Sam Miller wins University of Washington School of Nursing Recognition
Written by Cynthia Escalante
Excellence in home care has always been the tag-line for CareForce, a home care and home health company operated out of Lynnwood, a North Seattle suburb. This spring, CareForce was able to add to its trophy case, furthering the extensive proof that the local, family run business does indeed set the bar in caregiving.
This was largely in thanks to Barbara Cochrane, who is a Professor at the University of Washington, where she acquired her MN in Physiological Nursing and PhD in Nursing Science– she also holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Oregon and a BSN from the University of Alaska, Anchorage.
Dr. Cochrane works closely with Sam Miller, CareForce’s CEO, as they both serve on the board of the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging, where they promote lifelong learning and healthy aging.
When the 2017 UW Nursing Recognition Banquet rolled around, Dr. Cochrane felt compelled to nominate Sam for the UW Distinguished Alumni Award, and she was gracious enough to answer a few questions about why…
Q: Can you tell me about your experience meeting Sam? What was your first impression?
A: I think I first met Sam at a Gerontological Professionals Network meeting in 2005, when I first became the Director of the de Tornyay Center. My first impression was that Sam was the consummate professional – very bright, hard-working, keenly interested in quality health care and best nursing practices, and having both the energy and enthusiasm to accomplish very important work for older individuals.
Q: What moved you to nominate Sam for the UW Distinguished Alumni Award?
A: Over the years, I have realized that my initial impressions were on-target and – in addition – that Sam has tremendous breadth of knowledge (and a great sense of humor); and she is incredibly generous with her time in supporting nursing and home care professional activities, her staff at CareForce, and excellence in health care. In addition, she has been a great support to the UW School of Nursing, the school’s de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging, and our students. She truly represents the best and the brightest of our School of Nursing alumni. I thought it was important that she be recognized for all that she has accomplished.
Q: How would you say Sam’s previous work as a Nurse has enabled her to build CareForce into a premier care provider within the greater Seattle area?
A: Sam’s nursing background has prepared her to focus on excellence and consider creative ways to provide quality home care, as well as ensure that the care provided through CareForce and its organizational systems are based on solid research evidence and best practices.
Q: What are your thoughts on the role of private duty home care within the greater continuum of care?
A: Home care is a critical component of the continuum of care, and we have seen a system-wide recognition of that importance over the last decade or so in terms of health care policies that focus on care transitions. Sam knew, very early in this process of recognition, how important home care is for ensuring safe and effective care transitions, and she has formed key partnerships to support the full continuum of care.
Q: When it comes to quality of care outcomes, what would you say the effect of hospital readmission rates, stabilization of condition, etc. have on the ability to provide care in the home?
A: I think many facilities, organizations, and agencies are now aware of how important care in the home is to reducing hospital readmission rates and stabilization of conditions. Insurance reimbursement rates perhaps prompted that realization, but safe and high-quality home care – with strong community partnerships and good communication across health care settings – have reinforced its value.