Excellence In Action-Featuring George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home

Quality Award; Awards and Recognition; Quality Award Stories

​Andre​a Aston, the administrator of George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home in Ogden, Utah, leads a Gold Quality Award-winning facility, recognized in 2019 for its excellence in quality care for veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents. Her leadership emphasizes teamwork and continuous improvement, key factors in achieving and surpassing high standards in long-term care. This approach has not only elevated care at George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home but has also inspired similar quality initiatives across the sector.

Q: What started the Quality Award journey for your center?
A:The leadership decided we wanted to be a facility that was on the path to excellence. We had the buy-in of our staff and leaders before pursuing our journey.

Q: What has the National Quality Award journey meant to you and your team?
A: The Quality Award journey for me personally has given me greater satisfaction in my profession. It feels so good to know I am always striving for excellence for the residents and staff that I serve. Our staff has increased unity because of the common goal that we have—excellence. Continual improvement has become part of conversations in all departments.

Q: What advice would you give to providers who are considering applying for an award but are not sure?
A:100% do it!! It is not easy, but worth it. One person cannot do it alone; it needs to be a team approach. If the whole team is not committed, you will not see the changes that can come by embarking on the journey. If your team is committed, you will see unity and improvements that are fun to watch happen.

Q: Describe how your commitment to excellence has influenced the community or industry standards.
A:On our journey we realized that we did not have a mechanism to evaluate our processes. We decided to develop our own process to implement it into QAPI. The EPIC (evaluating processes, implementing change) process was developed for our team. We continue to utilize it consistently to review our processes and make changes. Other facilities have been able to utilize this same tool to strengthen their practice of evaluating processes.

Q: Could you tell us more about attaining two deficiency-free surveys as a result of a focus on performance excellence?
A: A focus on continual improvement and performance excellence has assisted us in achieving two deficiency-free surveys. We have a focus on process evaluation and improvement. This is crucial in survey performance. If processes are not in place that contribute to positive results, surveys become a challenge. The unity of our team and their commitment to excellence and improvement is key to our success during surveys. This commitment came through our Quality Award journey.