Atlantic and Iowa City Facilities Named Governor's Quality Award-Winners
DES MOINES, IOWA (August 1, 2016) – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad today announced that Atlantic Specialty Care and Oaknoll Retirement Residence have been selected to receive the 2016 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities. Atlantic Specialty Care is a 90-bed long-term care facility in Cass County, and Oaknoll Retirement Residence is a 58-bed nursing facility located in Iowa City.
The Atlantic facility was nominated by a family member of three former residents, all of whom required special care and attention due to their illnesses. “Atlantic Specialty Care provided extraordinary and compassionate care for three members of my family over a 23-year period,” Martha Sheil of Plymouth, MI, wrote.
Martha’s sister-in-law, Beverly, had Huntington’s disease as did two of Beverly’s three children, Carol Ann and Jim. Beverly was placed at Atlantic Specialty Care by a social worker where, with the excellent care provided by the facility’s staff, she resided for 18 years. When it became apparent that Carol Ann, too, required assistance, Martha contacted 27 nursing homes in the Omaha area, all of which declined to accept a resident with Huntington’s disease.
“At wits end,” Martha said she called Atlantic Specialty Care and Administrator Kellie Jimerson answered. ‘Of course we will take Carol Ann, to honor her mother,’ the administrator said, adding: ‘We loved Bev. She was family to us. I know Carol from all the years she visited her mom.’ A year later, Jimmy, too, was admitted to the facility as the symptoms of the disease progressed. The brother and sister were able to be together for nearly a year prior to Jimmy’s death in 2015.
“I will be forever grateful to Atlantic Specialty Care for admitting Beverly, Jimmy and Carol Ann,” Martha wrote. The facility took her family members when no one else would and was so kind and supportive to all of them.
Everyone provided a “loving family atmosphere,” Martha concluded. “They were all so kind to my loved ones, the rest of my family, and to me for more than 23 years.”
“A sense of community” was the descriptor used by the nominators to describe the environment at Oaknoll Retirement Residence. Deb Miller and Amy Nimmer both wrote about the exemplary and top-notch care provided to their mothers. “The staff has been exceptional and attentive to [my mother’s] needs,” Amy said. “She has thrived in this environment.”
Deb, too, cited Oaknoll’s staff as the facility’s “greatest strength. I feel the staff in Oaknoll’s Health Center go above and beyond to make my mom feel healthy, happy, and loved. My mom often tells me, I’m in a good place and I have nothing to complain about.”
Karl and Vicki Lonngren, who also nominated the facility, said Oaknoll has far exceeded their hopes and expectations for medical care, social stimulation and caring staff. “All members of the staff truly care for all their patients. They bend over backwards to facilitate individual likes and dislikes even if it makes extra work for them,” the couple wrote.
During the initial five years in which Karl was a resident at Oaknoll, he continued his professional career of teaching and performing research at the University of Iowa. The staff did a “fantastic job of getting him ready on time,” even rearranging their schedules to accommodate Karl’s academic schedule. As his Multiple Sclerosis progressed, Karl lost much of the physical control of his hands, so staff would “drive him in his electrical wheelchair to the desk” in order to use the computer.
Karl says he personally believes that he was able to extend his academic career because of the excellent care provided by the staff. “Other facilities in the area were not able to provide all of the required accommodations that would permit me to continue teaching and carrying on a productive research career,” he said, adding: “This feature has made the facility extremely unique in the state.”
The Governor’s Award for Quality Care was established to recognize long-term care facilities that provide – in the nominator’s opinion – a high level of care to their residents. This year’s Governor’s Award recipients were selected from a field of 17 nominated facilities. Since the first awards were presented in 2001, a total of 53 awards have been presented to 46 individual facilities.
Once a nomination is received by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), it is evaluated by staff in the Health Facilities Division according to established criteria. DIA personnel also conduct onsite visits to the selected facilities to talk with nominators, residents, family members and staff.
“What is most unique about the Governor’s Award for Quality Care is the fact that facilities are nominated by those they serve or the family members of their residents,” Governor Branstad explained. “All 17 nominated facilities should feel a sense of pride in knowing that their residents and family members take comfort in the dedicated service and quality of care provided.”
“The stories told by the nominators of their experiences at these facilities transcend the selection criteria for a Governor’s Award,” Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds said, adding: “They speak to the very heart of what a health care facility should be – a community of individuals lovingly caring for their residents.”
“The fact that Atlantic Specialty Care opened its doors to a resident that no other facility would admit is a testament to Atlantic’s commitment to serve its community,” Governor Branstad added. “Oaknoll, too, demonstrated its willingness to adapt to meet a resident’s specific needs, which enabled that resident to continue a productive and worthwhile career.”
“These facilities faced challenges presented by the needs of their residents and, rather than turn them away, they opened their doors and welcomed them into their community. Both Governor Branstad and I are delighted to have these facilities selected as recipients of the 2016 Governor’s Award for Quality Care,” the Lt. Governor concluded.