We’re always grateful when we receive accolades such as an award from a prestigious organization or a top ranking from a health agency. Each honor is another affirmation that we are providing exceptional care to our residents, helping seniors and the elderly to enjoy their lives in comfort and safety. So when we recently received the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ coveted five-star rating — their highest— for the fifth year in a row, it told us not only that are we succeeding in our mission, but that we’re doing so year after year.
“We are happy that such honors affirm the philosophy we have always followed at United Hebrew,” says Rita Mabli, United Hebrew of New Rochelle’s President and CEO. “But the larger reward is seeing our residents feeling safe and at home, and knowing that our approach makes for more fulfilling relationships and more joy in their lives.”
The CMS ranking – based on specific quality measures, health inspections and an institution’s staffing level – echoes other important recognitions we have received. U.S. News & World Report consistently names us among the “Best Nursing Homes.” We were also recently awarded the Eli Pick Facility Leadership Award given by the American College of Health Care Administrators. And we finished in the highest of five tiers set by the New York State Department of Health.
By the numbers
Those honors and awards are often based on hard data. They show, for instance, that we have few residents who complain of pain, are injured in falls or require antipsychotic medications. Indeed, United Hebrew scored better than the national average on every one of 18 points measured by CMS in its most recent review.
The Eli Pick award is given only to nursing homes that received complaints of pain from no more than 1 percent of its long-stay patients and 8.3 percent of its short-stay residents. United Hebrew met those criteria for the first three quarters of 2015 – the timeframe considered for the award – with complaints of pain from .9 percent of long-term residents and 7.4 percent of short-stay residents. (Both numbers are far below the national averages, which were 8.1 percent for long-stay residents and 17.2 percent for short-stay residents.)
To land in the top quintile on the state Department of Health program, United Hebrew had low numbers of residents who reported being in pain, needed antipsychotic drugs, experienced depressive symptoms or were injured in falls. The program distributes $50 million from a budget-neutral fund that eligible nursing homes contribute to. About half of the funds go to the facilities in the top quintile, including United Hebrew. Those in the second and third quintiles split the rest, while the remaining facilities do not receive funds.
The art of caring
All of that is great news. But we see these results long before they are checkmarks in a report. We see the results every day in the smiles and the voices of seniors talking happily, singing along in our music therapy activities and expressing their creative side in our art therapy sessions.
These are results that emerge naturally as we devote ourselves to a holistic approach of serving our residents round-the-clock, in every way, not merely to meet data points.
In 2013, we began training staff members who interact with the patients on our Nightingale dementia unit to better understand how cognitive impairment affects a person. We gave this training not only to the nurses, but also to the food service, environmental services and the engineering department– anyone who came into contact with the residents. The results of this training were immediate. Residents who exhibited behaviors such as kicking and biting dropped significantly. Fewer residents needed antipsychotic medications.
And that’s just one program. At United Hebrew, we’re always looking for ways to improve our residents’ quality of life even more.
“It is good to have the validation of respected third parties affirming what we have always felt – that the care we deliver is done in the best possible way,” says Mabli. “Our healthcare professionals provide superior round-the-clock attention so that we are always aware of what our residents need.”