A Message From Ellen Casey, Administrator at Wilton Meadows

My name is Ellen Casey and I am the Administrator at Wilton Meadows. As a nursing facility providing short-term rehab in the post-acute care realm, we know the importance of providing quality care. Quality is the foundation of our reputation in the community we serve and ensures the best possible results for those who choose us for their care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have created a momentum in quality for post-acute care providers and measures quality with five stars for concise reporting to the community.

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There are four areas we evaluate when working toward quality improvement. First, we focus on the people we care for, those who live at Wilton Meadows and those individuals who come to us for rehabilitation following hospitalization to heal, gain strength, recover, and return home. Our second area of focus is building and leading a highly skilled and caring team. I have had the experience of leading several teams to the highest 5-star level of quality, and building and retaining a cohesive team is absolutely essential in the ability to provide the highest quality care and services. Thirdly, we are continuously looking to improve and refine our systems and processes. During the height of COVID, we were in constant communication with area hospitals as well as the state of Connecticut Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, and we had the agility to make changes that quickly benefited both our staff and the patients that we serve. This global pandemic is a magnifying glass on the systems and processes that are refined to achieve and retain this level of quality. The fourth and final area that we will talk about is data and how data translates into our Quality Rating through the CMS 5-star rating system.

Individuals who choose Wilton Meadows for their post-hospital or long-term care are at the heart of everything we do. Each person will have an evaluation prior to admission; upon arrival, they will meet with each member of the health care team individually for an evaluation and to create a plan of care together. An “on track” meeting is held within three days to review goals of care and to answer any lingering questions regarding the stay, plan of care, and discharge plan. Prior to discharge, the team will ensure that care and services are arranged for a safe and comfortable transition back home.

Quality cannot be achieved without a highly skilled and collaborative team of caregivers. We have a team built on trust and appreciation, and that is evident in the caring approach we take in all that we do. Communication among the team is key and takes place through daily meetings, regular focused education, and observation to ensure each team member has the correct knowledge and tools to provide the appropriate care.

Continuous improvement of systems and processes occurs through our Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement team which includes me, the Administrator, Director of Nursing, Infection Preventionist, Assistant Director of Nursing, Director of Education, Medical Director, MDS Coordinator, and other team members. Depending upon the area of focus, the team will work together in developing and evaluating our performance improvement plans that look at various areas within the organization, the metrics connected to those, and the systems and processes tied to the positive or negative outcomes of those.

Data is King! How do we know we are providing quality? By measuring our outcomes! We measure customer satisfaction through outcome surveys. We measure employee engagement through retention rates. We measure clinical outcomes through more than 30 quality measures that are reported publicly in Nursing Home Compare (NHC). Without data, we couldn’t know that the work we do is at a high level or if changes to systems and processes that we put in place have had a positive outcome.

Any of the 30 quality measures reported on NHC can be used by facilities to gauge the quality of their care processes. The top three most utilized measures in analysis are Long-Stay Falls, Antipsychotics, and Pain. The team utilizes two analytics programs, Abaqis and TrendTracker, that allow us to review the most current data. These metrics guide our QAPI programs helping us identify which interventions are working and which are not. Because these rates are the most up to date, the rates reflect MDS assessment data for the residents who currently reside in the facility; the residents included in current QAPI studies.

Let’s take falls, for example. We celebrate days without falls and when a negative incident does occur there is a root cause analysis immediately to get input from the care team to determine why the incident occurred and how to prevent further incidents from occurring.

The gold standard in Quality Assurance and Performance Improvement is conveniently accessible, publicly reported quality measures rates in Nursing Home Compare (NHC). However; NHC data is three to six months old, meaning the residents that comprise the quality measures rates are often already discharged from the facility by the time the rates are made public. The time frame is a barrier to the most up-to-date quality measures.

Through monitoring our quality measure rate we have evidence of the quality care that families speak to so often. These favorable trends are measurable both emotionally and statistically. - Through informed decision-making about our QAPI plans, quality change and innovation are the trends on the Cannondale Campus. As we focus on successful interventions, we find our quest for quality exciting and more productive. Ultimately, data analytics is an indispensable tool to capture the data used in our quest for quality. Care always comes down to a feeling but it’s nice to see that we continue to do the right thing.

Wilton Meadows currently has a 5-star rating from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and we are a Quality Award winner from the American Health Care Association and the National Center for Assisted Living. The 5-star rating is a cumulative measure of our Quality Measures, staffing ratios, and the outcomes from our annual surveys as well as our COVID-focused infection control surveys from the Connecticut Department of Public Health.

Our quality is based on meeting the needs of the people we care for; the caring, dedicated, and skilled team of professionals who work here; the systems and processes we use to provide care; and careful review of the data metrics that help us to measure our outcomes and change course when we need to.

Thank you for choosing us.

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