The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) recently gave Clark Fork Valley Hospital’s
28-bed Long Term Care facility in Plains, MT 5 Stars in their recent Quality
“When I first heard we were the recipients
of a 5 star rating, I was ecstatic,” says Greg Hanson, MD, President/CEO. “It
was less about the rating though and more about the recognition for our Long
Term Care staff that have worked so diligently to raise the bar for our
residents. Their dedication and compassion for each and every one of our
residents is evident and they want to ensure residents are proud of their home
here at CFVH. They aren’t just providing standard care, they are providing
exceptional care and it is important to see their efforts be recognized.”
CMS created the Five-Star Quality Rating System to help
consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily and
to help identify areas about which you may want to ask questions.
The Nursing Home Compare Web site features a quality rating
system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars.
Nursing homes with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality
and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below
average. There is one Overall 5-star rating for each nursing home, and a
separate rating for each of the following three sources of information:
- Health Inspections – The health inspection rating
contains information from the last 3 years of onsite inspections, including
both standard surveys and any complaint surveys. This information is
gathered by trained, objective inspectors who go onsite to the nursing home and
follow a specific process to determine the extent to which a nursing home has
met Medicaid and Medicare’s minimum quality requirements. The most recent
survey findings are weighted more than the prior two years. More than
180,000 onsite reviews are used in the health inspection scoring nationally.
- Staffing – The staffing rating has information
about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day
by nursing staff. This rating considers differences in the levels of
residents' care need in each nursing home. For example, a nursing home
with residents who had more severe needs would be expected to have more nursing
staff than a nursing home where the resident needs were not as high.
Measures (QMs) – The quality
measure rating has information on 11 different physical and clinical measures
for nursing home residents. The rating now includes information about
nursing homes' use of antipsychotic medications in both long-stay and
short-stay residents. This information is collected by the nursing home
for all residents. The QMs offer information about how well nursing homes
are caring for their residents’ physical and clinical needs. More than 12
million assessments of the conditions of nursing home residents are used in the
Five-Star rating system.
CMS is adamant in cautioning that all ratings, whether good or
bad, are just a starting point in choosing a nursing home and nothing
takes the place of in-depth visits. You can ask questions, observe residents
and their families and caregivers, and get a feel of a home that stars can't
Christine Dow, RN, CDONA, LTC Manager credits her hard working
staff and all they have done to create a culture change at the facility over
the last few years since she became manager in 2012.
“We have worked hard to create a resident-centered quality culture.
This is the resident’s home and we are invited into their home to assist them
in their retirement years.”
With the resident at the center of all they do, CFVH has
enhanced the facility in a number of ways to make it more home-like for
residents. New paint and décor have helped a lot with the feel but other small
changes with the resident in mind have made a big impact.
For instance, beautiful custom dining tables were purchased with
the help of the CFVH Foundation so that residents with wheel chairs could be
more comfortable eating their meals. The tables were made with wheel chairs in
mind so the chairs didn’t run into them but rather, under them.
“Another great addition to resident living at CFVH includes an
outdoor garden area with raised garden beds so they can be accessed and worked
in easily during the summer months. There are a number of avid gardeners who
were interested in maintaining a garden just as they had done at their previous
homes, so it was important to us to make this possible for them,” says Dow.
“It’s all the little things that we do that really help to increase quality of
life for our residents.”
Special attention and effort has also been made in the area of
activities so that residents can enjoy various activities seven days a week,
some of which include evening activities and an exercise group that visits the
hospital’s Rehab department a few times a week to exercise.
“We are always striving to increase quality care and quality of
life for our residents. Activities daily are one way to keep them active,
engaged and excited about living,” Dow says. “This is often a selling point for
residents and their families who want their loved ones to stay busy,
entertained and have purpose.”
Information provided from www.cms.gov