When Blakeford opened its doors in 1996, our focus was on being the premier provider of solutions for older adults by creating a thriving environment encouraging whole life wellness for our residents. Through the years, we have continually set high standards to maintain this focus. While I believe we accomplish our goals, I also believe that there is always opportunity to grow and improve the services Blakeford provides. As a business person, I also see the value in being accountable for what Blakeford does and, more importantly, how we do it.
The leadership team and board of Blakeford began considering the need for accreditation primarily because it provides a “third-party” validation to all the things that we are doing well at Blakeford. It also challenged us to develop a process for improvement that could be substantiated and validated by other parties. All of those reasons then contributed to the overriding reason which was to better serve our residents and clients.
Starting the Process
Over the last twelve years we have eyed this goal many times and various obstacles presented themselves each time we thought about moving forward (i.e. personnel changes, changes in the economy, etc.). We made a resource person available to drive the process, establish goals and benchmarks, and push us to make it happen. We reached out to CARF-CCAC (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities and Continuing Care Accreditation Commission) to gather information on what was involved
The process officially began on July 1, 2012 and, ultimately, involved nearly 70 people – team members, board members, residents, and family members. We addressed 1589 standards that were required by CARF through
- approximately 240 meetings;
- nearly 4500 emails;
- one site visit;
- and one survey.
Making the Grade
At the completion of our survey, CARF-CCAC provided a list of CARF communities comparable to Blakeford. We had scored 70% higher than communities who had been accredited for five years.
On April 11, 2014, almost two years after we officially began the process, Blakeford was awarded a five-year accreditation making us only one of 200 communities in the country with that designation and the only one currently in middle Tennessee. Also of significance, Blakeford at Home, our provider of in-home services, received the only accreditation of such a provider in the state of Tennessee.
A commitment to continuous quality improvement is a part of our culture at Blakeford. We are always looking for opportunities to improve our services and the quality of life for our residents and their families. This commitment to excellence drives our team members to accept challenges like an accreditation and learn throughout the process. And, in the end, this all evidences Blakeford’s ongoing dedication to setting the pace in active senior living.
Van Cluck, CASP, serves as chief executive officer for Blakeford, Inc. where he oversees the strategic direction for the corporation which includes Blakeford at Green Hills, Blakeford at Home, and LiveWell by Blakeford.