The Juneau nursing home recently was presented an Award of Excellence in Health Care Quality by Qualis Health, a nonprofit quality improvement organization, at the Alaska State Hospital and Nursing Home Association's annual conference.
Wildflower Court was given the award for greatly reducing the incidence of pressure ulcers, or bedsores.
Bill Crompton, resident care coordinator, said the state average for pressure ulcers is 8 percent in Alaska and 14 percent in the nation. Wildflower Court has an average of 0-4 percent.
"We kind of went through the backdoor in preventing pressure ulcers by learning how to treat them," Crompton said.
He said a patient was admitted to the facility with 16 pressure ulcers ranging in severity and was not expected to live.
"Within six months he was healed completely. We were impressed with ourselves and our success," Crompton said. "We gradually recognized that the same things we do to heal are the same techniques we should use to prevent."
He said the primary way to heal a pressure ulcer is to relieve pressure on the body. He said every department of the facility is involved in working with patients to prevent ulcer sores, from dietary needs to care nurses checking patients for early signs of pressure ulcers.
"We came to understand that we could be pressure ulcer free, and we elevated the expectations of our own performance," Crompton said. "We went from fixing a problem to preventing it in the first place."
Dr. Tom Nighswander, medical director the Alaska Qualis office, said Crompton used his own intuition in preventing pressure ulcers.
"He changed the culture of that place," Nighswander said. "He said there were not going to be any more pressure ulcers. Everybody from housekeeping to nurses and others have that embedded to where they work. Pressure ulcers are the bane of everyone's existence and what his (Crompton) team did was mighty impressive."
At the conference, Crompton presented his story to his peers and colleagues.
"Bill quietly stood in front of the group and had a compelling story," Nighswander said. "That is just incredible, bordering on miracle."