SURPRISE, ARIZ. (Oct. 9, 2014) – November is American Diabetes Month, a time to raise awareness of diabetes, including learning ways to manage it and decrease the risk of developing the chronic condition.
A microcosm of the diabetes story is playing out in the Phoenix-metro area’s Northwest Valley where the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing is helping hundreds of people, many of them seniors, learn how to self-manage their diabetes and slow or stop pre-diabetes in its tracks.
The center opened in March with a full slate of health and wellness classes, including Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME), the Diabetes Prevention Program for pre-diabetics (DPP) and weight management. The classes are low cost and may be covered by insurance. Some insurance plans also will cover individual consultations with staff.
There are many diabetes-related success stories coming out of the center. Here are three samples: Continue reading
A breath of fresh air just blew into the Grandview Care Center… and her name is Penny Jacobs. As the new administrator of the center, her competency is obvious from the very first conversation and she is clearly excited about this new phase of her career.
Penny’s first day was August 25th.
“I’m proud to be part of such a wonderful, strong team.
After seeing the incredible things Sun Health has done with the Grandview Care Center, their other properties and the surrounding community – not to mention the numerous awards and accolades they’ve earned – I was over the moon to be offered the position.
I was welcomed with open arms and phenomenal acceptance, and have a deep appreciation for the friendly, relaxed atmosphere. No wonder patients love it.”
Licensed as a health care administrator in Arizona, Nebraska and Iowa, Penny comes to Sun Health from a small community nursing home in Nebraska. Having moved away from Arizona for sixteen months, she’s happy to be living in the Valley once again.
Sun Health has added new staff members to manage future growth and ongoing construction at its three continuing care retirement communities and other real estate holdings in the West Valley.
Paul Vanderveen has been named director of Real Estate Development. He will be responsible for master planning, entitlement and development of all Sun Health properties. He will also lead and direct site acquisition, site master planning, new product development, design, regulatory approval and infrastructure development.
Vanderveen will report directly to Sun Health Executive Vice President Joe La Rue and will collaborate with Sun Health senior leaders on related development projects. He also will work closely with Neal Smith, newly promoted construction superintendent of the Real Estate Development team.
Celebrating each other – Service Awards highlight employee excellence
Sun Health celebrated some of its best and brightest employees at the inaugural Service Awards banquet held Sept. 19 at Grandview Terrace. Almost 100 employees and their guests gathered for a night featuring a gourmet dinner, socializing and recognition – lots of well-deserved recognition.
Earlier this year, employees nominated co-workers for recognition in four categories:
- Innovator And Creator Of Efficiencies – I.C.E.
- Excellence In Growth And Education
- Creative Initiatives
- Customer Service Excellence
A cross section of Sun Health directors and managers judged the nomination submissions and narrowed it down to three finalists in each category. An outside judge then determined the winners. Below is a list of this year’s finalists and winners in the four categories, along with names of employees celebrating longevity milestones with Sun Health, who were also guests at the banquet. Continue reading
It’s Never 2 Late, a computer designed for ease of use has become a big hit at La Loma Care Center.
La Loma Care Center is the proud owner of an adaptive computer system called It’s Never 2 Late. The system features user-friendly technologies such as touch-screen monitors and an adaptive keyboard, which allow individuals with cognitive or physical limitations to play games, listen to music, or watch videos. It’s kept on a rolling cart making it easy to move from room to room.
“We’ve been using it since May and have had a very good response from our residents and their families,” Ione Murray, Life Enrichment coordinator, said. “It was exciting to see how interested people were in it right from the start and that they took the initiative to learn how to use it.”
Some of the most popular activities with residents include playing games such as Hearts or Scrabble and watching shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” or exercising to yoga videos. “Families are really interested and engaged in it and want to learn the process to be able to use it with their loved ones,” Murray said.
“It’s Never 2 Late appeals to people of all ages and at all levels of computer literacy,” Murray said. “The wide variety of choices means there’s something for everyone, and it can be used in group settings or for single use. It seems like the sky’s the limit and we are so excited to see where it will go.”
Students from the Grand Canyon University nursing program on the Banner Boswell campus, cared for Sun Health Senior Living residents this summer as part of their clinical rotations.
Nursing students from the Grand Canyon University program on the Banner Boswell Medical Center campus spent two months this summer honing their clinical skills at Sun Health’s three senior communities. They were assigned to work with residents who had health concerns.
