By Benjamin Goodin
When choosing a center for rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, experience makes a difference. You want to choose a team that not only has experience in their field, but also with your condition, such as cardiac, pulmonary, orthopedic or neurological care. Heartland Health Care Center—Moline has both expertise and experience and has been serving the Quad City market for 55 years. One of the most tenured employees, Vickie Toomson, senior administrator, has been leading the Heartland—Moline team for 22 years and has 41 years of experience with Heartland centers. Director of nursing, Angela Herberg, has been employed by Heartland—Moline for 30 years, working her way up from her start in human resources.
Talking with Angela and Vickie, they both note that the bonds of friendship run deep in the staff, “It’s a fun place to work. The staff take their jobs seriously, but they also enjoy their work.” Because of the jovial attitude between the staff, patients and residents, the rehab stay is less stressful for patients who are often recovering from a hospitalization. A general good attitude helps the Heartland staff get to know their patients and residents and on a personal level. “They get really attached to residents and their families…Losing a resident is like losing a member of their own family,” stated Vickie.
Angela and Vickie both attribute the long tenure of nurses and nursing assistants to the level of care provided at the facility. The facility has a team of 30 nurses, with a combined total of 477 years of experience. Among the more than 43 certified nursing assistants, the average for each team member is a full decade of service and experience. Their reliable presence gives the workplace and returning patients a sense of stability and familiarity. Heartland—Moline provides 24-hour skilled nursing care and offers a unique variety of lifestyle and medical management programs to maximize patients’ personal independence and quality of life.
The years of experience does not stop with nursing. In addition to the dedicated nursing staff, Heartland employs its own in-house therapy staff. The team of 14 therapists specializing in physical, occupational and speech therapies bring 192 years of combined experience. Heartland’s comprehensive programming treats patients with conditions such as stroke, breathing conditions, orthopedic injuries, total joint replacement, amputation, wounds, cardiac-related problems, neuro-muscular insufficiency, head/spinal cord injuries and other complex medical conditions.
The laundry, maintenance and housekeeping staff have an average 15 or more years of longevity at Heartland. The activities department also has a decade of service, while the dietary staff has over 20 years of service. The administrative staff who oversee each of these departments have a combined tenure of 418 years of experience in their fields.
Certainly, the long tenure of the staff makes the teamwork at the building stronger, but also it helps Heartland feel more homelike for current and returning patients. “Everyone knows you [the patient], and the community knows the staff… If a patient needs further skilled services two or three years down the road from their first admission, they will still be familiar with our employees,” said Vickie. Familiarity builds trust, and trust builds deep bonds; on many occasions, the Heartland staff has had the pleasure of serving local families across multiple generations.
It is no secret that post-acute care and rehab are tough fields. It’s emotional, often taxing work, and it requires expertise across a whole range of roles to deliver quality patient care. Longevity and experience are in-demand, and that is in addition to prerequisite technical training and emotional and physical endurance. Keeping quality staff onboard requires a dedicated core of personnel with the right skills and attitudes, and a great deal of administrative acumen to hold the team together. Vickie puts it simply, “the patients and residents are happy because the staff is happy,” and a happy staff sticks together and stays around for the long-term, in the case of Heartland.
While staffing has stayed consistent, other things at Heartland—Moline have changed. Currently, the facility is gearing up for a remodel this September. There have been multiple expansions, including the addition of a secured Alzheimer’s unit. Heartland has 149 total beds, including a dedicated 55-bed MedBridge unit, 31-bed Alzheimer’s unit and multiple private suites. MedBridge is a dedicated unit within Heartland that focuses on short-term patients requiring a higher level of medical and rehabilitative care before returning home. The average length of stay last year on the MedBridge unit at Heartland—Moline was 16 days.
Heartland—Moline prides itself on providing as smooth as possible of a transition from the hospital back to home for patients; but having the right facilities and amenities is only a part of Heartland’s long record of success. Patient outcomes are a strong indicator of the effectiveness of a healthcare team, and in 2018 Heartland—Moline has helped 799 of their rehab patients return home or to a lower level of care. The facility is also proud of its 5-star rating in quality measures as listed on medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare and earning the award “Best Short-Stay Rehabilitation 2018-19” by U.S. News and World Report.
Heartland Health Care Center—Moline, located at 833 Sixteenth Avenue, Moline, IL, is part of HCR ManorCare, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ProMedica, a mission-based, not-for-profit integrated healthcare organization which includes a network of 13 hospitals, 2,600 physicians, health plans, 450 skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers, memory care communities, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, home health and hospice agencies. Driven by its Mission to improve health and well-being, ProMedica has been nationally recognized for its advocacy programs and efforts to address social determinants of health. For more information about Heartland—Moline, call 309-764-6744 or visit www.heartlandnursing.com/moline. The facility accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private pay and over 250 insurance health plans across the country.