Our Cup Runneth Over

What are the odds? You send out a nationwide bulletin asking nursing homes to write up major articles on innovative, especially useful resident care programs they've created. You ask five long-term care experts from around the country-two of them newcomers, another returning after a one-year break-to review these (mostly) extensive projects, and then to use a lengthy, detailed rating scale to evaluate them. You "blind" the judges as to whom or where the submissions are from so that their decisions are unbiased.

And you end up with a three-way tie for first. And two of the winners are from (of course) New York.*

For the first time in its 11-year history, the OPTIMA Award competition has multiple winners. In alphabetical order they are: Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, in Glen Cove, New York; Lancaster Health Group, in Chicago; and The Silvercrest Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, in Briarwood, New York. Their projects, as you will see, are quite varied. Glen Cove (a repeat winner from 2003) entered its hospitality training program for staff ("Tying the Hardest Knot: Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Hospitality"); Lancaster weighed in with a "culture change" approach that emphasizes resident choice in programs across the board ("Creating 'Choice' Environments"); and Silvercrest redesigned its respiratory therapy/ventilation support services using sophisticated treatment and monitoring techniques ("Upgrading Respiratory Services").

We are pleased and proud to publish all three presentations in this issue. And I'm pleased and proud to be officiating at all three OPTIMA Award presentation ceremonies (travel challenges or not, I wouldn't miss these occasions). We hope you will read, learn from, and be inspired by these articles-inspired in the sense that organizations as time-challenged, regulation-burdened, and reimbursement-shorted as nursing homes take the time and effort to reinvent themselves for quality resident care. To me, they are the unsung heroes of healthcare.

Our thanks to all those facilities, nearly two dozen of them, who submitted projects. We will be publishing most of them in later issues or on our Web site. And our thanks to this year's judges (listed above).

And, again, thanks to Glen Duncan, whose steady hand has administered OPTIMA without flaw for 11 years.

May next year's competition be at least as lively and wide-ranging. Watch for the announcement about it in the February 2007 issue of Nursing Homes/Long Term Care Management.

To send your comments on this editorial to the author and editors, e-mail peck0906@nursinghomesmagazine.com .

*As noted in our September 2004 issue-which was the last time New Yorkers won an OPTIMA Award until now-facilities from that metropolitan area had won in six of the previous seven years. Two of this year's winners reestablish that intriguing but inadvertent "tradition."

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