Articles / 2016
Continuing Care Center Receives Five-Star Rating
Ventura County Star
by Tom Kisken
The decision to move a loved one into a skilled nursing facility can be an emotional one. For many, it’s the realization that a family member or friend can no longer care for themselves and requires professional, around-the-clock care.
Oftentimes the person in need of skilled nursing has themselves been a caretaker and the time has come to find a facility that provides compassionate, qualified and diligent assistance in a healthy and comfortable setting.
The question becomes: How can someone be sure a skilled nursing facility is a good one?
To help answer that question, the Baltimore-based Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, developed a comprehensive rating system which the agency makes public every year on its website. It’s called the Nursing Home Compare Five-Star Quality Rating System. The federal agency contracts through California’s Department of Public Health Licensing and Certification Division to oversee facility regulatory compliance.
“The (rating system) provides residents and their families with an easy-to-understand summary of three dimensions of nursing home quality: health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data,” according to the federal health agency’s website. “The goal of the rating system is to help consumers make meaningful distinctions among high- and low-performing nursing homes.”
Ojai Valley Community Hospital’s Continuing Care Center, a skilled nursing facility, was recently awarded a five-star rating, the highest possible, following a comprehensive inspection by the health agency. It’s a mark of distinction only 33 percent of California’s more than 1,200 skilled nursing facilities can claim.
Patricia Bishop, MBA and RN, director of nursing at Continuing Care Center, said the five-star rating is a reflection of the outstanding staff caring for its nearly 60 residents.
“I approach my job by asking myself, ‘If I was in need of skilled nursing care, what type of home would I want to be in?’” said the nurse with over 40 years of experience. “My philosophy is to provide the residents with a home-like environment. We want to ensure the residents achieve the highest practical psycho-social wellbeing.”
Bishop said the rating system takes into account over 500 specific points of criteria—which include patient safety, food quality and the proper administration and monitoring of medication, among others. The Continuing Care Center met 99 percent of those points, according to the CMS report issued in February.
“That’s a direct reflection of our fantastic staff,” the director said. The center provides long-term care and also offers a place for residents to recuperate following a major surgery, such as a hip or knee replacement.
The federal health agency sends a team of inspectors to every nursing facility throughout the U.S. Those inspectors not only personally examine a nursing facility but comb over its medical records.
The Continuing Care Center certainly scored high in its review for a variety of reasons, but Bishop pointed to the fact that it is a non-restraint facility, none of the residents suffered pressure ulcers—commonly called bedsores—and the extremely high number of licensed nurses on staff at any given time.
“Our staffing of licensed nurses far exceeds what you’d find in most other homes,” Bishop said.
Of course, if anyone would know what a top-notch skilled nursing home should look like, it’s Bishop. Prior to coming to Ojai Valley Community Hospital in 2014, she spent eight years as one of the inspectors charged with monitoring and rating nursing homes throughout the state.
“What I like about my job is that having been on the regulatory end, it’s nice to utilize that knowledge to ensure we are in compliance with regulations. I can direct the staff appropriately should we need to make any changes.”
So what would Bishop tell someone looking for a nursing facility?
“I’d welcome them to come here for a visit,” she said. “Whether it’s providing nourishing meals, having activities for our residents or ensuring excellent care, our goal is to create a positive environment with a compassionate, caring staff.”
To learn more about the Nursing Home Compare Five-Star Quality Rating System, go online to www.cms.gov. To learn more about Ojai Valley Community Hospital and its Center for Continuing Care, go online to www.cmhshealth.org/ovch or call (805) 646-1401.