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Nelson Manor receives perfect inspection score

Published: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:38 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:42 p.m. CST
(photo by Kate Malott)
Nelson Manor owner and administrator Gena Franklin credits the perfect inspection score to her dedicated staff. In the Iowa Department Inspections and Appeals report is stated their facility was determined to be in "substantial compliance," and their staff should be commended for their efforts.

Inspections, every assisted living facility receives them, but Nelson Manor went above and beyond for their inspection. They received a perfect score.

"They (inspections) are unannounced," owner and administrator Gena Franklin said. "Everybody has them annually, but you don't know when they are going to be here. Once your year is up, they can come anytime. The goal is to be (a) surprise visit. So you don't know when they are coming in. We don't pay them to come in."

The process starts off with an unannounced visit. Franklin said the visits could be a few days or weeks.

"They come in and audit our carts, they watch the (staff) do cares, they watch dietary and they check the temperature are right  for food," Director of Nursing Dayle Tessar said.

They look at everything from the building itself," Franklin said. "They check for cracked tile (and) chipped paint. They will actually tag you for chipped paint."

The survey is no easy task for anyone at Nelson Manor

"It's very, very stressful," Franklin  said. "They can come into your building, and they can be in here for a week. We are a 36-bed facility, and they could stay a week. Usually they stay about three day.

She said Newton Village had marks for very minor things before, but this was the first year it received a perfect score.

"They can be nitpicky," Franklin said. "So (they can tag anyone) on anything, from environmental issues to significant things in nursing like, do you have patients with falls who shouldn't have falls? Are you giving you giving your medications correctly? Are you following doctors orders. Your dietary department, are they serving food at the proper temperature?"

Some other items included in their test are proper diets, cleanliness and doctors visit's. Franklin said doctors are required to visit their patients at Nelson Manor, and if they do not, Nelson Manor gets in trouble for it.

"No matter what happens, we are responsible, because it's our building," Franklin said. "I think the big thing about it is you can't have a deficiency free survey unless your staff is doing what they need to be doing every day, day in and day out. Otherwise if they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing, the surveyors walk-in, and they have to perform cares right in front of the surveyors. If they are not doing it right every day, you screw up right in front of the surveyors."

When the surveyor comes in for their yearly inspection, they do not just look at that day's work, they look at the whole year's work.

"They may see a resident that has problems, and that triggers them to pull the chart for the entire year and look at it," Franklin said. "We have to meet state and federal guidelines, because we are (both) state and federally funded with Medicare and Medicate."

Perhaps one of the contributing factors to the perfect score is that fact Newton Village has a very low turnover rate.

"You have to be a team player," Franklin said. "You have to want to do it right. You have to care about the residents or it's not going to work, and here if you come in, and you're doing things half-way, the staff is going to complain - they don't stay very long. It comes to the office and before long they are gone."

"Our staff, they have expectations of each other, and they hold them to that," Tessar said. "They will talk and they will say, 'Hey you're not pulling your weight today or whatever. They stay on top of each other."

Franklin said they recently had a member of their staff hurt their back at home, and rather than hire a temporary staff member from an organization known as Poole, their team rose to the occasion.

"Poole is like agency that rents help, and we don't use Poole help," Franklin said.

Less than 10 percent of assisted living facility in the country receive a perfect score, and Tessar said this makes the this year a little more special.

"Some facilities, when they do their annual, they have problems — they fix them, and they become deficiency free, (and) we are deficiency free from the get go," Tessar said. "So it's not like we had 22 deficiencies and we come back , six weeks later and fixed them all. (And) now, we are deficiency are. We are deficiency free from the first survey."

"We are a privately owned facility which a lot of the homes are cooperate," Franklin said. "I don't think are any other privately owned facilities in Newton."

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