Nursing home granted 5-star rating

MIDDLEBURY— Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center has achieved its first-ever 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). This is the highest CMSlevel of rating for quality of care, staffing and results from health department inspections. Inaddition to notifying the facility, CMS publishes the data on its Nursing Home Compare websitewhere it is available to the public.
On this website, CMS explains the rating system and why it is important for consumers. “Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide totheir residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data arethree important ways to measure nursing home quality,” says the site.
According to CMS, the Nursing Home Compare rating system “allows consumers to compareinformation about nursing homes. It contains quality-of-care and staffing information for all 15,000plus Medicare- and Medicaid-participating nursing homes and includes data which reflects nursinghome specific performance on on-site health department inspections, staffing ratios and severalquality of resident care measures.”
The data is provided to CMS by individual nursing homes on an ongoing basis using a form called theMinimum Data Set. The information collected includes the residents’ health, physical functioning,mental status, general well-being and quality of care information, such as whether residents have gottentheir flu shots, are in pain or are losing weight.In terms of staffing, federal law requires all nursing homes to provide enough staff to adequatelycare for residents. However, there’s no current federal standard for the best nursing home staffinglevels, according to the CMS site.
“Nursing homes must have at least one RN for at least 8 straight hoursa day, 7 days a week, and either an RN or LPN/LVN on duty 24 hours per day. Certain states may haveadditional staffing requirements. LNAs provide care to nursing home residents 24 hours per day, 7 daysa week. The amount of physical therapy service hours depends on the needs of the resident,” says the site.
Helen Porter Administrator Jim Darragh shared the 5-star rating news with the entire Porter Medical Centercommunity earlier this week in an email. “This accomplishment reflects the outstanding work youall do each and every day to provide a quality home for our residents and short-stay patients. I amproud to work with such caring and compassionate people who are truly dedicated to thisimportant segment of healthcare and the elderly population we serve,” he wrote. “I’m particularly impressedwith the improvement in our health inspection score, which directly reflects our adherence to bothfederal and state regulation regarding all aspects of our nursing home operations and all areas anddepartments.”
According to Darragh, ratings such as this are important, but it also isimportant for people to come and visit any long-term care facility, meet the staff and view thephysical features of the nursing home before making a final decision. “At Helen Porter, we are sofortunate to have incredible activities programming, short-term rehabilitation services, special end-of-life rooms and programs and a beautiful courtyard for our residents,” he said.
In concluding his message to the staff, Darragh added: “This achievement reflects the continuedhard work and focus in the area of clinical care and other outcomes such as frequency of re-hospitalizations, successful discharges home, percentage of residents who receive both influenzaand pneumococcal vaccines, just to name a few. Please accept my most sincere appreciation andthanks for all that you do to make this a quality place to live and a true community asset thatcontributes significantly to the PMC mission: to improve the health of our community, one personat a time.” 

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