Parkdale Administrator David Funk
A little more than one year ago David Funk wanted to come home. He had grown up in northern Utah, and had spent most of his life here. But instead he was employed in southern California; a paradise for some, but not necessarily home for he and his family.
The residential care company he worked for, Plum Healthcare Group, had purchased a number of existing nursing homes in Utah, one of which was Parkdale Care Center in Price. He and his boss flew to Salt Lake and drove to Price. They looked around and Funk knew he had a challenge in front of him.
"The facility was rated in the bottom 10 percent of homes in the United States," said Funk in an interview on Thursday morning in the facility's conference room. "That is among 15,000 that exist in the country."
What a difference a few months can make. This summer the home was rated in the top nine percent in the country and as number fifth in the state out of 98 similar facilities. They are now a four-star facility as rated by medicare.gov.
How did that happen?
"It was a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people," said Funk. "I don't have a person on this staff that isn't committed to us being the best. All my existing directors have dialed into what we want to do."
Funk has worked in the health care industry for about four years and has seen a lot in that time. He says the people he has working for him are some of the best he has ever seen.
The keys to the change have been a commitment tomaking the facility a better place to be both to stay in and work, and a commitment to using cutting edge technology along with working smart.
The remodel of the facility is obvious when one walks in. It is light and inviting. The rooms are being renovated and places that once stored lots of old materials and equipment have been changed and are being used for purposes that move forward the mission of the home.
On the high tech side, Funk says they home has gone where many businesses say they want to go, but haven't.
"We have gone paperless on our medical records," he said. "If you look up and down the halls you will see 'Point of Care' units where the staff can enter information about what is going on."
The units are kind of like I-Pads mounted to the walls. This allows staff to enter what is going on right away rather than putting information in an end of day report.
"It makes it easier and it is more accurate," said Funk. "It used to be an aide for instance might work seven and a half hours and then would fill out a report on what was done at the end of the day. After that long a shift they often couldn't remember exactly what they did with the patients and the information was not accurate. Now when they leave a room the put in the Point of Care units information about what they did, what was needed, etc. It has really made things much better."
The doctors who work with the facility now have information at their fingertips with an on-line system for records about any patient and their care. They can make changes quickly when needed and administer better care because of it.
"I also like to point out to people that we have kind of gone NASCAR around here," he said as he pointed to the small radio on his side. "Everyone has these and we constantly know what is going on, where any emergency might be, and if someone needs help."
With the new reputation and rating those at the facility want to continue their success in both short term and long term care for patients.
Today Parkdale Health and Rehab (as it is officially known) provides a large range of services for people who come there. They do everything from rehab for those with joint replacements to hospice care.
One of their goals is not just to have patients cared for however. It is that they have a great experience while they are at Parkdale. With private and semi-private rooms, activities for those who are staying and the fact that people who work there are nice caring people, and not just doing their job, makes Parkdale a place where people walk away feeling good about their stay.
Recently a survey by a private independent company showed that those who had been there and are staying have dozens of positive comments about the facility.
"We are running at a faster pace to give quality care to patients," said Funk. "We have been working toward a better and faster approach to improved health care."
So for many of the patients in the last year it has been a home away from home while they were recovering from illness or surgery.
And as for Funk, he has come home too.