The Gold Standard Shines


United Methodist Communities at The Shores’ Staff Achieves a Deficiency-Free Nursing Survey

While Thursday, October 6 started out like any other day at United Methodist Communities at The Shores in Ocean City, it marked the beginning of an intensive multi-pronged assessment. At the conclusion of five business days, The Shores victoriously achieved a deficiency-free nursing survey conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health, Division of Health Facilities Evaluation and Licensing.

On day one, a team of four professionally-qualified registered nurses and one life safety inspector began scrutinizing every operational and physical aspect of the bustling 196,000+ square-foot retirement community, where 442 associates and residents cooperatively work and live every day. Representing the division, the survey team ensures that New Jersey citizens receive quality healthcare through inspections, certifications, regulations and other means, in a wide range of healthcare settings. Their goal is to enforce best practices and processes, assure quality and compliance with regulations, policies, law, etc. Therefore, in order to achieve that outcome and to accurately assess organizations, onsite visits, which occur at least annually, are always unannounced.

Surveys rank very high in importance, especially for the protection of the public. In order to maintain their licenses as both a Comprehensive Personal Care Home and Long Term Care Facility and to continue to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, The Shores must successfully pass state surveys. Over a two-day period, the survey team’s life safety inspector investigated the physical plant, looking at the building’s systems, safety compliance, exits, fire extinguishers, wander guards, etc.

The five-day clinical portion reviewed medication passes, medication carts, clinical practices, elopement prevention, resident files, compliance with policies, and much more. Their methodical examination of resident charts focused on the proper documentation of fall incidents — they even watched staff nurses perform several wound treatments. The survey nurses interviewed residents, staff and family members. They sat in the dining areas and observed during all three meals, ascertaining resident choice, high food quality and sanitation.

The Shores Executive Director, Jennifer Courlas, reflected, “Achieving a deficiency-free survey involves attention to details, adherence to standards and policies, positive proactive attitudes, and diligence from day-to-day.”

While clinical protections occupied a large part of the overall survey process, they also took steps to assure consumers that the staff are well-qualified and healthy. Therefore, associate files must be up-to-date and contain viable references, successful criminal background checks and performance evaluations based on policy. Associate health mandates current immunizations and passing mandatory health screenings.

Administrator, Jessica Stewart, stated, “As a faith-based organization, it not only reflects our values of compassion, respect, stewardship and service, but also offers consumers vitally important information when choosing a community.”

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