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Winning bronze

The AHCA/NCAL awarded a Bronze National Quality award to Fulda's Maple Lawn Nursing Home based on an application submitted by Heidi Appel (left), Staff Development and Quality Improvement Coordinator, and Administrator Arlan Swanson. (Alyson Buschena/Daily Globe)1 / 2
The Good Samaritan Home in Windom was also recognized with a Bronze National Quality award. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)2 / 2

WINDOM -- Three local nursing homes have received national recognition for their commitment to quality care.

Good Samaritan Society-Sogge Memorial, Windom, Good Samaritan Society, Jackson and Maple Lawn Nursing Home, Fulda, were all awarded the Bronze Commitment to Quality award recently through the National Quality Award program of the American Health Care Association (AHCA) and the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL).

The distinction is one of three awards available through the National Quality Award program. It recognizes facilities that have demonstrated commitment to improving quality care for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

The three southwest Minnesota facilities were among five others in the state to receive the award. Each facility submitted an application to the AHCA/NCAL to earn the recognition.

"We went through a process of explaining what we do to measure quality, and we had to send in a lot of information about what we do right now," Maple Lawn Nursing Home Administrator Arlan Swanson explained.

The applications were then evaluated by examiners, and compared to the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program.

"They have related it to nursing homes, so when we talk about criteria, we talk about it in terms of health care and long-term care -- things like how we deal with our mission statement and how we measure quality and things like staff turnover," Swanson said. "There are a lot of different quality pieces that they look for."

The bronze award recognizes facilities that have developed an awareness of customer expectations and demonstrated an ability to improve processes.

"It's about having processes and showing that we have put in place the processes to make quality happen and keep it improving." Swanson added.

Nancy Wepplo, administrator of Good Samaritan Society-Sogge Memorial, Windom, said the decision was made to apply for the award to recognize the work of the facility's staff.

"We wanted our staff and the people that work here to know that the work they do is valuable and important, and that they can be recognized for that because they work hard day-in and day-out," she said.

Wepplo added that Good Samaritan Society-Sogge Memorial is constantly working to improve the quality care of its residents.

"We always have different projects that we're working on and working to improve or make changes to," she said. "There are always new things coming, and new ways of taking care of people."

Moving forward, the Windom facility will focus on improving the orientation program for new nursing staff.

"The largest group at the nursing home is nursing assistants, and we realize how important it is to have a good foundation of training," Good Samaritan Society-Sogge Memorial Director of Nursing Maren Johnson said. "We feel that by improving that, we could really improve the quality of care for residents."

Good Samaritan Society Administrator Gordy Hormann said that while his facility had been encouraged for some time to apply for the award, it was the director of nursing, Toni Bandow, that took the initiative.

"Quality is her thing and always has been," Hormann said of Bandow.

While the application process is extensive, Hormann said it was beneficial for the facility.

"There are always ways to improve, but it was a way to look at things intensely and intently," he said. "It took a bit of time and research and pulling data together, looking at the systems and the processes that got into the quality issues. It helped us focus on quality."

All three administrators credited their staff for the quality of care within their facilities.

"It's related to all the staff participating and all the departments, not just nursing or dietary, but it's really a staff thing," Swanson said. "Everyone needs to participate to do their best to make sure that quality happens."

The three facilities will be presented their awards during the AHCA/NCAL's 64th Annual Convention and Exposition Oct. 6 - 9 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Daily Globe Reporter Alyson Buschena may be reached at 376-7322.

Alyson Buschena
Alyson joined the Daily Globe newsroom staff after spending a year in Latin America. A native of Fulda and graduate of the University of Northwestern, she has a bachelor's degree in English with a dual concentration in Literature and Writing and a minor in Spanish. At the Daily Globe, Alyson covers the crime beat as well as Pipestone and Murray counties, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, and cooking. More of Alyson's writing can be found at
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