Sun Health Safety Program Recognized for Its ‘Stellar Record’

safety photoIn 2011, Sun Health Senior Living’s (SHSL) workers’ compensation costs were headed in the wrong direction, driven by higher than expected work injuries and claims.

As a result SHSL’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, CopperPoint Mutual, penalized the company with a 1 percent surcharge (roughly $17,000) on its premium

“We knew something needed to change,” Tony Nardi, SHSL director of Human Resources, said.

Change came in the form of a comprehensive safety and awareness campaign launched late in 2011 to improve worker safety and reduce workplace injuries.

Managers and supervisors came together to brainstorm solutions. They came up with the idea to conduct regular safety inspections in work areas other than their own, bringing a fresh set of eyes to the process. In addition, employees received extra training on safety and injury prevention.

SHSL contracted with TraCorp to set up web-based safety training, making it much easier for employees to complete their training. Safety was emphasized in staff meetings, in internal newsletters and in on-the-spot work activities, all of which led to improved compliance with training.

During the same time period, Sun Health implemented several measures to improve employee engagement by improving workplace communication and employee recognition. The new recognition program includes honors for employees who come up with new ideas to improve safety.

SHSL’s safety efforts began to bear fruit. Claims decreased by 66 percent and SHSL’s premium was reduced, resulting in in a 24 percent premium discount (a $60,000 savings).

CopperPoint named SHSL its “Safe Employer of the Month” for January 2015. The award recognizes a CopperPoint policyholder that demonstrates a “stellar record of workplace safety.”

“I have to give credit to our employees for making the difference, “Nardi said. “Our programs make employees more aware of unsafe practices. They prevent them. It’s best explained by our acronym for the safety program, SAFE, which stands for Safety Always Fosters Excellence.”

New Memory Support Residence More Than Just A Pretty Place

Clarice Granz (seated) with daughter Jay Wenzel and granddaughter Samantha Wenzel.

SURPRISE, ARIZ. February 18, 2015 - Before agreeing to move to The Meadows, Sun Health Senior Living’s new memory support residence, Clarice Granz sought assurances from her daughter Jay Wenzel that her new digs would have bingo. “That’s my game,” Granz says.

The Meadows has bingo all right, and much more. The 16-suite residence for people with memory loss (Alzheimer’s and related dementias) opened in December, welcoming new residents into a setting that looks nothing like a traditional care center.

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‘Cardiac Kids’ Play Hardball Against Heart Disease

Bob Renberg and Sue Bromley at the 9th Annual Bill Bromley Memorial Cardiac Kids Softball Tournament.

Bob Renberg and Sue Bromley at 9th Annual Bill Bromley Memorial Cardiac Kids Softball Tournament.

SURPRISE, ARIZ., Feb. 13, 2015 – The distinctive “ping” of an aluminum bat striking a ball. Lively chatter laced with good-natured taunts. The rich baritone of the P.A. announcer. These were sounds that filled the air at the Feb. 7, Bill Bromley Memorial Cardiac Kids Softball Tournament, played under a cloudless azure sky at Liberty Buick Field in Sun City West.

The 50 or so players, all in their 60s or older, ribbed each other non-stop and clowned around on the field but there was a serious side to their antics. The players all share a history of heart problems and this was their ninth annual tournament to raise funds for cardiac research, in this case cardiac stem cell research at the Banner Sun Health Research Institute (BSHRI) in Sun City.
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Ron Guziak Shares Insights on Community Health, Wellness & Hospital Ecosystems

As part of last year’s Healthcare Executive Summit in Chicago, our very own Ron Guziak presented his opinions on community based health care, and changes within the hospital ecosystem – a powerful presentation that landed him a feature piece in today’s Becker’s Hospital Review.

“Whereas 3 percent of the population are the sickest and represent the vast majority of the healthcare dollars in the United States, and 12 percent of the population experience surgeries, emergencies, and cancer treatment, 85 percent of the population uses healthcare services periodically but thinks of themselves as very healthy—and wants to stay that way.

‘Most of what I hear about population health is about the 15 percent; our system of care gives lip service to the 85 percent,” Guziak said. “At Sun Health, we believe it is now our responsibility to provide services to the 85 percent using evidence-based technology and programs, while measuring outcomes.’

Today, Sun Health is not only the largest locally owned senior living nonprofit in Arizona, but it also is seeing dramatic success with its community health programs, including Care Transitions. “Our goal is to use revenue from our portfolio, our foundation and our senior living operations to fund community programs,” Guziak said.

In May 2013, Sun Health entered the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pilot Community Based Care Transitions Program. The 30-day program provides in-home nursing assessment, chronic disease education, medication review and education, home safety evaluation, fall risk assessment and weekly follow-up calls.

At two hospitals, Sun Health Care Transitions has reduced the readmission rate for high-risk Medicare patients to 7 percent.”

Read the full article here.

*Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Sun Health Senior Living Opens New Residence at the Colonnade

villa2 wideSun Health Senior Living is growing up, so to speak, with the official opening of a four-story villa featuring 36 apartment-style homes.

