Of the five nursing homes in the county, three received an above-average rating. Another was rated as average, and one was deemed below average.
Carrollton Manor, on Oak Grove Church Road, the Oaks of Carrollton, on Old Newnan Road, and the subacute-care unit at Tanner Medical Center in Carrollton, all received four out of an optimal five stars. Pine Knoll Nursing Facility and Rehabilitation Center, on Pine Knoll Drive in Carrollton, earned a three-star qualification. Carrollton Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located on U.S. Highway 27, received only two stars.
The scores were based on a three-tiered system, which collectively examined the findings of the three most recent health inspections, the staffing of each facility and the quality measures taken to ensure that residents receive adequate treatment.
According to the HHS Web site, “Nursing homes vary in the quality of care and services they provide to their residents. Reviewing health inspection results, staffing data, and quality measure data are three important ways to measure nursing home quality. This information gives you a ‘snap shot’ of the care individual nursing homes give.”
Each of the local institutions scored best on the annual inspections, with Carrollton Manor and the center at Tanner coming in at the highest level. These scores were based on the findings of health inspectors as well as each center’s response to any citations received. At any given time, certified nursing homes must meet over 180 regulatory health standards designed to protect residents. These cover a wide range of fields and procedures such as proper management of medications, protecting residents from staff abuses and inadequate care and the proper preparation of food.
Should a nursing home not respond accordingly to any citation, Medicare may impose a fine or revoke its contract with that particular institution.
In terms of inspections, the two lowest scores in the county came from Pine Knoll and Carrollton Nursing and Rehab, though both locations did receive three stars, which is considered an average score.
The category in which most of the local homes struggled to meet even average standards was that which measured adequacy of on-site staffing. As prescribed by law, each facility must provide patients with a minimum of two and a half hours of nursing care on a daily basis. On top of that, the nursing home must have at least one registered nurse for at least eight straight hours a day, seven days a week, and either a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse on duty 24 hours per day.
Most anything outside of that is at the discretion of each facility.
The HHS took the number of certified nurses on staff during a two-week period, as self reported by the institution, and then divided that by the number of residents during that time to determine how well each facility maintained trained personnel.
On the local level, most homes failed miserably.
Carrollton Manor, The Oaks at Carrollton and Carrollton Nursing and Rehab each scored well below average at only one star. Pine Knoll fared little better, earning two stars.
The sole bright spot in the area in regards to nurse staffing came from Tanner, which received four stars.
The category of quality measures taken by each facility drew mixed scores. The issues which are addressed under such a heading are varied, ranging from whether “residents are clean, appropriately dressed for the season or time of day and well-groomed” to whether “nutritious snacks are available upon request.”
The Oaks met all the requirements and consequently received the top score. Others, like Carrollton Nursing and Rehab and Pine Knoll, only earned two stars, and, as the only blemish on Tanner’s rating, the hospital scored one star in this category.
Because none of the scoring breakdowns address the details behind the findings, it is difficult to pinpoint what specific areas directly influenced the scores. As a result, few of the county facilities would discuss the findings.
Those that did were hesitant to put too much stock in what they considered an oversimplified system examining an industry ripe with complexities.
“I definitely think it oversimplifies things. People need to see nursing homes firsthand. I don’t think it’s something that you pull up on a Web site,” said Melissa Murphy, administrator of Pine Knoll. “It’s a brand-new system with us. We’re still trying to figure it out.”
Ratings for any certified nursing home in the United States can be viewed at http://www.medicare.gov/NHCompare.