Last month the Colorado Association of Homes and Services for the Aging named nine winners for the association’s fifth annual Quality First Awards. Quality First is a voluntary program that senior living communities nationwide are undertaking to build excellence in aging services. CAHSA, a leading organization in Colorado for senior housing and care, has signed up the highest percentage of senior care communities in the nation for this unique initiative.
Quality First was introduced almost six years ago by the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, the American Health Care Association and the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care, the largest and most influential aging service organizations in the country. The Quality First initiative is a commitment by senior care organizations to continuously review and improve services and programs.
“Quality First is a philosophy of quality and a framework for earning public trust in aging services. It is a renewal of our commitment as aging services providers to help older adults and their loved ones live their lives to their fullest potential,” said Landwirth. “As an association, we are proud our members have embraced this initiative. Creating and continuing this award annually will help us spotlight the best of the best.”
This year’s CAHSA Quality First winners include:
· Castle Country Assisted Living, Castle Rock, for “Castle Country Assisted Living Strategic Planning Process” and “Castle Country Assisted Living Intergenerational Landscape Vision.” Executive Director Barbara Dice accepted two Quality First awards on behalf of Castle Country Assisted Living. The first was in the category of Governance Accountability for a strategic planning process that involved the creation of a visual map used to capture hopes dreams, plans, outcomes and actions. The plan achieved great results. The second QF award, in the category of Community Involvement, was for creating an intergenerational landscape at Valley House, an area where residents and their families can spend time together outside in gardens, play and sitting areas.
· Morning Star Adult Day Program, Aurora, for “Cultural Change with a Twist.” Lori Sanchez accepted the award in the category of Commitment for the transition of their program from an “institutional” to a “home-like” setting, providing more choices for their residents and an option for them to choose where they want to be on any given day.
· Good Samaritan Society Fort Collins Village, Fort Collins, for “Therapy Services Utilize Adaptive Technology.” Kelley Baros accepted the award in the category of Leading-Edge Care and Services for using customized computer systems from It’s Never 2 Late, creating a whole new way of providing therapy to clients in interactive and fun settings.
· Seniors’ Resource Center, Denver, for “Wheat Ridge Internal Medicine ‘Community Care Coordinator.’” Mark Smiley and John Zabawa accepted the QF award in the category of Continuous Quality Improvement for establishing a partnership with the Wheat Ridge Internal Medicine Group to house a full-time community care coordinator at its medical office.
· Total Longterm Care, Denver, for “Total Longterm Care Leadership Academy.” In the category of Human Resources Development, Kevin Campbell received the QF award for creating a Leadership Academy that targets building leaders from within. The year-long Academy is aimed at developing leadership skills, business acumen and teamwork.
· Good Samaritan Society Bonell Community, Greeley, for “Outpatient Clinic Program.” Shareen Anderson and Liz Burns accepted the award in the category of Consumer-Friendly Information for developing a designated medical clinic program with the primary goal of partnering with community medical providers who would bring their medical expertise to the Bonell campus.
· Christian Living Communities, Denver, for “We Are In This Together (W.A.I.T.T.)” Chaplain Wanjiru Mukunga accepted the award in the category of Consumer Participation for W.A.I.T.T., a family members’ group that meets once a month at the Johnson Center to socialize, encourage and support one another. Families get to know each other and share their stories and experiences as care providers.
· Residences at Franklin Park, Denver, for “Sustainable Communities Going Greener.” In the category of Research Findings and Education, Linda Hilton accepted the award for an energy conservation program incorporating additional green and energy-saving features. The energy upgrades at The Residences at Franklin Park rapidly paid for themselves, saving more than $142,000 in gas and electric costs over three years. Staff was also educated on how to “go greener” and develop their own strategic plans.
· Eaton Senior Programs, Lakewood, for “School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) Partnership.” David Smart accepted the award in the category of Public Trust and Consumer Confidence for developing a partnership with the School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP), a partnership between Jefferson County Public Schools and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, whose goal is to prepare youth with mild to moderate disabilities to join the workforce and gain meaningful career-path employment.