Each speaker addressing the large crowd gathered for an award celebration placed the focus on the people served at the skilled nursing care center. That was the scene in Mobile as Lynwood Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center was formally presented with Diversicare’s Award of Excellence for the center’s achievements in 2015.

Lynwood Administrator Laura Saxon presents Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson with a special gift to make him an honorary member of Lynwood's Dreamcatcher Tribe.

Lynwood Administrator Laura Saxon presents Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson with a special gift to make him an honorary member of Lynwood’s Dreamcatcher Tribe.

“The reason you’re receiving this recognition is because you have set very, very high goals and achieved them,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson told Lynwood’s employees. “It takes dedicated, hard working people like yourselves who are trying to improve the quality of life for your fellow man. As mayor, it is a huge honor for me to be here to say thank you for what you do.”

Lynwood Administrator Laura Saxon followed Mayor Stimpson saying, “When I look at the awesome team members that we have, that’s why we were recognized. It is from complete team work and it shows in the love we give all of our residents and patients and they come first.”

Diversicare’s Award of Excellence represents the pinnacle of achievement for skilled nursing care centers managed by the Tennessee-based health care company. The journey toward the award begins with scoring all of Diversicare’s centers in four key areas: customer satisfaction, workforce satisfaction, health care quality and stewardship. High scoring centers are then able to submit a written application which is based on the Baldridge Quality Award principles. The applications are judged to determine the winners. For 2015, only three of Diversicare’s 55 centers were selected for the award.

“The award certainly signifies the highest level of recognition for leadership and quality care in our organization,” Diversicare CEO Kelly Gill said. “We actually have a higher goal because our intention is to try to set the industry standard for excellence. At this level, with the criteria we’ve set, we believe it’s reflective of that level of achievement.”

The dedication of Lynwood’s staff is why the center stood out from other award applicants.

“The staff members here have a demonstration and a commitment to excellence beyond what is required of them,” Gill said. “You can see that they love the residents and patients they serve. But, they also love each other and you can see that as you walk up and down the hallways and stop and listen. You can see they’re happy, they care for each other, they’re committed to doing what is right and they thrive off of each other.”

According to Saxon, achieving a high level of staff commitment begins before a person is hired.

“It’s not hard to keep the focus on the residents because when we hire people, we check for heart,” Saxon said. “When I say that, I mean if they have a kind heart we know they’re going to do good here. We can teach them anything, but you have to have heart in order to do it.”

Lynwood’s Long Record of Achievement

While this award specifically recognizes 2015, Lynwood Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center has a long history of achievement. The 127-bed center earned My InnerView’s Excellence in Action Awards for Customer Satisfaction and Workforce Satisfaction in 2013, 2014 and 2015. It won the American Health Care Association’s Bronze Commitment to Quality Award in 2008.

Residents, staff and community leaders at Lynwood's Award of Excellence celebration.

Residents, staff and community leaders at Lynwood’s Award of Excellence celebration.

The Diversicare award also comes at an appropriate time as Saxon prepares to retire later this year after a long career with Lynwood and Diversicare. Gill took time during the award presentation to recognize and thank her for her service to the residents and staff.

“Her leadership skills and professional skill set are applied so beautifully,” Gill said. “Laura inspires greatness in others. You look around her and she’s created this incredible family or community where her staff is striving for excellence, they follow her and model her and she pulls the community in. Not only is she achieving the goals she set for herself and that of the company, but she’s going beyond that. Even at the end of her career she’s setting goals.”

History of Diversicare’s Award of Excellence in Alabama

This is the second year in a row an Alabama skilled nursing care center has earned Diversicare’s top award. Hartford Health Care and Windsor House were two of only four centers nationwide to earn the award in 2014.