Nearly 200 people turned out for an Oct. 30 ribbon cutting for the Villa, the second such building on The Colonnade campus. Construction on the second Villa began last November, following closely on the heels of the September 2013 opening of the first Villa. The ribbon cutting event included tours of two model-apartments and common areas both inside and outside the structure.

Situated on the 40-acre campus, the second Villa’s floor plans range from 1 to 3 bedrooms. Each home comes with high-end floor coverings, cabinetry, appliances and stylish finishing touches. Other amenities include a community art/music room, a movie theater, underground parking for cars and golf cars, extra storage and access to all amenities in Sun City Grand, a nearby active-adult community.

Barbara Foster, executive director of The Colonnade, welcomed guests to the ribbon cutting and shared her vision for new residents.

“We look forward to keeping you young with laughter, new friendships, lots of good times, worry-free living and the security of Life Care. You’ll be surrounded by an affectionate family of staff and residents who are like the stars at night; you may not always see them, but you know they are always there for support and encouragement,” Foster said.

Only three units in the second Villa are still available. The Sun Health Services board recently approved capital funding to build two more 36-unit Villa apartment buildings to meet a growing demand. Deposits are now being taken on a first-come, first-served basis, with more than 30 units already spoken for.

The design-builder for the $8.1 million project was The Weitz Company. Orcutt-Winslow Partnership did the architecture. Civil engineering was done by HilgartWilson, interior design by Thoma-Holec Design and landscape design by Greey Pickett.

Sun Health Opens Innovative Memory Support Residence

Grandview senior leaders Penny Jacobs (L) and Bhakti Gosalia show off a front porch in the Grandview Memory Support residence.

Grandview senior leaders Penny Jacobs (L) and Bhakti Gosalia show off a front porch in the Grandview Memory Support residence.

Sun Health recently completed construction on an innovative residence for memory-loss patients called Grandview Memory Support.

“Every detail is designed to help residents feel at home, well-cared for and secure,” Grandview campus Executive Director Bhakti Gosalia said.

The residence features 16 private, studio-size suites built specifically for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Entrances to each suite feature an indoor front porch complete with a picket fence, chairs and flower boxes. Residents and their loved ones can personalize their front porch using familiar and meaningful decorations so it’s easier for the resident to recognize his or her “home.”

The suites and common areas feature extensive use of natural light, secure yet open floor plans, and a décor designed to appeal to the senses. A “sensory room” offers residents a calming place with aromatherapy, music and a ceiling that mimics day and night skies. A centerpiece of the sensory room is a large touch-screen computer called “It’s Never 2 Late.” Adapted especially for individuals with physical and mental impairments, it can be used to play interactive games, watch movies or television, play music and more.

The secure design allows residents to live in a caring home environment, while providing comfort and safety for residents and families.

Services for residents include 24/7 care, an on-site physician and nurse practitioner, fine dining, a secure, outdoor garden, life enrichment activities, a beauty/barber shop, housekeeping and laundry services. Families will be welcome and invited to take part in activities, including support groups.

Grandview Memory Support is expected to have residents move in in November, pending licensing by the Arizona Department of Health.

The architect for the project was the Orcutt-Winslow Partnership, the interior design was developed by Thoma-Holec Design and the general contractor was The Weitz Company.

Diabetes on the Run at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing

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

Photo of Colonnade Resident Sky Diver Wins International Contest

Sharon Vizzini, resident of The Colonnade, went skydiving in October 2012. In May 2014, this photo was awarded second place in an international photo contest.

Sharon Vizzini, resident of The Colonnade, went skydiving in October 2012. In May 2014, this photo was awarded second place in an international photo contest.

PHOENIX (May 23, 2014) –– On May 21, 2014, Grantmakers in Aging (GIA) announced the selection of 18 winners of its first “Friendly Faces, Friendly Places” international photo contest, supported by the Pfizer Foundation. Out of the 500 photos submitted worldwide, one local photo was announced as a winner. The photo of Surprise resident Sharon Vizzini sky diving at age 70, placed second in the “Older and Active” category. The photo was provided by Sun Health Senior Living and submitted by the Greater Phoenix Age-Friendly Network.

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Sun Health Center For Health & Wellbeing Opening New Doors

Sun Health's Center for Health & Wellness - Grand Opening , March 19, 2014

Sun Health’s Center for Health & Wellbeing offers new twist on health and wellness with group classes and individual consultations with health professionals.

Edson and Loretta Allen were among the first visitors in the door at the March 19 grand opening of the Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Surprise, a center that’s already opening new doors for health and wellness in the northwest Valley.

“We were very impressed with the people we met. They seem to have a sincere interest in helping people with their health issues,” Edson Allen said of the center’s staff members. Loretta described the center as “beautiful.” The Sun City West couple, who split their time between Arizona and Minnesota, was so impressed that they both signed up for the center’s gold-level membership, which includes a host of healthy perks.   Continue reading