The students worked up health profiles on participating residents and consulted with Sun Health nurses, other health professionals, and in some cases, the resident’s physician on how to help them.
The student nurses wrapped up their rotation with a “show and tell” class held at Sun Health earlier this month. It was attended by administrators and managers from The Colonnade, Grandview and La Loma. The students shared their experiences, findings and suggestions on how to improve health services on each of the campuses.
Teresa Brulé, director of Resident Services at The Colonnade and a nurse, admitted to being initially “reticent” about how the students would fit in but she quickly learned they had much to offer. “What you have given us is invaluable,” she said to the students. “You’ve done wonders for our residents.”
One of those students was Jeff Miller who proudly described how he and another student helped a resident learn how to manage her high blood pressure more effectively. The students evaluated the resident’s medications and consulted with her doctor, who recommended a new timetable for taking her medications. “It was a nice experience being able to go to resident’s homes and work with them to improve their health,” Miller said.
The next group of student nurses will begin on Sept. 10.
About 60 foster children living in Surprise received new, fully-stocked backpacks compliments of Sun Health residents and employees.
Nearly 400 foster kids from the Northwest Valley, ages 7 to 18, headed to school this month with new backpacks filled with school supplies, compliments of the Sun Health SHINE (Sun Health Involvement Never Ends) summer backpack drive.
The drive was done in cooperation with OCJ Kids, a Valley-based foster and adoption agency. What started last year as a SHINE drive to donate 60 stock backpacks to area foster kids took on a life of its own as Sun Health residents, volunteers and employees gave well beyond expectations. The result was 242 backpacks.
This year, the SHINE Committee set a stretch goal of 300 backpacks, and once again the community rallied for the cause. A total of 384 backpacks were distributed to local children living in foster care.
“It means the beginning of a positive school year for these kids,” said Shevaun Sullivan, project manager with OCJ Kids. “The fact that they get new backpacks and not old ones; the fact they get to go in with new supplies and not a trash bag or no supplies, means they have a better chance of success at school this year. They are already labeled, and this takes one more label away that they are in foster care.”
The Wal-Mart Super Center in Surprise worked with SHINE to order the packs and supplies in bulk. Sun Health employees volunteered over a lunch time to stuff the 384 packs. The drive culminated with a party in late July at The Colonnade for about 60 local foster children. Several employees hosted the party and provided the guests with refreshments, an art project, games and line-dancing. Each child picked out their own backpack available in seven solid colors.
Eleven-year-old Esteban (last name withheld) choose a red one, his favorite color, and he expressed appreciation for the party and the gift. “This is very nice,” the affable 6th grader said. “It shows that people care about us.”
Sun Health Chief Operating Officer Sharon Grambow was recently recognized as a top leader in “Who’s Who in Business 2014,” a special online publication of Republic Media, highlighting the top 10 Arizona companies in 50 business categories, including senior living.
The publication named Grandview Terrace as one of the “top 10 Arizona assisted living facilities” and Sharon as one of the top executives working in the state’s senior living market.
She derives most of her job satisfaction from getting to know residents. In the publication, she’s quoted as saying: “The residents are definitely what I love the most about my work. Coming to work every day and knowing I’m truly making a difference in the lives of people is really fulfilling.”
She added that residents often express their gratitude to her and other staff members. “I love that they often end up thinking of us as family.”
Sun Health Care Transitions (SHCT) and Banner iCare™ have formed an alliance to serve chronically ill patients in the Northwest Valley.
The two programs will be sharing one hospital liaison at Banner Boswell and Banner Del E. Webb medical centers so that only one person is approaching patients to introduce each program. Additionally, eligible patients will receive services from both programs for continuity.
“The goal of both programs is to improve the quality of life of members while reducing the total cost of care,” said Jennifer Drago, Sun Health executive vice president of Population Health. Tom Snyder, director of Banner iCare echoed Drago, “This collaboration serves to achieve Banner’s mission of existing to make a difference in people’s lives through excellent patient care.”
Representatives from the Lewin Group, a health care consulting firm working for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), visited Sun Health in June to learn what the Care Transitions team is doing to help Medicare beneficiaries make a smooth transition from hospital to home and to keep from being readmitted.
Studies show that 18-20% of Medicare
patients discharged from a hospital – approximately 2.6 million seniors – are readmitted within 30 days at a cost of over $26 billion every year. In contrast, Sun Health’s Care Transitions Program has been able to dramatically reduce hospital readmissions an average of 7% for its enrolled patients.