Three More UCH Communities Earn Bronze Quality Awards

Joining seven other United Church Homes-owned and managed senior living communities in their commitment to improve the quality of life and quality of care for older adults, three more UCH communities have been recognized by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living with quality awards.

The Pines Assisted Living at Glenwood Community in Marietta, Ohio, received the Bronze Award from the AHCA/NCAL for the first time, while Trinity Community at Beavercreek near Dayton, Ohio, and Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio, were recertified after first receiving the award in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

Improving Quality of Care for Older Adults

The annual award is the first of three distinctions possible through the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, which honors long-term and post-acute care providers that have demonstrated their commitment to improving the quality of care for older adults and people with disabilities. Implemented by AHCA/NCAL in 1996, the award program has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold.

Providers begin the quality-improvement process at the Bronze level, where they develop an organizational profile with fundamental performance elements such as vision and mission statements and key strengths and challenges.

Implementing Person-Directed Care Principles

Parkvue Executive Director Dan Miller credited administrator-in-training Heather Eckert for playing an instrumental role in the community receiving the award this year. As an AIT, Heather got hands-on experience in the quality program while observing a cornerstone element of the awards program — person-directed care.

An OMA artist paints with her volunteer during an art session at Parkvue Community. Both of the women pictured are Parkvue residents.

“That’s one area where Parkvue excels,” Heather said. “Person-directed care comes in many forms. Parkvue offers Music & Memory and Opening Minds through Art, as well as other programs to help residents with memory impairment. I was privileged to watch some of these programs in action, and I have witnessed the effect that person-directed care has on residents.”

Adults make hundreds of choices every day, and maintaining control over personal decisions remains important, especially as people age.

Person-directed care honors each person’s independence through an ongoing dialogue between residents and caregivers where the older adult exercises autonomy over choices affecting their life. Decisions over schedules, such as when to wake, eat, bathe or go to bed, are based on personal preference instead of staff convenience. The goal of person-directed care is to promote dignity, respect, self-determination, choice and purposeful living.

Individualized Care Plans

One way UCH implements person-directed care is through individualized care plans developed for each resident. Care teams, residents and families work together to meet the needs and goals appropriate for each resident. Person-directed care helps staff connect with each resident as a unique individual. Staff learns about each resident’s lifestyle, history and preferences, finds new ways to communicate, even nonverbally, and identifies ways to anticipate resident needs. At Parkvue, OMA is just one of several specialized memory care programs. Heather said she observed a resident, who had been mostly withdrawn, sad and tearful, start to experience abundant life through the evidence-based art program.

An OMA artist and volunteer display a painting during an art-making session at Parkvue Community.

“The day I was observing the class, (the resident) had created a painting. I will never forget the look on her face, the light in her eyes and the giggle of laughter the result of her painting brought her,” Heather said. “It was a glimpse of the woman she had been. Some would say that was just a moment, but to her, that was an important moment — a
moment when things made sense and she felt good. That is what quality measures are all about.”

Comfort Matters Accreditation

Another program that promotes person-directed care is Comfort Matters®, a memory care, dementia education and palliative-care program dedicated to improving the quality of care and quality of life for those living with dementia. It was developed by the Beatitudes Campus, which, like United Church Homes, is a member of the United Church of Christ’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries. UCH is implementing the evidence-based program throughout its senior living communities.

“This program is empowering our teams to better know the person and anticipate their needs,” said Amy Kotterman, director of hospitality at United Church Homes.

UCH Continues Commitment to Quality

Other UCH communities and the level of their awards include Chapel Hill Community, Canal Fulton, Ohio, Silver; Fairhaven Community, Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Silver; Four Winds Community, Jackson, Ohio, Silver; Harmar Place, Marietta, Ohio, Silver; Pilgrim Manor, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bronze; SEM Haven (managed), Milford, Ohio, Silver; and Trinity Community at Fairborn (formerly Patriot Ridge), Fairborn, Ohio, Silver.

UCH President and CEO Rev. Kenneth Daniel commended the three communities for achieving the first step on their quality journeys.

“United Church Homes is fully engaged with embedding the culture of quality in all our communities,” Rev. Daniel said. “Glenwood, Parkvue and Trinity have long been recognized as quality providers. The Bronze Award from AHCA demonstrates their ongoing commitment to the excellence that this award recognizes.”