Nursing home ranking system helps facilities, family members tra - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Nursing home ranking system helps facilities, family members track quality service

The “five star” ranking was originally set up as a tool for the facilities to keep up with how well they're doing. (Source: Katrina Helmer). The “five star” ranking was originally set up as a tool for the facilities to keep up with how well they're doing. (Source: Katrina Helmer).

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Nursing homes in the Palmetto state were recently ranked on a five-star scale according to reports by DHEC.

Finding the right nursing home to take care of a loved one can be stressful and expensive. According to the recent rankings, there are some nursing homes in the Grand Strand that are not up to par.

Based on a search on Medicare.gov for nursing homes within 50 miles of Myrtle Beach, four nursing homes have below-average ratings. Those centers are the Retreat at Brightwater, Agape Senior, Georgetown Healthcare and Rehab, and Marion Nursing Center. Agape Senior also received a poor rating three years ago. Calls were put in to all four. Brightwater and Agape did not call back. A human resources leader at Georgetown Healthcare said they have no comment. And the number listed on the government site for Marion Nursing was disconnected.

This five-star ranking was originally set up as a tool for nursing homes and rehab facilities to gauge how well they're doing and how to improve. And it's also a helpful tool for prospective residents and family members. The rankings look at the last three years of DHEC surveys. Those surveys include staffing, quality measures, resident complaints, resident health, fire hazards, and much more.

When trying to avoid an unsafe facility, the biggest piece of advice from a local nursing home expert is to not just rely on that ranking.

“Anybody out there who is looking for a place for their loved one, you can go by that five star ranking to a certain extent,” warns Paula Jenner, the director of nursing for Grand Strand Healthcare Center. “But make sure you go to the facility, make sure you go, you can go at off times. Just make sure they should be welcoming of you no matter what time you walk into the building.”

Click here to see how nursing homes in your area rank.

Grand Strand Healthcare Center ranks as a five star nursing home according to DHEC reports. The motto for their nursing home is if they have happy residents and happy family members, they're doing something right. Which is something to consider when shopping around for care.

The latest rankings give facilities, a numerical grade on everything from the food being served, to the activities available, to the overall care for patients. And these are all things that are easy to overlook, but are very important to ask about. According to the director of nursing at Grand Strand, things they did well on this year included staffing and healthcare surveys. DHEC looks for a certain number of RN hours with a patient each day as part of this ranking. Grand Strand has staffing above state minimum because administrators believe the more people they have on the floor, the better care and attention your loved one will get.

“Communication with the facility your loved one is in, is key,” says Jenner. “Don't be afraid to ask questions, don't be afraid to come to us. You know your resident much better than we do. We're just getting to learn about them."

The director of nursing here says whenever they have a problem or an issue is reported to them from a patient or family member, they immediately work to fix it. If you don't see that immediacy in a nursing home you're considering, then that should be a red flag to you.

According to the rankings, an area for improvement for Grand Strand is "quality measures". This covers things that affect a patient's quality of life and could be avoided. Nearly every nursing home on the ratings list could see improvement in this category.

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