By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren Memorial Hospital's Lynn Care Center, a long-term care facility in Front Royal, marked the 10th year in its current building last week, and now there's another reason to celebrate.
The nursing home recently received recognition in the form of a My InnerView Excellence in Action award from the National Research Corporation. The award goes to places that score above the 90th percentile of qualifying facilities, based on customer satisfaction surveys.
Out of about 5,500 participating facilities in the nation, Lynn Care Center was one of five in the state and 361 nationwide to receive the award.
Surveys were not only given to residents of the facility, but also their family members, according to Executive Director Paul Clements. Participants were asked a series of questions, answering with a rating of excellent, good, fair or poor. The final two questions related to overall satisfaction and whether or not participants would recommend the facility to others, he said.
"These questions cover activities, physician care, housekeeping, food ... everything," Clements said. "The reality is, this is because of the staff. Nursing, dietary, activities, laundry ... anyone that comes in contact with a member that truly makes a different in their day to day lives here."
Lynn Care was able to see the results of each survey.
"I don't want to be known as a good or great nursing home ... we strive to be the best we can be," he said. "I want this to be an excellent facility."
Whether patients are long or short stay residents, Clements said they, their relatives and the staff become like family.
"There's a lot of living that goes on here. This is their home," he said. "We try, as best we can, to mirror the types of things our residents did at home before coming here, whether it be gardening, art ... we take them out shopping, on day trips and to restaurants."
Lynn Care also works to bring community members and local students in to visit with residents. Student athletes and various club members in Warren County make frequent visits to the facility through organized activities.
"It's so important to our residents because it connects them to their community," he said. "It also brings back those positive memories of things they enjoyed doing when they were active members in the community. We will be the people in the future to utilize this facility. Our residents were teachers, doctors, community leaders, moms and dads, just like all of us are. These are people who had vibrant productive lives, and it doesn't have to end once they get here."
The residents at Lynn Care are there for a variety of reasons, ranging from dementia and Alzheimer's disease, to short term physical ailments that don't allow them to take care of themselves, Clements said. Staff is specifically trained to work with residents depending on their condition, so that they are not constantly supervised and cared for, but also have more freedom because employees are more personal and familiar with each individual.
"It may sound cliche, but I believe the thing that truly sets us apart is that we care," he said.
While Clements was not with Lynn Care in the old building, he said the larger, 120-bed facility was a good adjustment.
He said each unit is like a small neighborhood for residents, with bird aviaries, pianos and gardens, among other things.
Kathy Foster, the activities director, has worked at Lynn Care for about three years, but knew she wanted to work in the field since she was in high school.
"I've worked with long-term care patients of all ages, but this population brings out something in me that no other population does," she said. "If I can get a reaction out of someone who doesn't normally respond ... that is everything to me."
Foster said she appreciates the team approach of working at Lynn Care, as "everyone looks out for every single patient."
"No one says 'Oh, I won't help that person with that because it isn't my job,'" she said.
Residents Elizabeth Atkins and Catherine Roberts have each been at Lynn Care for over a year, and have nothing but good things to say about it.
"Everything we could want, need, think about trying or doing ... it's all here," Roberts said. She enjoys interacting with community members, whether it be students or just saying hello to visitors as they walk into the center.
"You'll always have those one or two people that are grumpy, but really, we all are happy to call this our home away from home," she said.
Atkins said she was not as welcoming to the idea of living at Lynn Care, but her sons did research and convinced her to give it a try.
"This is the best place for me, and I'm not lying ... if I didn't like it, I would tell you," she said. "I've met so many wonderful people -- friends and employees -- and honestly, I would recommend Lynn Care to anyone and everyone who needs it."