Oakview Nursing Home celebrates Iowa Governor’s Quality Health Care Award

T-R PHOTO BY CHUCK FRIEND - Staff members and one resident (in wheel chair) of Oakview Nursing Home in Conrad join Administrator Kara Butler (fifth from left holding banner) and Nominator Dixie Walters (fifth from right standing in back row) in celebration of the home being chosen to receive the Governor’s Quality Choice Health Care Award for 2018.

CONRAD — Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Aug. 22 that two long-term care facilities have been selected to receive the 2018 Governor’s Award for Quality Care in Health Care Facilities. Mercy Living Center-North of Clinton and Oakview Nursing Home of Conrad were selected from a field of 11 nursing facilities that were nominated for the Governor’s Award.

The Governor’s Award recognizes Iowa health care facilities that offer unique or innovative activities to enhance the quality of care or quality of life for their residents.

Dixie Walters of Conrad was the person who sent the nomination papers for Oakview to the State Department of Inspections and Appeals, as she has done in the past. She and her husband Dennis have had three parents as residents of Oakview, and Walters feels that this is her way of “giving back” to the staff, board and administration for their years of service and dedication to the residents of the facility.

“We all are very excited,” said Administrator Kara Butler. “When you have a beautiful building and a staff that is dedicated to treating the residents as family, it is a winning combination for all to be proud of. Our motto is ‘Welcome Home,’ and as Dixie said in her nomination letter, we live up to it.”

Butler said that two members of the Department of Inspections and appeals came and toured the local facility and interviewed staff, residents and residents’ family members.

“They were here about three to four hours, and even though they were late for another home tour, they stayed around so that all of the resident family members who wanted to had a chance to share their thoughts,” Butler said.

The good news came last week when Kathy Keeler of the Department of Inspections and Appeals called to tell Butler that the governor had reviewed their reports and had chosen Oakview as a 2018 winner.

“We are just waiting now for the actual award to be presented,” Butler said.

She added that the report said the group focused on the home-like environment and the community involvement sectors of Oakview — things like the Snowflake Ball; Concerts under the Oaks; and the Memorial Service held each year for the residents who have passed away during the year.

Oakview is the hub of community activity, and Walters noted in her letter that schools and churches cooperate fully. She said choirs and classes perform, the football team polishes helmets and have homecoming breakfast with the residents, the summer town festival parade and Homecoming parade are designed so that they pass Oakview to allow their residents a special view.

Butler said the participation at Oakview by students from preschool to high school at BCLUW has helped to do away with the stereotype of young people being afraid to visit nursing homes.

“It was exciting to see members of the BCLUW Cross Country team high-fiving each other at the recent ‘Meet the Comets’ night, after they found out that our home had won this award,” Butler said. “They were excited to feel that their walking the residents may have been one of the contributing factors in Oakview winning the award and they took ownership in that fact.”

Walters indicated the following factors that set Oakview apart from others in the field:

• Excellent fresh food served buffet style; accommodations that are made for family dining and holiday meals.

• Cleanliness above and beyond what one might think.

• The nursing, CNA and medical staff are on top of every issue.

• Weekly beauty shop on site.

• The activities at Oakview give residents a reason to “get up and go.”

• Clergy in the area hold services each Sunday.

• Oakview’s administrator, office personnel, social worker staff and patient advocates are never too busy to help.

“Oakview enhances the highest quality of life for its residents,” Walters said. “When a resident has a particular interest or need, the Oakview staff sees to it that the resident received it.”

She pointed to things such as a small aircraft flight for one resident, and another who had an interest in horses so miniature horses were brought in. Still another who misses work folds towels, and some residents do outdoor gardening work. Dogs and cats are also permitted to come visit the residents.

Butler said the last two years have been a joy to work at Oakview, and that she will probably be there as long as the board wants her.

“You have to love people in this business, and you have to love the elderly. This is a home – there is nothing facility about it. We are so blessed to be in a community that cares, and to be a place where a resident is not going to lose that connection with the community by coming to Oakview to live,” Butler said.

David Werning of the Department of Inspections and Appeals said facility history plays a big part in the consideration for the award once the nominations are received. He said other things looked at are the unique services provided by the facility, and if the facility accepts Medicare residents.

Werning stated that it was great to see a small 46-bed community owned facility be chosen and nominated by a family member who has been at the home on almost a daily basis and knows very well what the facility provides.

He said once the tour of the nominated facilities were made, the reports are submitted to Department of Inspection and Appeals Director Rod Roberts for his review and those accepted are then sent to the governor for consideration and selection of the winners.

A formal award ceremony will take place at a later date (yet to be determined) with either Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg or Department of Inspection and Appeals Director Rod Roberts making the presentation to Oakview Administrator Kara Butler.

“Exceptional care is not unusual for Oakview, it is the norm. They set their own bar very high,” Walters said. “Some of the board members own parents are residents of Oakview. That speaks volumes.”

Nominations are open to all health care facilities licensed under Iowa Code chapter 135C, which include nursing facilities, residential care facilities and intermediate care facilities, including those facilities specializing in the care of persons with mental illness or intellectual disabilities. Assisted living programs, elder group homes, or hospital-based nursing facilities as these facilities are not licensed under the Iowa Code chapter establishing the award program are not eligible.