DOUGLAS — Despite dealing with all the hassles and headaches associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Haven of Douglas was recently awarded a five-star rating from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the only facility in Cochise County to receive such a high rating.
Adam Brake, the executive director of the Haven of Douglas, said each year CMS rates each nursing facility on staffing, quality measures (the quality of care they provide) and performance in the annual survey which is basically a four-day inspection.
“They come in and dig through all our records, they’re basically doing an audit,” he said. “It happens once a year. They give us a three-month window of when they’re going to show up and they basically come in unannounced. They rate everyone from one to five stars. We were very happy to learn we were awarded a five-star rating. One of our biggest outliers was our staffing, meaning we have more RN’s (registered nurses) on our staff and a more RN-to-patient ratio.”
Brake said receiving this honor indicates the Haven of Douglas staff is doing things right in making sure the 48 residents there are receiving the quality care they need and deserve from about 75 employees.
“We’ve worked really hard to get here,” he said. “We’re very proud of it and we have the banner hanging out front.”
For the past year Haven of Douglas is just one of many care facilities throughout the state that have been dealing with the effects of COVID-19.
“We had an outbreak,” Brake admitted. “We’ve had patients who have gotten it and we’ve lost patients to COVID. We ended up losing four of our residents. It hurts. Those are four residents that we care deeply about. We have an incredibly brave staff here. While many facilities are dealing with staff shortages, that was never an issue here. We had staff who were showing up to work in the COVID unit.”
Brake said many of those on his staff have had to adjust to taking on other responsibilities.
“As hard as it’s been I feel we’ve all come closer together,” he said. “Our staff here is truly amazing. They have a deeper relationship one with another. We’ve gone through this together. The five-star rating is kind of a reflection of how close we’ve gotten together as a staff because of COVID. With the government mandating we don’t have visitors, we became the residents’ family. We did everything we could through technology, the visits continued and we were able to have family involved as much as we can.”
Billy Peralta, director of nursing at Haven of Douglas, said he was not really all that surprised by the rating.
“I know the kind of care we provide here and in a way, I guess you could say, I was expecting it.” he said. “It was very humbling because I am very proud of the people that we have here.”
Peralta said when COVID hit last March Haven basically shut down.
“I felt it was very important we let the community know we are still providing quality care,” he said. “As a healthcare professional never did I expect to go through what I went through this past year. It has been such an honor to serve our most vulnerable during this pandemic. I’d do it all over again.”
Peralta admitted that when some of the residents at Haven passed he was right there with them at the end, holding their hand.
“I took the place of family members who could not be there for them,” he said. “It was extremely difficult for me as a professional.”
He states that because of COVID-19 he feels he has become a better healthcare provider.
“COVID-19 forced us to grow and elevate,” he said.
Brake and Peralta admitted not having outside visitors come to Haven and visit the residents, especially around the holidays, was tough.
Peralta acknowledged the activities team of Erika Peralta (no relation) and Danya Cadena for going above and beyond to keep the residents at Haven occupied and entertained.
“All the activities they did were individualized,” Billy said. “Those two girls were on their feet eight hours a day without stopping. The community has also been so amazing in supporting us, sending food and gifts. We want to thank everyone for being the support that we needed during this difficult time.”
Brake admits he is looking forward to the day when Haven can once again have the holiday parties like they used to prior to COVID-19.
“We still had the celebrations, it was just closed off to the outside world,” he said. “Visitation is dependent on the county’s infection rate, the positivity rate and if there have been any recent cases in our building. Currently, because our infection rate is below 10, we do anticipate visitation starting soon but in the age of COVID, if we learned anything, things can change very fast.”
Brake announced that recently Haven of Douglas was also awarded the Bronze Award from the American Healthcare Association, which hands out bronze, silver and gold awards.
“This is a national award where roughly 10% of all buildings in the country achieve that award,” he said.
“A of it is based on overall quality. This one, in addition to the CMS five-star rating, this one looks a lot at operations. This is an overall gauge of how healthy our operations are. This year we got the bronze award. You have to incrementally apply so this past year we applied for the silver award. If we get the silver award then we can apply for the gold award. Only 10% of the skilled nursing facilities in the country get this award.”
Haven also was awarded the 2020 innovative program and improvement award from the Arizona Healthcare Association.
“This is for a feeding-assisted program which was the first of its kind in the state, which we created with the help of Vanderbilt University. It allows non-clinical staff to become certified in feeding residents who can’t feed themselves.
“We’re doing some fun stuff down here and at the end of the day it’s all for the patients and this community. I’d put our staff up against anybody in the state.”
Peralta stated that during the pandemic, while many facilities were struggling to have the PPE’s and other supplies needed to operate, at no time was Haven of Douglas ever in that situation.
He credited Brake, who made it a point, sometimes searching statewide, to make sure his staff had what they needed to make sure the residents were properly cared for.
“We were never short handed and had what we needed to protect ourselves,” Peralta said. “We never ran out of gowns, masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels. As a matter of fact Haven of Douglas has been a resource for other Havens throughout the state. When they’ve been in need, we’ve been able to share our resources because of the job Adam did.”
Brake said he and his staff are determined to help the residents at Haven get the best care and have the best quality of life possible.
“We’re still accepting long term care patients,” he said, adding anyone wanting additional information may call Haven of Douglas at 520-364-7937.