A better way for nursing homes to advance

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James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

Perhaps some of long-term care's brightest stars didn't want to be accused of getting worse. We'll soon find out.

That's a reflection based on the old saying, “If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.” It's a hackneyed line, abused by numerous football coaches through the years. But there is some truth to it. Put it right there with Will Rogers', “Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

The point is no one should rest on his or her laurels. That must be what's gotten into the folks at the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Collaborative.

Sometime this month, they're slated to unveil a new website. I don't typically bat an eyelash when “new and improved” anything is introduced, least of all websites. (You want to finally join the 21st century and give your prospective partners better service with more digital functionality? That's merely the cost of doing business the right way. After a week, it will be taken for granted again, anyway.)

But given the Who's Who of long-term care that steers Advancing Excellence, this new-and-improved website should knock our socks off.

There's an interesting urgency to improve, embedded in the group's overall mission to improve.

After all, the desire for personal betterment spikes with predictable regularity. Count on New Year's Day, your birthday and work anniversary as particularly strong motivators. Moves made between those dates? They're either signs of boredom or a clear urge to stay ahead of the curve.

I'm betting this time it's the latter. That's because a) no long-term care leader has enough time to be bored and b) I'm acquainted with many of the Type A leaders on Advancing Excellence's executive committee and in steering groups. They don't sit on their hands.

At last count Tuesday, there were 9,689 nursing homes participating in the Advancing Excellence program. That's nearly 62% of all Medicare/Medicaid certified nursing facilities in the country. Those are numbers that have risen significantly in recent years.

The group also had 3,510 participating nursing home staff members and 3,714 participating consumers. Not necessarily overwhelming numbers given the possible universe for each category. But the primary targets — nursing home operators — clearly have taken up the cause. You don't get nearly 10,000 business leaders in any profession or industry to join without gaining gravitas along the way.

A new website, even with wonderful new functionality and a fresh logo, won't compel 100% of nursing home operators to rush for a membership form.

But it should get the conversation restarted with new energy and resolve. The switchover is slated for when the site is recalibrated over a coming weekend. Let's all keep an eye on www.nhqualitycampaign.org to see what we can see.

 

James M. Berklan is McKnight's Editor. Follow him @LTCEditorsDesk.

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