In 2021, Augusta Nursing and Rehab Center in Fisherville, VA, was recognized with the AHCA/NCAL Silver Quality Award. Previously, the center had received the Bronze Award, acknowledging its commitment to quality. Due to improvement in processes and overall services, this ascendance was not only recognized by the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living but also by the staff, residents, and families at the center.

The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program is a rigorous three-level process that evaluates long-term care facilities’ capabilities in accordance with nationally recognized standards for excellence. Each of the three progressive award levels, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, requires a more detailed demonstration of superior quality in the services provided by the care center being evaluated. Providers are nationally recognized for achieving each award level.

Being recognized at the Silver Award level means that the care center continues to learn and develop effective approaches that help improve performance and health care outcomes. Based on the Baldrige Excellence Framework, the Silver criteria provides the center with a thorough assessment of how their organization works, its effectiveness, and tools for improvement in their approaches.

“We focused on how we implemented the changes, following up and making the necessary modifications, when needed.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Consulate Health Care’s centers, just like Augusta Nursing and Rehab Center, updated policies and procedures in accordance with state and federal agencies to ensure the safety of our residents and staff. These company-wide changes included, but were not limited to, safety guidelines for the team, residents, and families, staff education programs, monitoring the implementation of changes, and more. These changes provided the care centers with an opportunity to evaluate previous processes and make the necessary changes to deliver the best care to their residents.

Alyssa Clark, Executive Director at Augusta Nursing, stated that Consulate’s policy changes and constant updates on safety guidelines were the main reason why the care center achieved the Silver Award of Quality. “We made sure to prepare our staff for the changes coming; that made all the difference,” she explained. Alyssa also talked about the importance of the continuous leadership support offered to the staff and always being available to help them. “You not only help them [staff] adapt to change but also monitor how those changes are occurring.”

By following procedures and making necessary modifications, Augusta Nursing and Rehab Center was successful in controlling COVID-19 contaminations and providing residents and staff with a safe environment to live and work in. Clark explained that “in a normal year, there is not a need to make so many modifications to the processes in place, but during the pandemic, there was a lot to change internally.”

When applying to the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program, the care center perfectly fits the Silver recognition requirements. With all the new policies, guidelines, and plans, the application was simply a way to showcase the process of implementing these changes. “We focused on how we implemented the changes, validated that the changes were effective, and made the necessary modifications when needed,” Clark explained. Augusta Nursing and Rehab Center’s ability to go from a Bronze to Silver Quality Award is a perfect example of Consulate Health Care’s commitment to People and Quality.

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