Harmony Manor Nurses Undertake 'Advancing Excellence Campaign'

The nurses in Humboldt General Hospital's Skilled Nursing Facility have embraced a campaign aimed at making Harmony Manor a better place to live, work, and visit.

The "Advancing Excellence in America's Nursing Homes Campaign" was founded in 2006 by a coalition of 28 organizations ranging from nursing home providers to quality improvement experts to government agencies.

Their goal was to support quality improvement efforts in America's nursing homes by encouraging the adoption of nine quality improvement goals.

According to the group's website, "Our vision is that every nursing home resident in America experiences person-centered quality of life as a result of a stable and empowered workforce, dedicated to improving clinical and organizational outcomes and engaging in open communication and transparency."

It's a vision that certainly resonates with Harmony Manor Nurse Manager Robin Gillis.

"When I heard about the campaign, I knew this was the direction we needed to go," said Gillis.

Gillis wasn't the least bit surprised when her staff felt exactly the same way and readily engaged in the program.

The program requires that each participating nursing home choose one organizational and one clinical measure from among the program's nine goals.

The organizational measures encourage staff stability, consistent alignment, person-centered care and reducing hospitalizations, while clinical measures center on improvements in pain management, reducing pressure ulcers, increasing mobility, decreasing infections and appropriate use of medications.

Nine Harmony Manor nurses have joined the program and each has chosen a goal to pursue.

Participating nurses and their goals include Diane Nevis, LPN (Hospitalizations); Mary Schlotzhauer, RN (Resident Centered Care); Lori Hotz, RN (Medications); Dawn Bryant, RN (Pain Management); Lorene Rushin-Hall, LPN (Infection Control); Jennifer McDonald, RN (Pressure Ulcers); Jennifer Fernandez, RN and Beverly Shell, LPN (Mobility); and Robin Gillis, RN (Staff Stability).

"So even though the program requires that each facility only work on two goals—one organizational and one clinical—Harmony is working on eight of the goals," said Gillis.

Gillis said the reaction from leaders in the "Advancing Excellence" organization was disbelief. "They said, 'You've got to be kidding; that is remarkable that such a small facility would adopt so many goals! That really puts your facility on the leading edge of this campaign.'"

But it wasn't surprising to Harmony Manor veteran nurse Pam Ruark. "We have such a team atmosphere," said Ruark. "Everybody works together. We're all trying to make things better—even housekeeping."

"Our team is already focused on maintaining a five-star community here," agreed Gillis, "so quality improvement is a daily priority; we're always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for our residents."

Gillis said several positive changes have already resulted from the "Advancing Excellence Champaign," with each goal requiring increased dedication from staff members to the ongoing process of improvement.

"But that is our goal through the campaign," said Gillis, "to create a work environment in which all staff can contribute to quality care while having the opportunity to learn and grow as health care professionals."

In addition to being a CMS Five Star Facility, Harmony Manor recently learned that it received the Women's Choice Award from Women Certified distinguishing it as a 2014 America's Best for Extended Care.

Humboldt General Hospital was first awarded "America's Best" status in 2013.

Harmony Manor offers 24-hour nursing care and immediate access to primary, specialty and emergency physician care, on-site physical and occupational therapy, on-site licensed social worker, a full slate of in-house and off-campus activities, full nutrition services, faith services, access to grooming resources that help residents maintain their preferred personal appearance, a warm and caring relationship with the facility's staff family, and more.

For more information on Harmony Manor, please call Humboldt General Hospital Skilled Nursing Facility Nurse Manager Robin Gillis at (775) 623-5222, ext. 1425.