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UHD receives 5-star rating

By Staff | Nov 8, 2015

Blue Earth can now boast a five-star place to stay. However, it is not what you might think.

United Hospital District has recently received a five-star rating from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS).

“The healthcare industry is becoming more and more aware, that in addition to the quality of care, the experience and the softer side of healthcare is just as important,”?UHD?CEO?Rick Ash says.

So, using data from the 11 different measures, HCAHPS awards a star rating to hospitals throughout the nation.

Out of 3,538 hospitals that received a star rating only 207 received the five-star classification.

This means UHD?is one of only 207 hospitals in the entire nation to receive such a rating.

This not only shows the quality of care given at UHD, but also proves another very important fact.

“This is a real team effort,”?Ash says. “You can have a great meal or great meds but if one thing is off it can ruin your whole experience.”

Ash explains it is not just the doctors making UHD a great place to be. It is the doctors, the nurses, housekeeping, food service, pharmacy and much more working together to make evey patient and patient’s family as comfortable as possible.

And each of the various departments has been working hard to achieve the highest possible quality of care.

Ronda Dahl, UHD nurse manager, says that although they received the five-star rating their work is far from complete and adds the nursing staff will continue to improve.

“Pain management is the biggest thing we will continue to work on,”?she says.

They have set standards to measure a patient’s pain as well as asking the patient’s pain goal.

“We have also updated our whiteboards to record the last time the patient has had any pain meds and their current pain levels,”?Dahl explains. “We plan to update our whiteboards to include information on daily routines and hourly rounding to make sure they are getting what they need.”

Chief nursing officer Cande Arends said that hourly rounds have improved vastly over the years.

“It used to be that we would wait until they (the patients) asked for something. Now, we are constantly assessing and asking them what they need,” she says.

And to be successful in pain management, the team work shows through as the nurses and doctors rely on the pharmacy department to aid in prescriptions and help provide information on medications.

Linda Evenson, UHD pharmacy manager, says they are very dedicated to helping patients fully understand their medications.

“We go in and visit with every patient,” she says. “And, that is not very common in other hospitals; luckily we are able to do that.”

When they visit with patients, the pharmacy department makes sure the patients understand the medication and discuss options if they perhaps cannot afford a prescription after they leave the hospital and go over what they can and cannot eat with their meds.

And sometimes certain medications require different dietary requirements; this is where the food service at UHD comes into play.

“We meet select diets with drug interactions and make sure something is available at all times even when the kitchen is closed,” says Rennie Amundson, UHD food service manager.

She adds that they will even go above and beyond what is on the menu for patients or visitors. In fact, they have even filled special requests for families who have been at UHD over the holidays or on special occasions.

“We want to make it as homey as possible,”?she adds.

Darrin Germann, UHD housekeeping manager, agrees, saying that making the patients and their families feel at home is very important.

“We take pride in making sure everything looks good,”?he says.

Germann says UHD’s recent five-star rating has everything to do with the teamwork of every department.

“Every one is intertwined; support nurses, kitchen staff, housekeeping, pharmacy,”?he says. “When housekeeping goes in everyday we talk to patients; if they’re in pain we tell the nurses. Everyone works together.”

The staff at UHD will celebrate this recognition and rightly so, but it does not stop there.

“We will celebrate but we are not done, we are going to continue improving,” Ash says.

Dahl agrees, saying receiving the rating is one thing but keeping it will be another.

“It’s easy to achieve, but to maintain or get better is a lot more work,”?she says.

But, for the staff at UHD, it is not about a rating. It is all about serving their friends, family, neighbors and community members with the highest quality of care they possibly can, they say.

“We are proud to be a part of this,”?Amundson says.

“It’s a great honor to have this, it’s a validation of what we do,”?adds Germann.