By Thomas Klotz
My Opinion 

Klotz Reflects On His Valley View Days

 


I read with great interest in The Glasgow Courier the article on, “Big Changes at Valley View Home” and with the statement “Over two decades with only small changes led to bigger change taking place locally.” Having worked there as the administrator from 1992 to 2012, there were many changes that affected the services we provided to the people of Glasgow and the surrounding area. Many of them were not small and were beneficial as well.

In 1993, a $900,000 addition and remodel was completed which expanded the dining room, administration and activity offices, chapel, beauty shop and front entry living room. Family members or visitors would often comment upon entering that the facility did not look like a nursing home.

We replaced the original nurse call system and Fire Panel after maintenance found it difficult to locate parts for the systems. A situation, 20 years later they are again having to address.

We noted the census of the nursing home was not going to be at the levels previously held. By 1994, our ElderCare program was initiated, providing in-home service to people who needed personal care or socialization to help maintain them in their own place of residence. At the same time we utilized a number of our beds and converted them to “assisted living,” providing lower level of care service at a reduced rate compared to nursing home prices. Another program that was started was Adult Day Care, where family members may drop off a love one for part or a whole day and pick them up later in the afternoon.


Discussion of developing a dementia/special care unit was being held with the staff and board of directors. In 1997, Sunshine Square, a $400,000 addition, opened up for residents who had some form of dementia or special needs. In that same timeline, a decision was made to convert most of our double rooms into single occupancy rooms, thus enhancing the environment for the resident coming into the facility.

Prairie Ridge Village opened in 2001 and later another wing was added to the facility. The independent and assisted living project was built in partnership with Francis Mahon Deaconess Hospital.

All resident room furnishings were changed out, as well as, carpeting (twice), bathing systems, telephone system (1993), mechanical air handling and the emergency generator. All totaling, over $2 million in replacement and updating of the nursing home occurred between 1992-2012. Yet, as noted in the article, more needs to be done to maintain the nursing home.


We invited the community into our Home by having people attend the Community Barbecue, Health Fair, Lukes 100 and other activities throughout the year. The management staff worked together as a team to make these programs a success.

There were concerns with our census not being maintained higher and the use of agency staffing (nurses or certified nurse assistants) which is quite costly. Working in a nursing home is one of the most difficult positions a person can have and also be rewarding at the same time. It did not help either when Gov. Schweitzer held funding back for nursing homes and again last legislative session by Gov. Bullock on HB 12. What I did not anticipate from the new administrator since then, was that she would increase the cost of the operation even further.

Upon my last meeting with the board of directors, I stated that they needed to focus on finding an experienced administrator, particularly, one with long-term care knowledge and experience. If they had done so, they may not have needed to hire a health care management company. Health Management Services is a fine company and they will work towards bringing financial stability to the operation of the nursing home.

I have supported a good portion of my career at Valley View Home with my time and effort, as well as, to Valley View Home Foundation and Lukes 100, to make it one of the best health care facilities in Montana. We were proud of what we accomplished in serving the people of Valley County.


 

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