By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
HARRISBURG, Pa. —
Golden LivingCenter-Tarboro celebrated its receipt of the industry’s top quality honor during a Thursday afternoon ceremony at the facility. The skilled nursing facility has earned the Gold-Excellence in Quality National Quality Award, presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
“We’re very proud,” said Dr. Neil Kurtz, president/ CEO of Golden Living. “Today belongs to Tarboro. This is their day.”
Effie Webb, executive director of Golden LivingCenter-Tarboro, greeted the crowd of residents and community members gathered in the center’s cafeteria, decorated with gold balloons, and called the road to the Gold Quality Award a “journey.” In her 38 years at the skilled nursing facility, Webb said she has seen the center win numerous awards, but none of the caliber of the Gold Quality Award.
Only five out of 16,0000 skilled nursing facilities nationwide received the Gold Quality Award last year, Webb said, and only 18 facilities have received the award since the program began in 1996.
“The quality of everything they do at the LivingCenter had to meet the highest standards,” Kurtz said. “This is just a remarkable accomplishment. It reflects the fabulous work that they do every day in taking care of their patients…It takes a tremendous amount of teamwork and dedication to provide these people the care they need and deserve.”
The criteria for the National Quality Awards are based on the Baldrige standards for evaluating a business. Inspectors visited the Tarboro facility to evaluate everything from quality of care to cleanliness and quality of food. The facility was judged based on the observations, resulting in the Gold-Excellence in Quality award. A facility first reaches the bronze quality standard, then the silver standard, and finally, the gold standard.
“It’s a journey over many years for continuous quality improvement,” said Adrienne Ciletti, director of employee communications for Golden Living.
“It’s an award that’s so hard to get…” Kurtz said. “It’s a big deal for the State of North Carolina.”
Sen. Clark Jenkins stopped by the Tarboro nursing facility to offer his congratulations, and U.S. Sen. Richard Burr and Gov. Pat McCrory sent their regards.
Earning the gold award was definitely a team effort, Webb said. The facility has 182 staff members.
“Everybody helps everybody out,” Webb said. “We have a very long-tenured staff, and I think that’s part of our success. They are good people taking care of good people.”
Webb told the crowd at the ceremony that she always feels at home Golden LivingCenter. The center’s in-house gospel group, The Goldenaires, demonstrated the family atmosphere of the facility, as they got the audience members clapping their hands to the beat of the gospel music they sang.
As evidenced by the large crowd in the room, community support is also an ingredient in Golden LivingCenter-Tarboro’s success.
“We would not be what we are without the support of the community,” Webb said. She said the center logs 1,800 volunteer hours each year, and some of the volunteers drive an hour to visit the
patients at the facility.
To Kurtz, the key to the Tarboro facility’s success is exemplary leadership.
“We’re able to hold Tarboro and Effie (Webb) up as an example of what great leadership can achieve,” Kurtz said.
Golden LivingCenter-Tarboro’s journey to excellence doesn’t end with the receipt of the Gold –Excellence in Quality Award. Webb said the facility plans to continue to improve based on the feedback in the judges’ evaluation. The facility is one of 300 Golden LivingCenters nationwide.