A high quality of life for patients is something Cassie Faircloth is passionate about, and her dedication to ensuring those within Sampson Regional Medical Center’s skilled nursing unit have that has earned her national recognition.
Faircloth, the director of Sampson Regional’s skilled nursing unit, was recently honored by the National Association of Directors of Nursing Administration in Long Term Care “for excellence in service and dedication to the long term care continuum.” She was officially presented with the award at the 2010-11 NADONA conference in Kissimmee, Fla. last month. NADONA has close to 6,000 members in more than 30 states and Canada.
The local director said she was humbled by the national recognition. She credited the state’s efforts, and those at Sampson Regional, with helping boost that quality of life she holds so dear.
“I was just honored. It was a little overwhelming to be honest with you,” said Faircloth. “Our state is very active with lobbying for long term care. North Carolina is on the forefront in making sure our long term care patients are taken care of. It’s great to be a part of an active state and a national association in ensuring a good quality of life for all nursing home patients. That’s everyone’s goal, regardless of the facility they’re at. What matters is the quality of care.”
SRMC’s 30-bed skilled nursing unit is committed to that, whether it means providing rehabilitation services for short-term patients or reminiscing life’s stories with long-term residents.
Among the services provided on the hospital’s second floor skilled care unit are physical, occupational and speech therapy, orthopedic care, pre- and post-operative care, pain management and complex wound therapy, along with a variety of other day-to-day and extensive nursing.
The care they receive can be general in nature, while many also receive specialized care to their specific needs. Along with its director, the unit has 15 nursing assistants and 20 nurses, as well as a social worker and rehab staff, to serve patients.
“Some are long term, some are short term. If the length of stay is three days, or if it is 30 days, it’s great we are able to meet that quality,” Faircloth noted. “The quality of each day is very meaningful. At Sampson Regional Medical Center, everyone from the hospital administration and the Board of Trustees, every CNA and everybody on this team does a great job.”
In July, Sampson Regional’s skilled nursing unit logged 787 patient days, and an average daily census of around 25 individual patients. On an annual basis, the unit at Sampson Regional admits 335 new patients to go along with those it continually serves.
“Any given day, we will have 25 to 27 patients in the long term care unit,” said Faircloth.
A Virginia native, Faircloth has been in long term care since starting as a nursing assistant in 1989. She has served in that capacity locally and in the surrounding community for the past 18 years. She previously worked at a nursing home in Dunn before coming to Sampson Regional about a decade ago. She has served as the director of SRMC’s skilled nursing unit since 2005.
She is married to husband Ricky, and they have two daughters, Amber and Hannah. “The support of my family is what enables me to do this job,” she said simply. “I couldn’t do it without them.”
Faircloth not only continues to work to achieve her ultimate goal of maintaining and improving the lives of patients, but also impart its importance on to others.
“Mainly it’s showing that, regardless of age, every person has a right to have a meaningful day,” she noted, “and it’s about helping everyone relate to that.”
Faircloth said she will talk to young medical students and inquire as to what path they want to take. Many will raise their hands when asked about working in the Emergency Department, caring for patients in the intensive care unit or performing a surgical procedure in the operating room. Hands aren’t raised as frequently during talk of skilled nursing and long term care.
She is quick to tell those young students that persons over 65 are going to be patients in every department. Their long term care is vital, just as with any other.
“I try to help everybody understand we should always try to do what we can to ensure everyone has a great quality of life. That is dear to my heart. I think we’ve come a long way,” she said. “We are the future elderly. I think it’s something that we need to cherish.”
As far as the recently received accolade, she shies away from it as an individual honor and instead notes its reflection on a staff — and hospital — that continues to do its best to provide dignified services that help to improve the quality of life for all residents.
“It just recognizes Sampson Regional’s skilled unit, and the fact that we diligently strive for excellence in service and quality of care,” said Faircloth. “This is a team award. This is the skilled nursing unit’s award.”
Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at email@example.com.