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Nearly 1/3 of Central Mass Nursing Homes “Below Average”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Photo: simaje/flickr

Nearly one-third of all nursing homes in Central Massachusetts scored “below average” according to a recently released study by Medicare.gov. The Nursing Home Compare study found that 19 of the 62 nursing homes scored “much below average” or “below average” for overall quality.

For families making a decision on how best to select to select a facility, Steve Hall, Administrator at Notre Dame Long Term Care Center has a number of suggestions, “When they (the family) tour a facility, make sure the place is clean. I'd recommend touring and make sure that they find the staff responsive and respectful."

Notre Dame LTC, located on Planation Street in Worcester, scored a Five-Star rating.

The facilities that Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare study found were top performing – scoring a Five-Star “much above average” rating – totaled eleven in Central Massachusetts.

Other top performers in the region include Heywood Transitional Care Center in Gardner, Wachusett Extended Care Facility in Holden, and Sandalwood Care & Rehab Center in Oxford. Each of these facilities performed well across each of the measures.

Photo: luuns/flickr

The administrators of Christopher House of Worcester and Notre Dame said that the majority of their patients come from within a ten-mile radius. The importance of the rankings is important, but equally important is reputation. “The best thing is word of mouth, said” Walter Ohanian, Christopher House of Worcester’s Administrator.

The Christopher House Facility is located on Mary Scano Drive and the facility is JCAHO Certified.

More than 50% of Worcester’s Nursing Homes Score Below Average

Worcester nursing homes, as GoLocalWorcester.com’s previously reported, vary widely in quality with more than half (9 of 17) scoring below average. Correspondingly, four Worcester nursing homes scored Five-Star ranking.

Each facility is scored against four measures and then an overall score is applied. The four measurers are: health inspections, nurse staffing, quality measures, and RN staffing.

Photo: bterrycompton/flickr

Selecting a Nursing Home

Medicare is quick to counsel that the rating stars should not be the only factor when selecting a facility. Issues like distance between family and the nursing home can also be an important factor. If the family can visit more often then the nursing home patient may benefit. "Certainly the star ratings can be important; it's one contributing factor. It's certainly a good place to start," said Hall.

"They'll come and see me before they go for surgery and then we work out the arrangements for afterward. A lot of facilities don't have respiratory (technology and expertise) because Medicare cut that out and Christopher House does,” said Ohanian.


Photo: simaje/flickr

“The Five Star Quality Rating System is not a substitute for visiting the nursing home. This system can give you important information, help you compare nursing homes by topics you consider most important, and help you think of questions to ask when you visit the nursing home,” writes Medicare.

Nursing Home Compare allows consumers, “to compare information about nursing homes. It contains quality of care information on every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country, including over 17,000 nationwide.” Note that facilities that do not quality for Medicare and Medicaid are not included in the study. For additional information from the State of Massachusetts:

Phone: (617) 753-8150; 1-800-462-5540 (within Massachusetts only)




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