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Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab – A Life Worth Living

BY JACLYN ROSE –

Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab is a 115 bed facility, located at 306 Hornbeck Street in Mena that focuses on creating an environment that gives their residents a life worth living.  With 95 employees including: 21 nurses, 45 certified nurses’ assistants (CNA), Speech and Language Pathologists, Medical Doctor, Doctor of Physical Therapy, Registered Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants and Occupational Therapist Assistants, as well as a large support staff, that work as a team with common goals, created individually for each patient, based on their wants, needs’ and preferences.

Administrator Vicki Hughes, a Polk County native, began working for Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab in 1996.  She held various roles in the facility and began working on her Administrative License in 2006.  After passing both the state and federal exams in 2008, she became the administrator in 2009.  “The greatest reward for me is in creating a culture of love and compassionate care inside the facility for our elders and serving the community, and when we can, discharging them back into the community and always giving them a life worth living,” explained Hughes.

“If you work here you have a large extended family,” explained Director of Nursing, Michelle Chambers.  “I have lots of grandmas and grandpas and lots of friends.  Here we see everyone as family.  And they are my friends and family until they need my clinical skills.  I really enjoy seeing our CNAs and our nurses become strong leaders.”  “We go to the CNA classes at and speak to the students on long term care and try to help prepare them for this line of work.  CNAs are a vital part of our facility.  We place a high value on them, they are our frontline staff,” added Hughes.

Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab hosts a strong team of therapists who work together to create an individual plan for each resident.  “Our role in therapy is to restore as much function to people as possible, to make them as independent as possible.  We work with pain management, neuro, cardiac, fractures, general disability, arthritis and a host of other diagnosis to get each patient to their highest functional level and then try to allow them to return home.  Nothing makes us feel better than when one of our residents can return home.  We listen to them and try to give them the care they need,” explained Mary Ferguson, Occupational Therapist.

At Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab the residents rule.  They choose the meals and they make suggestions for the activities around the facility.  Bonne Gibbs, Activity Director, makes sure the residents and their families have a variety of fun events.  There is a quilting club and a men’s club, which has hosted card games and fishing, both at a pond and at the facility, with a pool and live fish for the men to catch.  There are also monthly block parties and a choir that travels around singing to residents that are unable to leave their room.  “We take our residents shopping, which they love, and out to eat at different places. In the spring and summer we have a garden and they are able to grow their own vegetables and pick them and they will be in there shucking corn and snapping peas.  For the residents we can’t take out, we bring something to them.  One of our big family events is a Halloween event.  We will bring children in to trick or treat, just like they are in their own homes,” explained Gibbs.  “The residents have cooking classes and hold bake sales throughout the year to raise money to buy the candy; the choir also held a Johnny Cash event and sold tickets to help raise their own money.  We are big on family participation and we also invite the community to bring their children on Halloween for the Trick or Treat, starting at 6 p.m.,” added Hughes.  “We have fun and teamwork takes it.  It requires all departments working twenty four hours a day, seven days a week to make it all work.”

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