CNN's Digital Magazine, State, recently featured an extensive profile of North Sunflower Medical Center as part of an in-depth series on the impacts of health policy in rural America. We were happy to host the CNN crew in September and show them around Ruleville. With rural hospitals closing all over the country, we were proud to have them feature North Sunflower Medical Center as a hospital that is "beating the odds." [caption id="attachment_3217" align="aligncenter" width="909"] The article includes a heart-warming video of NSMC Cardiologist, Dr. Gene Hutchinson, and his patient, Mr. Wiley King.[/caption] The CNN crew was in town for two days, interviewed dozens of people, and took photo and video of most every place they went. Everyone on our staff did a tremendous job, working to make sure patients continued to get exceptional care, even while the cameras were rolling. The article highlights the challenges many rural hospitals face today. At North Sunflower, we feel fortunate to survive by having a community that has rallied around us, a team of exceptional health care professionals, and patients that make coming to work every day feel like spending time with family. [caption id="attachment_3220" align="aligncenter" width="938"] Today, the hospital is thriving even as many rural hospitals struggle to stay open and serve their communities. Its staff has more than tripled, as has the size of its health clinic. Patients come from miles away to get basic care or see a growing number of specialists.[/caption] You can read the article and watch the video by clicking HERE.
One of the interesting things about Ruleville this time of year is our weather. We like to tell people we really only get two seasons -- summer and bad sinuses season. Around the holidays, instead of colorful fall foliage that you might get other places, we see a lot more red, itchy eyes and colorful runny noses. Sinusitis is among the most common diagnoses for those who visit North Sunflower Medical Center complaining of coughing, sinus pressure, congestion, postnasal drainage and headaches. One in eight adults suffers from sinusitis today. Often, patients misdiagnose themselves as simply suffering from seasonal allergies or a persistent cold. While medications such as nasal sprays, antibiotics and antihistamines can provide temporary relief, many times they do not solve the problem. Dr. Pearson Windham – our NSMC Ear, Nose and Throat specialist – has started working with the PROPEL Sinus Stent for those chronic sinus patients who have tried and failed to find relief from medications alone for those pounding headaches and sneezing fits that spread through the Delta this time of year. The innovative treatment is a medicated, lightweight dissolvable stent that is placed after sinus surgery. It helps keep the sinus cavities open and steadily delivers local anti-inflammatory medication to the healing sinus tissue. The stent remains there for a few weeks, utilizing a spring-like mechanism to open up the nasal passageway. At the same time, it provides anti-inflammatory therapy to enhance healing. The stent slowly dissolves on its own, and no removal is necessary. If you’re interested in enjoying Christmas season WITHOUT congested sinuses or a persistent cough, call Dr. Windham. He’d love to talk with you.
Watch a video about the PROPEL Sinus Stent here:
Look who Just Picked Up the Mississippi Rural Hospital Association Patient Satisfaction AwardBy Hannah Barrett As you might have heard us say, patient satisfaction is a job we take seriously. Very seriously. A happy patient is a healthy patient. Over the past two years, we put a plan in place to measure and track how satisfied our patients were whenever they left our facilities. Over time, we’ve seen movement, made some necessary adjustments, and this month, all that hard work won. Big Time. Last week, the Mississippi Rural Hospital Association recognized North Sunflower Medical Center with the Patient Satisfaction Award for the "Critical Access Hospital Division". Here’s how that happened: The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is a patient satisfaction survey required by CMS (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for all hospitals in the United States. These numbers are very important. It’s an important survey that the public has access to and actually proves how we are doing on a day to day basis with meeting the needs of our patients. We have worked extremely hard over the course of the last couple of years to improve our HCAHPS scores. It’s pretty simple to receive a complaint and be able to address the employee and go on about your business; however, HCAHPS is different. If there’s one patient that gives a bad review it can dramatically decrease your scores. We have taken a dramatically different approach, by keeping everyone in the NSMC family (our staff members, doctors, nurses, and administrators) up to date on how we are doing each time the numbers are released. We have changed several different processes to ensure the patients are better cared for, which in return has increased our percentages. We make sure a social worker, discharge coordinator, pharmacist, member of the administration, and case manager see each patient prior to discharge. This has helped to make sure the patients have a better understanding of their medications and it helps to identify any needs they have for their upcoming discharge. Here at North Sunflower Medical Center, we believe in customer service. We try to explain to all of our newly hired employees that we are a family here at North Sunflower. If we treat our patients as family, as well as our co-workers, our scores will continue to improve. Receiving this award has been a great accomplishment. It is a piece of encouragement for all of our staff members to know that hard work pays off.
By Scott Burns No matter where you come from, how much money you have, or how beautiful your grandchildren are, one thing is certain: we all get older. As a Social Services Director at a long-term care facility, I get a lot of questions from friends or family that are looking for long-term care options for a parent – or for themselves. You are hiring a team of people to do an important job: provide care for what should be the most relaxing time of life. Every senior care professional says, ‘they treat your family like it’s their family’ – and they should. Where I work, Walter B. Crook Nursing Facility at North Sunflower Medical Center, we take enormous pride in creating a caring environment with a wonderful staff that treats everyone the way we want our parents to be treated. But in many ways, caring about the people you care for should be a basic requirement, not a selling feature. [caption id="attachment_3242" align="aligncenter" width="727"] Walter B. Crook Nursing Facility[/caption] Fear of making the wrong choice can create stress and anxiety, leaving your heart tied in knots. Here are a few things I tell people to look for in a long-term care facility to help them know quickly and easily which is going to be the right place for them:
- Cleanliness. Sounds simple, but believe me, it matters. I am a clean freak, and so are the people I work with. Our environmental services “Clean-Team” is always dusting the tops of picture frames and wiping the undersides of tables. From the moment you walk in, check the corners, notice the smells, and look under the furniture. A spotless facility shows me they sweat the details – because how are you going to keep the bedding fresh if you can’t keep the entryway clean?
- Private Rooms. Would you share a hotel room with a person you barely know? Even for just one night? Absolutely not. Then why would you consider sleeping in the same room with a relative stranger for months – or even years? Our facility has 60 rooms and 60 beds. We never have more than 60 residents. Keeping it simple eliminates more headaches than you can imagine. We never have to worry about pairing a light sleeper with a heavy snorer; a talker with a thinker; or a loud TV watcher with a quiet book reader. Beyond that, we also know our therapy spaces will never be overcrowded, and all the games and activities designed to keep you mentally and physically fit will always be open to everyone.
- Outdoor Space. It’s no secret, people operate better with a little fresh air and some sunshine. But taking a walk in the park, or going out in the backyard will not always be as easy as it seems. When I tour a nursing home, I want to see an easily accessible courtyard and big windows to let the natural light fill a room, even when it’s too hot – or too cold – to go outside. At Walter B Crook Nursing Facility, we keep the North Sunflower Medical Center landscapers busy, continuously trimming, planting and re-potting greenery to give our courtyard a fresh, inviting place for our residents to sit in the fresh air and relax with a bit of sunshine.