BHRC board to review hospice program impact

By LARRY C. BOWERS
Posted 7/27/18

Scott Oliver, administrator at the Bradley County Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, is seeking assistance from the board of directors in evaluating the facility's hospice program.Oliver, and …

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BHRC board to review hospice program impact

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Scott Oliver, administrator at the Bradley County Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, is seeking assistance from the board of directors in evaluating the facility's hospice program.

Oliver, and Director of Nursing Tammy Ledford, want suggestions for changes, improvements and/or changes to offset the hospice program's adverse impact on the overall level of care at the county-owned nursing home.

They pointed out to the board Tuesday evening that BHRC is evaluated on a Five-Star rating system.

The main criteria is the state survey (inspection), staffing, and documented indicators (incidents).

They say many indicators, such as minor falls, can be attributed to hospice patients.

Oliver emphasized the facility's administration and staff have a desire and commitment to care for the community's hospice population, where several other regional facilities do not provide hospice care. 

But, that desire for care comes at a cost to the overall level of care for which BHRC is credited.

"I don't believe people realize how good we really are," Oliver proclaimed, saying it's a matter of pride for the facility and its staff that he feels the measure for quality of care and compassion are often overlook.

The county facility has received excellent reviews in state surveys in recent years, and maintained a quality level of staffing. But, the indicators (incidents) have had an impact.

Ledford said there are up to 20 indicators that are documented in the overall rating process for the Peerless Road facility.

Oliver said he has considered a specific, separate space for hospice patients at BHRC, and also the possibility of constructing a hospice home on campus property, adjacent to the main building.

Board member Sarah Smith said such a facility would probably need up to 20 rooms.

"With 20 rooms, we would probably have a waiting list," Oliver responded. The facility often has more than 20 hospice patients.

Any major project related to the nursing home would be at the discretion of Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, and the Bradlehy County Commission.

Two members of the commission, Robert Rominger and Bill Winters, are members of the BHRC board. 

Oliver is urging the board to explore means of improving, and perhaps even strengthening BHRC's commitment and resources for its constant-changing hospice population, while also improving quality of care measures for the remainder of BHRC residents.

Tuesday's census, provided by board member Sandra Snider, was 166, which is the range of the approved budget for the coming year. There are a few nursing vacancies, but no staffing concerns.

No action was taken at Tuesday's July meeting, but board members are expected to discuss the presentation by Oliver and Ledford. 

Rominger and Winters could take the issue to their commission colleagues.

In other nursing home business:

• Ledford said BHRC is currently working on competency training for the nursing staff.

"We want everyone to know their impact," she said, adding that the state now requires validation of such training. She said nurses have to demonstrate specific skills.

•  Dan Gilbert was unable to attend the meeting, but provided board members with his monthly financial report. There were no surprises.

• Smith gave a report on the facility's environment, saying there has been some painting in the bathrooms, and replacement of some old wallpaper.

Oliver said the maintenance crew has noticed some weathering of the facility's guttering system, and repair is being considered.

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