HJ/EDHerald Journal / Enterprise Dispatch, Jan. 30, 2006

State rates nursing homes

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

Nearly 400 nursing homes in Minnesota were given “report cards,” in the form of assigned stars Jan. 20, based on quality measures by the Minnesota Department of Health.

Waconia Good Samaritan Center had 31 stars, out of a total 40, the most in the region.

The average for the region was 26 stars. The state average is 27 stars.

Several local nursing homes rated above the state average, including St. Mary’s Care Center of Winsted, 27 stars; Annandale Care Center, 26 stars; Elim Home of Watertown, 26 stars; Howard Lake Good Samaritan Center, 25 stars; Auburn West of Waconia, 23 stars; Dassel Lakeside Community Home, 22 stars; and Cokato Manor, 18 stars.

Each nursing home was rated with one to five stars on resident satisfaction, quality indicators or how well residents do physically and mentally, hours of direct care, direct care staff turnovers, direct care staff retention, percentage of hours supplied by temp agencies, single bed rooms, and health department inspections. The most points that a nursing home can get is 40.

The most important quality measures is the quality of life measure, which is based on personal interviews with at least 25 residents in each home. The second most important is quality of care. It is based on data collected on each resident, according to the Minnesota Health Department in the Jan. 20 Star Tribune.

Waconia had four stars for its quality indicators, which is above the state average of three. It also was better than the state average for staff turnover, staff retention, temporary staffing use, proportion of single rooms and state inspection results.

Lake Ridge Care Center of Buffalo had a total of 30 stars. It had four stars for resident quality of life, which is better than the state average of three.

Emmanuel Home of Litchfield had a total of 29 stars. It also was better than state average for both resident quality of life and quality indicators.

Glencoe Regional Health Services had a total of 27 stars. It also was better than state average for resident quality of life.

The Delano Health Care Center and Burns Manor Nursing Home of Hutchinson also had a total of 27 stars. Both were better than the state average for quality indicators also.

Lakeside had three stars for resident quality of life and Cokato Manor had two stars. Lakeside also had four stars for temporary staffing use and Cokato Manor had two.

“We understand that the new report cards may be a useful tool for families to use as one small element of selecting a nursing home,” said Bill Ward, administrator of Lakeside Community Home. “However it must be remembered that much of the information contained in the report is not really relevant to a perspective resident, and therefore should not be relied on as a major factor in a placement decision.”

“Family members must be aware that the report card tool is not a measure of quality,” he said. “It is only a statistical report. It can not be used to compare the quality of service in one facility to that of another. Those comparisons can only be made by visiting facilities, talking to medical staff who serve residents there, and seeking information on the experience of others who have been cared for there.”

Cokato Manor Administrator Michelle Haefner also invited families to visit the facility for themselves.

“We are proud to say that we have earned a good number of stars on our report card. We also know that the stars on the report card cannot convey all there is to know about a nursing home,” Haefner said.

The report card for each nursing home was posted recently at www.health.state.mn.us/nhreportcard/.

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