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Nursing homes earn high family satisfaction ratings

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February 16, 2011

By Eileen Connelly, OSU

ARCHDIOCESE — Terry Brennan couldn’t be more pleased with the care his mother, Madlyn, has received during the three and half years she has lived at St. Paul’s Archbishop Leibold Home for the Aged, operated by the Little Sisters of the Poor. Located in Clifton, the facility offers a continuum of care to nearly 100 men and women in a home-like setting.

“It truly is a home,” said Brennan. “The Sisters do a wonderful job no matter what physical or mental circumstances the resident is in.”

Ruth Graf, a resident of St. Paul’s Archbishop Leibold Home for the Aged, spends time with her daughter. Donna Long. (CT photo/E.L. Hubbard)

It’s opinions like Brennan’s that led to a high rating for the home, along with the Mount Notre Dame Health Center in Reading, in the 2010 Nursing Home Family Satisfaction Survey, released by the Ohio Department of Aging last month. According to the results of the survey, family members of Ohioans who live in nursing homes are generally satisfied with the care their loved ones receive. The statewide average satisfaction score for families was 87.93 (out of possible one 100. Twenty-five facilities, including the Archbishop Leibold Home and Mount Notre Dame Health Center, scored 95.7 or better.

Little Sister of the Poor Francis Gabriel King, director of nursing at the Archbishop Leibold Home, says the high rating “goes back to our mission to care for the elderly with great respect and dignity. This enhances their quality of life. We only have 11 Sisters here, but are assisted by a large lay staff that shares the message of St. Jeanne Jugan (the order’s foundress). Our residents are here to live out their lives in peace and joy. The quality of medical care is important, but it’s more about the care of the person. The most important thing to remember is their individuality and who they are before God.”

That same philosophy exists at the Mount Notre Dame Health Center, which is owned and operated by the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and licensed for members of religious congregations only. It is currently home to 75 members of the congregation, along with several Sisters of St. Joseph and Ursuline Sisters. Members of the leadership teams of each religious community completed the surveys, in addition to family members of the Sisters, if available.

Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Donna Wisowaty, health center administrator, attributes the high ratings to a number of factors, including dedicated, well-trained personnel, good physician involvement and attentiveness to the individual needs of the Sisters.

“Our staff members really care about the Sister,” she said “Many of them had them as teachers. This is more than just a job for them. If a Sister has a concern, they’ll address it quickly. Everyone is committed to the quality of life and quality of care of the Sisters.”

The residents of the health center are grateful for that care. “I like everything about being here,” said Sister of Notre Dame de Namur Imelda Laub, who has lived at the center since 2001. “Our nurses our so efficient and caring and the aides are very helpful too.”

Sister Joyce Shaub is a newer resident of the center, having moved there last year from Baltimore after the congregation’s Maryland province merged with the Ohio province. As part of the merger a number of the most frail and elderly Sisters from Maryland were welcomed at the Mount Notre Dame Health Center.

“I couldn’t be happier here and am so glad I came,” Sister Joyce said. “I can’t speak highly enough about how gracious and welcoming everyone has been. I really like all the activities and the freedom we have to participate or not. The administration really tries to help us stay independent as long as possible and recognizes how important that is to a person’s self-worth and dignity.”

The Scripps Gerontology Center of Miami University on behalf of the Ohio Department of Aging conducted the family satisfaction survey between June and December of 2010. Nearly 30,000 families members and 931 facilities participated. The survey asked family members or other representatives their opinions on activities, administration, direct care and nursing, laundry, meals and dining, social services, therapy and general satisfaction. Researchers identified two key questions that summed up respondent’s perception of the home: “Overall, do you like this facility?” and “Would you recommend this facility to a family member or friend?”

The most recent family satisfaction data complements 2009 resident satisfaction survey results. The department plans to survey residents again later this year.
For nursing home administrators the results are “a confirmation of our mission,” said Sister Francis. “I’m happy that family members are pleased with the care we’re giving their loved ones. The results help us set the direction for continuing to give them quality care.”

Eileen Connelly, OSU can be reached at: econnelly@catholiccincinnati.org.

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