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How Iredell Skilled Nursing is Achieving National Recognition

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

On occasion, a healthcare provider finds a way to produce extraordinary results. With Iredell Health System Hospital-Based Skilled Nursing nearby, local residents are witnessing one do so.

Hippocrates envisioned the possibilities of patient care: “Healing is a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity,” declared the founder of medicine.

Now fresh off Iredell Skilled Nursing earning an overall five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) less than four months after being ranked one of the Best Nursing Homes for Short Term Rehab by U.S. News & World Report, the casual observer may wonder what makes the difference. What makes Iredell Skilled Nursing the only five-star skilled nursing facility within 50 miles of Statesville?

“Our biggest advantage is being backed by Iredell Health System,” said the administrator of Iredell Skilled Nursing, Lindsay Smith.

Jessica Hicks, the facility’s director of nursing, agrees.

“Iredell Health System is an amazing entity in that it backs us no matter what,” she said. “The five-star rating is not just a reflection of our department, but a reflection of Iredell Health System in its entirety. The Health System’s staff works constantly to strive for excellence.”

Iredell Skilled Nursing’s location within Iredell Memorial Hospital brings several advantages.

With an onsite pharmacy, patients have immediate access to their medications, no longer having to wait upon their arrival after a physician’s order.

Rather than being forced to leave the facility for a physician consultation, a patient can stay and have their physician come to them.

“If you need a procedure, we have you wheeled over to have the procedure and then wheel you right on back,” Hicks said.

In addition to skilled nursing services, Iredell Skilled Nursing provides physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Respiratory therapy is available on its floor round-the-clock, and the team’s social workers and activities director contribute to patient experience.

“We almost operate like another acute side of the hospital,” Hicks said. “We all come together to give a full experience to the patient and essentially treat them as a whole.”

Accompanying Iredell Skilled Nursing’s own team of trained wound care associates, Iredell Memorial’s wound care nurse has already treated many of the facility’s post-acute patients and is thus able to help guide the patient through their stay by looking at the patient’s wounds, making recommendations, and communicating with the patient’s physician.

On its Nursing Home Compare website, CMS showed that in the last year, Iredell Skilled Nursing more than doubled the national average of nurse staff hours per resident.

“We have one of the highest staffing ratios in the nation,” Smith confirmed. “That’s an advantage of being in a hospital. We really focus the usage of our staff on the RN (nurse) category so we can provide more efficient care.”

The support of the Health System helps Iredell Skilled Nursing deliver to patients exactly what they need, whatever those needs are. In addition to medical care, that can involve making sure the patient has a ride from the hospital or has food when they get home that will help them in their recovery. After assessing a patient’s needs, Iredell Skilled Nursing draws on all the available resources to make sure they are met.

“We can’t do this without the day-to-day needs that we have with our patients, and we’ve had tremendous support from the administration,” Hicks said. “We’re able to say, ‘This is what we need to provide excellent care for these patients.’ And they say, ‘If that is what you need, that is what we’ll give you.’”

Iredell Health System CEO John Green affirmed his support.

“We are steadfast in supporting our Skilled Nursing Facility and ensuring that it remains a first-rate facility providing our patients with optimal care,” he said. “One of the keys to cost-efficient healthcare is to be able to provide varying levels of care based on the individual’s needs. We believe that our Skilled Nursing Facility, along with many other offerings that we continue to develop and strengthen, will allow our Health System to care for our community throughout many levels of needs.”

Iredell Skilled Nursing gives tours of its facility to people who may need skilled nursing, along with their families.

“We are there for you,” Hicks tells patients. “Stay with us, and we will get you back on your feet and where you need to go.”

Visitors of the facility can catch a glimpse of why Iredell Skilled Nursing’s number of successful patients transcends state and national averages, observe the team’s commitment to local residents, and grow confidence that Iredell Health System will keep the facility’s nationally esteemed care succeeding in their community.

For more information about Iredell’s Skilled Nursing Facility, call 704-873-5661.

Pictured: Ruth Williams, left, and Emily Cogar, RN.