For some seniors, horses can be a fond reminder of earlier days on the farm.
These horses are your next-door neighbours if you are a resident of the Hythe Continuing Care Centre, where the quality of care just keeps getting better and better.
“I enjoy being here,” says Heather Hermanson, a resident at Hythe Continuing Care Centre (HCCC).
Kelly Kuz, Director of Clinical Operations North Zone, Alberta Health Services, oversees care at HCCC. She says that the care here has excelled. “I credit the site manager, the staff, and all of the team.”
The Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA) regularly conducts surveys with family members of residents in long term care facilities across Alberta. In 2018, Hythe Continuing Care Centre had the highest Overall Rating Score in the North Zone at 9.3. The provincial average is 8.4. Hythe’s increase in rating score since their last survey in 2015 was the biggest increase in the Province.
They addressed how they were going to go about making those changes and they did it.
“They recognized areas of change,” says Sandy Baker from the Alberta Health Advisory Council North. “They addressed how they were going to go about making those changes and they did it. And as a result, their scores increased.”
Cheryl Klassen, Care Manager at the Hythe Continuing Care Centre says, “Rural life is teamwork. You have limited resources. How are you going to accomplish the tasks of the day and give the best care with the resources that you have. And we do it. We do it well. It’s the team that makes the difference.”
Dr. Robert Crowe, a physician at HCCC says, “The part of it that makes it work is that the families are involved, and the staff are so good.”
“Everyone that works here loves their job and they love the residents that live here,” says Dawn Taylor-Bidwell, recreation therapist.
I find when a team works well together, everything flows much smoother.
Amanda Kwiatowski, HCCC dietitian, says, “It’s incredible. I’m excited to be part of this team. I find when a team works well together, everything flows much smoother.”
The HQCA survey is sent to the families of residents. Here in Hythe, 100% of those surveyed would recommend this site to someone they care about.
Carole Cassity’s mother Stella is a resident here. She says, “It’s a great place. Asked what makes it so great, she responds, “The care. The staff. And she’s happy.”
Joan Kerr, another daughter adds, “It seems just like home here. Yeah, very nice. They treat her very good. She seems happy when we come.”
The food Rating Scale for HCCC continues to move higher, scoring 78%. That’s 6 points higher than the provincial average of 72%.
Sanjeev Sharma, supervisor of Patient Food Services explains why, “We always go to our resident council meeting where we have our family members as well as our residents come in there. And they will discuss how the food is and what they would like to see for their loved ones. And we try to accommodate that request as well.”
Cheryl Klassen adds: “The manager, Sanjeev, committed himself to meeting with them and found out their preferences. Residents are also checked by a dietitian, what they liked and what they didn’t like, and he put those into place. That accounted for that huge increase.”
Amanda Kwiatowski, is a dietitian at HCCC. She monitors resident’s diets. “I screen all the residents for malnutrition. I provide meal observations to make sure the residents are happy with the food they are getting, and that they are able to manage the texture they are receiving. So, we make adjustments according to that.”
Gina, a registered nurse, administers medications during meal times. The pharmacy is across the street at the 86-bed Pioneer Homes, but that doesn’t stop Guy, the pharmacist, from walking across to visit residents and their families in person.
“You get better management because the pharmacist knows more about you,” says Guy Houle, pharmacist.
With the help of the food services team, Haley, the recreation therapy assistant at HCCC, makes a point of celebrating every resident birthday.
Not long ago, they went the extra mile for this man by arranging for an antique vehicle to be there on his birthday.
Cheryl Klassen adds with a big smile, “It went so well. The resident just relived those days. He sat behind the steering wheel and just beamed.”
Haley also leads recreation therapy classes.
Volunteers are also an important part of the recreation team. They help with resident excursions. Marie, a volunteer for over 25 years, teaches residents how to make floor mats as part of the sewing program.
“I love to interact with the people, and they appreciate it,” says Marie Lowen. “It’s just well worth my while to do that.”
They work well as a team, the staff and the volunteers.
“They work well as a team, the staff and the volunteers. They appreciate the volunteers,” says Mavis Mintenko, Volunteer Services Coordinator.
Cleanliness is close to godliness as they say. It’s a high priority at the Hythe Continuing Care Centre.
“Many of the patients here are my regular patients that I’ve known 20 and 30 years”, says Dr. Robert Crowe, who knows their families well. Those deeper relationships lead to better care.
“Because you have this history built up with them, you’ll often know that certain medications will work better for them or not, or that they maybe don’t need medications for this,” says Dr. Crowe, “If they’re going through a rough patch maybe all they need is family support with visits.”
“This is home, and you have to create a home environment, and I believe they have done that in a very good way,” says Sandy Baker, Alberta Health advisory Council North.
This is home, and you have to create a home environment, and I believe they have done that in a very good way.
We salute the health-care team at the Hythe Continuing Care Centre for their dedication to providing care that meets the individual needs of each resident and their family. Congratulations on being an inaugural recipient of the RhPAP Rhapsody Health-care Heroes Award.
Sanjeev Sharma says, “This is a nice place in which I want to be here mostly because of the residents. I love them.”
They are so dedicated. Each team member loves the residents as if they are their family.
Cheryl Klassen adds, “The group is a wonderful team. They are so dedicated. Each team member loves the residents as if they are their family.”
“We look after our young well, and in Hythe, we look after our old very well too.” Says Brian Peterson, mayor of the Village of Hythe. “The Continuing Care Centre has done a fantastic job of looking after that portion of our community in an outstanding manner.”
“We have people working in this facility that drive 45 minutes to an hour to work here’” says Kelly Kuz. “Where there are job opportunities in their own community, they would rather come here. The answer they told me is that it feels like coming home. It feels like a family. But when I asked the staff why it feels like a family, they said we sit down and have lunch together. We laugh together. We talk about the hockey on the weekend. We talk about raising chickens.”
Cheryl Klassen says, “I want to thank the entire team. The staff, you are wonderful to work with, and we have a great future together.”
Kelly Kuz adds, “And thank you so much for all you do for your residents and their families.”
Article and photos by Bobby Jones