Poor nursing home care is a widespread problem according to a new survey conducted by Consumer Reports. In their report, they list what they've deemed, the highest and lowest ranked nursing homes in the country. Six East Texas nursing homes made the list... 4 labeled as 'better quality' homes and 2 as 'poor quality.' We spoke with local administrators whose homes were ranked on both ends of that spectrum.
"When we come out on a list like that I want to urge people to look at the facility not just a piece of paper because we are humans actually taking care of other human beings," says LeeAnn Parks a Regional Nurse Consultant with Senior Living Properties.
Parks is the regional consultant who oversees Country Inn Healthcare Center in Van. Consumer reports gave the nursing home a poor performance ranking.
According to consumer reports, nursing homes who were on the poor performing list that's because they ranked in the lowest 10 percent on 2 of 3 areas which include staffing, state inspections and quality indicators.
Country Inn is a for profit, small nursing home. It's a home to 41 residents.
"You always strive to do better and we will strive for perfection and try to do the absolute best we can. And any areas of concern that we find we will take steps at that time to fix it and move on for there," says Parks.
Parks says a new company took over the home back in February.
"I do believe the care has improved of what I have seen," says Parks.
About 40 miles south from Van, there's a non-profit nursing home that received a 'better quality' ranking.
"I was very excited about it and was not aware of it until I received the call," says Sue Burford, Administrator with Oakbrook Health Care Center.
Burford is the administrator with Oakbrook Care Center in Whitehouse.
"Over the past couple of years we have taken a new approach called the culture change. We really try to make this the residents home and not so much a business. We have a lot of interaction with the residents and their families and input on what makes them happ," says Burford.
Consumer Reports also found non-profit nursing homes ranked better than for profit... No surprise to Burford.
"The difference is we are not so focused on the bottom line although that is important for any type of facility that you work at but we are not so focused on that so that gives us more time to worry about true patient care and not the bottom line," says Burford.
Burford also contributes their 'better quality' ranking to their long time employees.
In all, there were 4 'better quality' ranking nursing homes in East Texas: Oakbrook Health Care Center in Whitehouse, Henderson Memorial Hospital, Paris Skilled Nursing Facility, and Woodland Heights in Lufkin.
The 'poor quality' ranking nursing homes were Country Inn Health Care Center in Van and Terrell Manor in Terrell.
Consumer Reports also offers some tips on choosing a nursing home. At the top of the list, checking the ownership of the home. They also suggest making unannounced visits and they warn against depending on government websites that rank homes..like medicare.gov. Instead, you might want to ask to see the nursing homes' state inspection survey.