Appalachian Christian Village honored

By Jennifer Lassiter
Star Staff

JOHNSON CITY -- Appalachian Christian Village Health Care was honored recently with a Certificate of Accomplishment for the facility's success in improving restraint reduction as a part of the Nursing Home Quality Initiative (NHQI).
   Betty Woodfin, coordinator of the quality measure, said, "Anytime you use restraints, you make patients feel imprisoned. We want to ensure they have dignity, respect and a sense of freedom."
   By installing half length side rails instead of full length, and by removing belts in wheelchairs, for patients in which it is unnecessary, they have improved the quality of care. Limiting the use of restraints while still ensuring the safety of the patients has been a year-long process.
   Woodfin said they have used restorative nursing, which is a function maintenance program to reduce restraint use as well. Incorporating nurses and LPNs within the program is essential. "By walking patients they can maintain muscle strength, which also gives them more freedom."
   The award was presented June 2 at MeadowView Conference Center in Kingsport during the Regional NHQI Quality Achievement Banquet conducted by QSource Center for Healthcare Quality, Tennessee's only Medicare improvement organization.
   The national rate of restraints systems is 8 percent; statewide, 12 percent. Appalachian Christian Village is three percent, well below the state and national average, according to Sam Gajardo, compliance officer for Appalachian Christian Village.
   QSource honored Appalachian Christian Village Health Care for demonstrating quality improvement leadership and teamwork in developing quality improvement methods for the care of nursing home residents. Quality improvement efforts are part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
   Gwen Hendrix, administrator, said, "Appalachian Christian Village Health Care received this recognition based upon their willingness to embrace continuous quality improvement as a proven health care improvement tool, leadership buy-in, empowerment of the facility's quality improvement team and willingness to share their successes and lessons learned with others."