Park Lane is ready for next state inspection

By Rod Haxton, editor

State inspectors are generally the last people that a nursing home enjoys seeing walk through their doors.

It means several days of carefully going through paperwork and close scrutiny of staff members as they go through their daily routines.

The findings can also weigh heavily on the fate of the nursing home and its staff, as happened at Park Lane Nursing Home nearly two years ago when 21 deficiencies - one of them life-threatening - led to the dismissal of the top three nursing home officials.

The two years since have been anything but business as usual for Park Lane.

There was considerable controversy surrounding the hiring, and subsequent dismissal, of Frontline Management. During Frontline’s 17 months on the job, the nursing home saw its census drop and its financial situation deteriorate to the point where Scott County assumed ownership of the facility in September.

Despite the financial turmoil, resident care has been making a recovery.

The most recent state survey in April 12 found just 10 deficiencies - the fewest since December 2005 when there were 14 deficiencies.

The Park Lane administration is looking forward to the next inspection in hopes of bringing down the number of deficiencies even further.

“We’re ready for them to come back and do another survey,” says Administrator Nicole Turner. “Our consultants (H&M HealthCare) say things are looking good.”

Surveys are conducted within 9-15 months of the previous one. Turner and her staff are expecting the next inspection to occur “at any time.”


Adequate Staffing

One of the big hurdles cited in recent surveys has been the home’s ability to maintain adequate staffing based on square footage.

“We’re trying to provide staff based on the census and the state is saying that we need a certain amount of staff based on the size of the building,” Turner points out.

She says it can be difficult to balance the two in a facility with two different dining rooms and which covers most of a city block.

“When our census was down to 48, it was difficult to justify the staff necessary to cover the building. As our census has climbed to about 65, it’s much easier to bring our staffing up to standards that satisfy the inspectors,” she says.

The administration was able to help the situation somewhat when the move was made back into the remodeled facility. At the time, they were able to relocate several of the semi-independent residents in one wing.

“Those residents don’t require the two-person transfers, which has helped with staffing in other areas of the home,” explains Turner.


Focus on Individuals

“Last year, I felt good about the progress that we’d made and I feel even better this year,” says Turner.

She gives credit to Shelly Crocker who had been the MDS coordinator since September 2011, but was promoted to director of nursing in November 2012.

“With the help of Shelly, we’ve streamlined our policies and we’re focusing even more on the individual needs of our residents,” Turner says.

Crocker is implementing more extensive evaluation and continuous training of the staff.

A single policy book has replaced multiple books, eliminating confusion for staff regarding what policies should be followed. The home is also doing more follow-up with families regarding concerns and the care of their family member living at Park Lane.

On a daily basis, Crocker does room checks to make sure that beds are made and blinds are open by 10:00 a.m. - provided the resident isn’t a late riser.

“Should any family member or friend stop by, we want the rooms to look presentable and inviting,” she says.

Crocker says there is a different point of emphasis with staff members from week to week as they check the condition of the residents.

“The big thing now is hygiene,” Crocker says. “I’ll check their mouths, hand out toothbrushes and make sure those needs are being met.”

A recent training session covered the need for pain medications.

“It’s normal to think that if someone isn’t showing visible signs of pain, but requesting medication, that they are becoming addicted to the meds,” Crocker says. “Just because the pain may not be evident doesn’t mean the individual isn’t experiencing it. We try to make the staff more keenly aware of both sides of the issue and make sure our residents aren’t experiencing pain when it can be avoided.”

Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC) supports raising the minimum nursing staffing hours in Kansas nursing homes from two hours per resident per day to more than four hours per day. Research indicates this results in reduced injury, illness and death and is a significant indicator for improving quality of life and care for elders in nursing homes.

A recent survey found Park Lane is providing 3.6 hours per resident, per day.

“This is better than a lot of nursing homes in Kansas,” says Crocker. “Most nursing homes are in the 2.8 to three hour range. I think it’s pretty impressive that we’re well above that.”


Park Lane ranks well

among area facilities

Each year Kansas Advocates for Better Care (KABC) compiles a list of Kansas nursing homes cited with 10 or more deficiencies for each of the home’s three most recent inspections. 

The national average of nursing home deficiencies during an inspection is 7.5. The Kansas average is 10.1.

Forty-one is the most deficiencies cited in a Kansas nursing home during the most recent inspection period.

By federal mandate, the average length of time between surveys in all Kansas nursing homes is 12 months. Surveys must occur at least every 15 months.

Nursing home inspections are mandated by federal law to ensure that frail elders and vulnerable adults who live in nursing homes are provided care according to standards set by state and federal regulations. Inspection teams are made up of nurses employed by the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS).

There are currently 345 licensed nursing homes in Kansas.  

KABC encourages consumers to look at a number of factors when evaluating a nursing home as a place to live and receive care.  Annual survey results are one of those factors. Anyone with questions can call toll-free, 800-525-1782.

Following are area nursing homes and the number of cited deficiencies during inspections as of Nov. 15, 2012.

Homestead Health and Rehab Center Garden City 30

Ness Co. Hospital (Cedar Village) Ness City 27

Good Samaritan Society Liberal 17

Greeley County Hospital Tribune 16

Good Samaritan Society Dodge City 15

Logan County Manor LTCU Oakley 13

Gove County Medical Center Quinter 11

Park Lane Nursing Home Scott City 10

Trinity Manor Dodge City 10

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