In Skilled Nursing

Skilled Nursing Receives a Five-Star Rating

Beacon Hill’s Skilled Nursing Receives a Five-Star Rating from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services

For two consecutive quarters, Beacon Hill’s Skilled Nursing achieved a Medicare/Medicaid Five-Star rating. This is a distinction that is held by the top 10% of skilled nursing facilities throughout the country. WOW! The rating system was created by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services in 2008. They compile information from health care surveys, plus quality measures and staffing, to help consumers compare and select skilled nursing care centers for family members needing that care.

While certainly pleased by the recognition, Nursing Director Amanda Daggett admits that it was not a goal that she and her staff had identified or were striving for. Her goal and theirs is to provide the very best care for residents who live at Beacon Hill, specifically those in assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing. “It is a big deal,” Amanda says, “and people do pay attention to it; however, our goal is quality care and service because this is what we do all-day, every day.”

When asked what specifically her staff did to achieve this rating, Amanda pointed out that Beacon Hill is a non-profit facility and has a small leadership team, so there are fewer logistics to work through and everyone is constantly focused on improving. “When we achieve one goal, we move the goal post and ask ourselves what else we can do to get even better. We are not a content group. We don’t want to be just good, or even very good, we want to be the best.” She praises her whole team, explaining that it is interdisciplinary, and includes not only nursing but also dietary, life enrichment, housekeeping, maintenance, and a network of providers—physicians, practitioners, pharmacy and lab services, and Beacon Hill’s executive leadership. “We work collaboratively, and they all helped us achieve the five-star rating.”

Amanda also pointed to the low staffing ratios—seven residents per staff member. She points out that other skilled nursing centers have much larger ratios—at least 10 or more residents per staff member. “We are much more than a staff of workers here…we’re family. We take care of each other and have our own Beacon Hill family culture.” She attributes that as one of the reasons for Beacon Hill’s low turnover rates. “Nurses and aides want to work here. While we certainly care about the skills that an individual brings, we are interested in maintaining our family culture and if the applicant can fit in.”

Clinical Care Manager Tim Gabbert, RN, agrees and says, “We are very upfront about our culture and environment. Our focus is on both staff and residents having a great experience. We want staff to slow down, to take more time with residents. We do not want staff to be task-oriented, where a premium is placed on rushing through specific duties.” Tim adds that anyone who approaches work that way will not fit in at Beacon Hill. “We are focused on building a better program and for staff to have closer relationships with our residents.”

When asked how the coronavirus has affected the care for assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing residents, Amanda says, “We receive new guidelines and protocols every day; it becomes more specific each time, and we are following the guidelines.” She said that even before the outbreak of COVID-19, they prepared for infections and viruses. “This one is very serious and those we care for are at highest risk. We continue to plan and prepare and feel confident in our approach.”

Coincidentally, it was just last year that Beacon Hill inaugurated its own “Five-Star” hospitality training, called Five S*T*A*R* Care. Amanda refers to that and reiterates the commitment the staff makes to that level of care. “For our front-line staff, they understand it’s their responsibility to meet the needs of our residents. It’s paramount for them.”

Amanda and Tim’s assessment for the reasons they have achieved their Five Star rating is echoed by their nursing staff. Certified Nurse Aide Monica Siku states, “We have a very good team here—the ‘best of the best.’” Most of them have worked at other facilities and have chosen Beacon Hill and cite its commitment, not only to provide ongoing education and continual updates on latest trends, but to also hire “the right team.”

“We focus on our residents—each one individually,” says Charge Nurse Valerie Columbe, RN. “For me, it’s about the personal attention—getting to know them—every aspect about them—to understand what they need—and, more than anything, to create a home environment. This is their home and we want them to feel that way.”

Monica agreed, saying, “I love getting to know them better—their personalities. Some are jokers, others like to talk about food. We take the time to get to know them and not just focus on their physical needs. That is our culture here and that’s what our leadership wants.”

Clinical Care Assistant Pam Deacon, RN, echoes that and says, “It’s just great working at a 5-star skilled nursing center. We have 5-star managers who provide the low staff-to-resident ratio so that we can do what we’re called to do.”


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