Region's Nursing Homes Score Well

September 28, 2004
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Nursing homes in western Michigan generally perform on a level with peers across the nation and overall have a high level of satisfaction from patients and their families, according to a recent scorecard on long-term care.

The report by the Alliance for Health found that 90 percent of patients and their families reported they are satisfied with the nursing home where they or a loved one are receiving care.

Nearly 95 percent of families would recommend the nursing home where a family member resides.

Lody Zwarensteyn, president of the Alliance for Health, said the showing reflects a relatively high level of satisfaction with the nursing homes operating within the 12-county service area.

The result is notable in part because many nursing home patients are incapacitated and family members are often the ones determining which facility is best for them, Zwarensteyn added. How well a nursing home relates and communicates with family members often correlates to their perception about the quality of care the facility provides, he said.

“Despite what you may hear from time to time, nursing homes have been doing a good job of reaching out to families,” he said.

“That’s something you can take to the bank. It’s a good statement about the facilities.”

The Alliance for Health published the West Michigan Health Scorecard in late July. The publication included a glimpse of how well nursing homes perform in certain areas.

The scorecard reported each facility’s family-patient satisfaction, a family’s willingness to recommend that home, average staff hours and citations received in the most recent state inspections.

In Kent County, four nursing homes — Laurels of Kent, Metron of Cedar Springs, Michigan Christian Homes and Pilgrim Manor — each received a 100 percent recommendation from families.

Five nursing homes in Ottawa County received a 100 percent score in the category of “family willing to recommend.” Those homes were Allendale Nursing Centre, Haven Park Christian Nursing Home in Zeeland, Heritage Healthcare Center, Metron of Lamont and North Ottawa Care Center.

The Alliance for Health scorecard found that a little more than one-third of all facilities meet or exceed the state average of 3.7 staffing hours per day per patient.

Western Michigan nursing homes on average received seven citations during state inspections during 2003, down from the average of 8.75 in 2002 and 8.88 in 2001, according to the Alliance for Health scorecard.

That’s consistent with the nationwide average and superior to the statewide average in Michigan of nine citations per inspections.

Nursing homes reporting for the survey had a collective occupancy rate of 90.4 percent as of last spring, which compares with a statewide occupancy rate of 87.2 percent.

“There still are vacancies, so it’s not panic time if someone has to get into a nursing home,” Zwarensteyn said.    

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