Troy Hamler, executive director, reacts to the whipped cream.

An awesome state survey calls for a memorable celebration.


On Sept. 29, 2015, Troy Hamler, executive director at Western Hills Health Care Center in Lakewood, Colorado, got “creamed” by Karen Cook, director of nursing, at the facility’s bi-weekly payday in-service.


The Colorado state survey team completed their inspection on Oct. 8, citing just one possible deficiency. To pass the state survey each year, nursing facilities must meet hundreds of criteria. These address nursing care and resident safety, patients’ rights, food services, administration and the physical condition of the building. Surveyors spend several days in the building reviewing paperwork, observing resident care and interviewing residents and associates.


At the in-service, Hamler wanted to do something to reward the staff for such a wonderful survey. There were tables set up with ice cream for sundaes, cookies and other goodies that associates prepared to contribute to the celebration.


While Hamler was speaking to the group, Cook snuck up and gave him a surprise: whipped cream in the face with a toss of sprinkles by Lacey Kneen, assistant director of nursing.


“I couldn’t resist the opportunity, and it is fun for the staff to see administration play,” said Cook. “It reminds them that we are human too.”


Cook added, “We have a great team here, and we take pride in the work we do for our residents. I think the survey team could feel that when they were here.”