inspection rating was designed to protect nursing home residents and ensure the best possible care available. Each certified nursing home must meet over 180 regulatory standards, which include proper management of medications, safe food preparation and storage and protection from physical or mental abuse. A trained team of objective inspectors visit onsite to review these and many other topics when checking the quality of care. They inspect medical records and talk individually with residents about the care they are receiving.
The overall staffing rating is the number of staff compared to the number of residents based on the needs and care required by the residents. CMS looks at the trained nursing staff and their roles as registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, licensed vocational nurse to certified nursing assistant. These positions are adjusted to the population of the home and their needed expertise. “The staffing level at Hillcrest Home is stable and is always where it needs to be and this is important for the program,” stated Bergren. Each nursing home is required to report its staffing hours to its state survey agency. CMS gets nursing home staffing data from the states. There is strong evidence that low nurse staffing levels seriously compromise quality of care for residents.
The quality measures’ rating is important as it provides an in-depth look at how well the nursing home is caring for all its residents. This includes their physical and clinical needs. These measures might show how the nursing home helps people keep their ability to dress and eat, changes to a resident’s mobility or if they have received their flu shot. People considering a nursing home for themselves or a family member may find these quality measures helpful in determining which home provides the best overall care.
When comparing nursing homes the Five Star Quality Rating System is helpful, but a personal visit is the best way to make a final decision. “I always recommend people make an onsite visit to meet the care givers at Hillcrest Home and to experience the comfort level and atmosphere of the home. They should tour the facility and see for themselves the care we provide to each and every resident,” said Bergren.