Hughes Announced as Administrator of the Year
BY MELANIE BUCK –
A culture change is springing up at Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab Center. For the second year in a row, the center has received top honors with the Culture Change Award under the Southern Administrative Services umbrella.
The Culture Change Award was given to Rich Mountain Nursing for their “movement to empower the residents to make this their home for long-term care,” explained Vicki Hughes, Administrator of Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab.
“Instead of being an institutional model of a nursing home we empower the residents to make this their home. We make sure that we are granting all of their wants, needs, and preferences of each and every resident. We make it about their convenience, not about our convenience. The medical model is secondary to the person that they are. They are not defined by their illness, we really try to learn as much as we can about that person, no matter what the disease process is, so that we can make sure they are getting what they need and want.”
“Typical nursing homes suffer from three plagues, loneliness, helplessness, and boredom” and Hughes explained that they do their best to insure that none of those things occur at Rich Mountain Nursing. Providing activities, learning the patients and knowing when their birthday is or maybe the anniversary of the death of a loved one, the staff knows their patients and go the extra step to make sure that patient still has a good day.
They have cooking classes where they sell the goodies they bake to raise money for their annual Halloween Spooktacular. “The Halloween Spooktacular is provided and run by the residents, they raise the money and buy the candy,” said Hughes. A ‘gun range’ has also been implemented where residents can target practice with rifles and handguns. “The residents love it. We started with some men and now even have women. It’s a fierce competition because whoever wins gets to go to the restaurant of their choice and eat the meal of their choice.
Another way they empower residents is by getting them involved in the decision making process. Allowing a panel of residents to help in the hiring process of a new ‘shower person’ is one example. Qualified applicants are interviewed and approved by residents because, as Hughes put it, “they are the ones being bathed by that person and they should have a say in it.” She added, “Having a compassionate and consistent staff is one reason for our success. We’ve changed our culture and the staff and residents both benefit.” Instead of ‘halls’ they have ‘neighborhoods’ and small changes such as that, create a culture that is proving to be a success.
Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab also received the ‘Best Rehab to Home’ award. Hughes explained that part of their success is attributed by all departments working together, such as the Activities Director working with the Rehab Director, to make sure extra activities coincide with rehab treatments and everyone stays on the same page, benefitting the patient. Personal plans are created for each patient to fit their needs and for rehab patients, to get become more independent and move back home as soon as they can.
“Making this a resident-directed home is what we are moving toward,” said Hughes. Occupational Therapist April Felion said, “That’s one of the best things about working here. It’s fun to work here. It’s about the residents and making quality of life for people. Some people have a better quality of life by staying here because of the activities. It’s awesome. The ones that go home always come back and thank us and let us know that we made a difference in their life.”
The Center also received the 5-Star Quality Award for their facilities. During this year’s inspection from the state, Rich Mountain Nursing and Rehab was ‘tag free’ meaning they had no violations in their facilities.
One staff member explained why he loves Rich Mountain Nursing and why he’s been there for so long. “I love my job. The residents are the reason I’m a CNA and are an extension of my family, my moms and pops. I’ve worked here for three years and I know what my patients want and when they want it. I’m their arms and their eyes. It means a lot to me. The good Lord has placed it upon my heart. I know why I’m here and it’s to serve a higher purpose. It’s not a high paying job but God has blessed me,” said Michael Jones, a CNA for almost two decades. “We are lucky to have a leader like Vicky around here. We appreciate everything she does.”
Hughes herself was also awarded a top prize at the banquet. Administrator of the Year is the top award one can receive and Hughes admitted that she was quite surprised when they called her name. “I was thrilled to receive the award. It was really nice to have all of my peers recognize me,” said Hughes. “I couldn’t do anything without my team. The word ‘I’ has no place here; It’s ‘we’ not ‘you.’ You can’t be a leader without followers. I’m not alone in this. The staff knows whey they are here, to serve our residents, and I have some of the best staff,” smiled Hughes.