Becoming a nationally recognized senior care organization doesn’t happen overnight. For SunBridge Healthcare, combining an unwavering commitment to quality with an extensive list of services has taken years. Now the organization has a full set of capabilities that should allow for its continued growth and provision of quality care. SunBridge has more than 200 healthcare and retirement locations in the country. Its services include everything from long-term residential care to short-term rehabilitation. The company is owned by Sun Healthcare Group and has been in operation since 1989.

As part of the Sun Healthcare Group, SunBridge often turns to its sister companies to extend the capabilities of its locations and improve outcomes. SolAmor Hospice provides support and care for the terminally ill. VitalCare provides skilled nursing centers with on-site nurse practitioner coverage. SunDance Rehabilitation’s rehab therapists work with skilled nursing centers, assisted living centers, retirement residences, hospitals and schools. CareerStaff Unlimited’s staffing solutions and placement services are offered to hospitals and long-term facilities. 

Better than the Best

Quality is one of the pillars that set SunBridge’s facilities apart from its competitors. Over the last few years, the organization has been recognized many times for its commitment to quality improvement as well as its outcomes. In August, eight SunBridge Healthcare nursing centers and one assisted living center earned Bronze Quality Awards from the American Health Care Association and the National Center For Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) for quality improvement. 

“Our commitment to quality is our top priority,” Logan Sexton, president of SunBridge Healthcare, said in a statement. “These centers have set an exemplary standard that confirms this commitment.” 

That followed a June announcement that the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) had recognized 10 SunBridge certified nursing assistants.

“These awards by NAHCA stand for quality and caring, and they validate the dedication these caregivers offer our residents every day,” Sexton said. 

This wasn’t the first time the company has received these kinds of recognition. In July 2010, the AHCA/NCAL presented Bronze Quality Awards to nine SunBridge Healthcare affiliated nursing centers. Also in 2010, the NAHCA recognized CNAs from eight SunBridge affiliated centers.

SunBridge Healthcare is able to consistently demonstrate this commitment to quality because of its adherence to the “Quality First: A Covenant for Healthy, Affordable, and Ethical Long Term Care” initiative. “Quality First” is built on a foundation of seven principles: continuous quality assurance and quality improvement, public disclosure and accountability, patient/family rights, work force excellence, public input and community involvement, ethical practices and financial stewardship. SunBridge’s commitment to these principles is a driving factor behind its quality of care.

Anything and Everything

Depth and breadth of service is another aspect of SunBridge Healthcare that helps it stand out. Each location is tailored to the needs of its community and can include an array of long- and short-term care and rehabilitation including specialized Alzheimer’s care and rehab recovery suites. 

Some of its locations provide behavioral health services, and the company operates some assisted living and independent living facilities, as well. No matter what the setting, the organization’s approach is to use a multidisciplinary team of doctors, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and support professionals to help patients and residents physically and emotionally. 

At its care and rehabilitation centers, SunBridge’s services can include short-stay care, residential skilled care, rehab recovery suites and Solana Alzheimer’s care. Short-stay care serves individuals recovering from surgery, illness or other medical events, and rehab recovery suites help hasten recovery from orthopedic or reconstructive surgery, trauma or neurological conditions. 

Residential skilled care is meant for those who need longer-term help, and SunBridge aims to provide a sense of home and community along with quality care. That care can include the Solana Alzheimer’s program in select SunBridge locations. In addition, SunBridge care and rehab centers may also offer hospice services and VitalCare enhanced nursing services with nurse practitioners who specialize in complex medical conditions. 

As for assisted living and independent living centers, these are for seniors who are still fairly active. The key is providing a home-like environment that includes applicable care services and access to daily activities. Ultimately, these facilities provide residents with safety and security and help them maintain the highest level of independence possible. 

Then there are SunBridge’s behavioral health centers, which specialize in serving those with short- and long-term psychiatric issues. The care team includes the patient’s psychiatrist and primary care physician as well as a psychologist and a psychological counselor. 

In addition, SunBridge runs programs with a psychoeducational approach to learning for children in grades 7-12 in Southern California. In 2009, the company also launched its Sol-Oasis program, which serves young adults in need of care for complex medical and neuropsychiatric conditions. 

One way the organization demonstrates its commitment to caring for the whole individual stems from its partnership with Twilight Wish Foundation. Founded in 2003, the foundation helps seniors realize many dreams. SunBridge began working with the foundation in 2008. 

There are certainly many challenges and uncertainties in senior care facing SunBridge today. Government regulation, reimbursement cuts, funding, resource allocation and work force development all fall into the challenge category. But there are many opportunities, as well. There are new delivery models, a growing senior population and service expansions that can all help SunBridge thrive and improve.

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Summer 2013

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