Population at the nursing home still on the rise

Tweaks continue to be made at the Piatt County Nursing Home to meet the new director’s goals of becoming more community minded.

One thing Scott Porter has brought back is the family council, which consists of monthly meetings he holds with those related to current nursing home residents. Two sessions have been held this year, something that Porter had at the top of his agenda when he was named executive director in December.

“This is the one thing I really wanted when I took over as administrator was to have a family council, to have that group to go to. I look forward to collaborating with them and getting some of the feedback on the efforts we are making,” he said at the March 1 meeting of the Piatt County board nursing home committee.

Porter added that followup will be important in order for the family council to be a true success.

“It’s important that we’re very attentive,” he said. “It’s an important barometer of how we’re doing.”

The number of patients at the nursing home has been on the rise at the 100-bed facility this year. Admissions and Marketing Director Lisa Beuhnerkemper said that figure was at 72 when she was hired Jan. 3, and was 82 as of last week’s committee session. She said there are seasonal fluctuations to take into account, but also that “there’s definitely a lot of interest.”

Beuhnerkemper said January is typically a busy time for nursing homes because families do not want to admit loved ones during the holidays, but that interest in the first quarter of this year at Piatt County is outpacing that of the same period in 2017.

One down side to more patients is that it is becoming more difficult for current employees to handle the patient load. To help with that, Porter said Medical Staffing Network of Decatur has been hired to provide temporary Certified Nursing Assistants as needed.

The nursing home will likely purchase software for $1,200 that will help convert Bar-Ko timecard information into required state reports. That process is currently being done by hand, which Porter said results in costs in both staff time and productivity.

The nursing home is also looking to expand its contract with an offsite storage company, mainly due to there being less room for records locally due to more years of documents that are required to be kept.

Marketing update
In her update to the committee, Beuhnerkemper said she is attempting to coordinate with Services for Seniors and Faith in Action to include them in nursing home and Maple Point Assisted Living promotional materials. She also reported that a photographer may be hired to take fresh pictures for flyers that will be available for potential clients.

Work has also begun on National Skilled Nursing Care Week, which begins on May 13.

She also shared the success story of a 98-year-old woman who came to the nursing home on hospice, but a month later went home with no restrictions.

Those stories are more common than people think, said Porter.

“I tell people that, truthfully, the vast majority of people who come to the nursing home go home. They get better, from whatever they’re dealing with, and they go home. It’s just an opportunity to improve themselves enough they they are able to continue on,” he said.



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