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Collaboration is Improving Indiana Nursing Home Care

March 30, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS – Staff turnover and outdated ways of running Indiana's nursing homes have sparked the need for a leadership collaborative among some care facilities, a process by which they can learn to approach oversight differently. Jack Mueller, administrator of Holy Cross Village of Notre Dame, says the participants in St. Joseph County welcomed new methods.

"During the collaborative, we talked about 'stealing ideas' being okay. You know, we all shared ideas and we gave each other the license to say, 'Hey if I've got a good idea, you've got the license to use that in your place.'"

The idea is to try new ways of doing things to ultimately improve care, says Mueller. What he calls a "eureka moment" during the collaborative has led to a new approach to a meeting routinely held at his facility, allowing more staff members to get the best available information about resident care.

"We take that meeting out to the different nurses stations, where our aides – our frontline staff – work, and we include them in the meeting now."

Mueller says not only has resident care improved, but employees have been empowered by the changes.

LeadingAge Indiana is another of the many stakeholders in the leadership collaborative. Kathy Johnson, vice president of clinical and regulatory services, explains its three main goals:

"Staff retention by decreasing turnover, building a positive chain of leadership throughout the organizations, and to help nursing homes improve their customer service, while improving the quality of life for their residents."

The latest leadership collaborative is underway in Central Indiana. LeadingAge Indiana hopes to identify funding to expand the program regionally. Johnson says there's also a need to include hospitals in the conversation. She says transitioning residents from nursing homes and hospitals poses many issues with patient care.

Leigh DeNoon, Public News Service - IN