A quiet 10th anniversary

As you read this year’s OPTIMA Award winner, “Butterflies are Free: One Nursing Home’s End-of-Life Program” from Life Care Center of Sarasota, you will be viewing a milestone. It represents the 10th anniversary of our annual OPTIMA Award competition.

Usually a 10th anniversary sparks a bit of a hubbub. It is a sign of an idea (or a marriage) that seems to be working and is well positioned for the future. In our own quiet way-more often than not we let the magazine speak for itself-we feel the same way about the OPTIMA Award. We’ve been proud to open this door to national recognition for hard-working facilities that seldom get recognized or, for that matter, thanked in any public sort of way. And for me, personally, my trip to the winning facility to confer the award upon a beaming staff, often with local dignitaries in attendance, has always been among the highlights of my year.

I never cease to be amazed at the initiative that many of our entrants show in putting together new programs and then taking the time to write them up and document their progress. As everyone knows, time and resources aren’t exactly in plentiful supply in this field. (And for those who would knock the profit motive in long-term care, for-profits have made sufficient investment to dominate the winning entries for the past several years.) Because several of the entries have been well worthy of publication, we’ve published runners-up from time to time and will do so again. For instance, look for articles in future issues on a program incorporating Snoezelen techniques for Alzheimer’s patients from Brian Center Health and Rehabilitation/Brevard in Brevard, North Carolina, and a program that went the extra mile in creating affordable assisted living submitted by The Rose of Ames Senior Assisted Living Community in Ames, Iowa.

Note, too, that the “stranglehold” that New York City’area facilities have had on success in this competition over the past several years seems to be on hold, at least for now!

As always, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the long-term care experts who take a significant chunk of their time during the latter half of June to review and judge all the entries. Although the entries vary widely in length and depth, this is a major commitment for the judges and, in the end, a labor of love. The judges obviously deeply enjoy their field and often report themselves fascinated by the review process. This year we extend thanks to:

Daniel W. Farley, PhD, CNHA
GlenWood Park Retirement Village
Princeton, West Virginia

Robert Greenwood, MPA
Vice-President of Public Affairs
National PACE Association
Alexandria, Virginia

William L. Keane, MS, MBA
Director of Special Programs
Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging
Evanston, Illinois

John R. Pratt
Long-Term Care Management Institute at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine
Standish, Maine

Rena R. Shephard, MHA, RN, FACDONA
RRS Healthcare Consulting Services
San Diego, California

And thanks again to Glen Duncan, Manager of the OPTIMA Awards.

Please look for our initial announcement of the 2006 OPTIMA Award competition in our February issue, as we start our second decade of honoring deserving long-term care organizations. Meanwhile, I’m on my way to a good time in Sarasota.

To comment on this editorial, please send e-mail to peck0905@nursinghomesmagazine.com.

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