The new CEO and vice president of the company that recently took over a healthcare facility in Queensbury have an interesting dilemma regarding their method of operating and caring for the residents. It seems that the facility was downgraded from four stars to one star last month, and the reason being given is that the residents are now receiving the care they needed, but was ignored by the previous owners.
The two company heads explained that the old facility would not accept residents with more complex health issues, like tracheotomies, severe bed sores, and a myriad of other more serious issues requiring more intense care and also more staff. Under the new ownership, new residents are sicker, but they are not turned away and they are getting better because of the better care they receive.
Another reason the two officials believe care is improving is that the company has very strict policies and procedures—they described it as a “by-the-book” approach that equips and trains employees to be able to provide a higher standard of care. They assert that their employees are able to respond to a broad range of illnesses, help residents manage their pain and depression, and they are trained to observe, measure and treat residents with bedsores. The officials in a meeting with The Post-Star editorial board said they have uncovered numerous problems with many of the longtime residents. These problems had not been noticed and treated before.
Explaining further, the officials reported a lack of screenings for depression, pain and other issues. How this lack of screening affects the rating is that when a facility reports that they have a resident who is in pain, it hurts the facility’s rating. Yet, on the flip side, when illnesses are resolved, the ratings improve.
The two facility officials said that most of the time when they take over a facility, there is an initial increase in the number of residents experiencing depression. However, they were quick to add that their residents were not more depressed; but rather, it means they are being treated.
Although the new CEO asserted that the nursing home’s ratings would improve as they implement their effective care approach, it should be noted that this company owns many facilities in the area. Some of these area facilities have been owned for three or more years and all currently have one star ratings.
This company has a history of receiving poor inspections, some of which were considered dangerous to the health and safety of the residents. A recent inspection at this newly acquired facility involved insufficient staffing and the serving of food.
The two officials were adamant that there were no problems with staffing. They report that they have from six to eight CNAs on the day and evening shifts and four CNAs at night.
The Director of Nursing does admit that at times it is difficult to have sufficient staff, and she said that the company is working to make it easier for new staff to relocate and work at the facility. She explained that the company frequently purchases a house that new employees can share, and sometimes the company houses new employees in a hotel. In both cases, the company does not charge for this housing and the new employees usually will live there for three to six months.