Quality improves from 2-star rating in less than two years
The Delaware Veterans Home, the first and only long term care facility in Delaware dedicated solely to veterans, was recently awarded the highest rating of five stars by the federal government for the overall care it provides to its residents. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created its Five-Star Quality Rating System to help consumers, their families, and caregivers compare nursing homes more easily.
In 2008, the Delaware Veterans Home received a below average assessment of two stars from CMS for two surveys which revealed several major deficiencies and incidents of substandard care. These incidents signaled a need for all aspects of the Veterans Home’s operation to be scrutinized.
After making major management, staff, and policy changes, the Veterans Home’s ratings improved steadily, eventually resulting in the five-star rating this year.
In 2009, Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock hired Bill Peterson to take over the reins at the Veterans Home as its new director with the expectation that the facility was capable of meeting the highest standards. Peterson has decades of experience in long-term care, both in the public and private sector, and was able to fill senior staff vacancies with other experienced individuals who shared the Markell administration’s vision for the Veterans Home. They motivated an already committed staff to seek improvement wherever possible.
“Bill Peterson and his team have done a great job in improving the quality of care being provided at the Delaware Veterans Home.” said Governor Markell. “To move from a two-star to a five-star rating so quickly demonstrates how far they have come in a short period of time. Delaware taxpayers have invested a lot over the years to build and operate this facility, and our veterans who live there deserve the best care possible. Now they are getting the superior care we all wanted for them.”
The CMS system gives each nursing home a rating of between one and five stars. Nursing homes with five stars are considered to have much above average quality, and nursing homes with one star are considered to have quality much below average. There is one overall five-star rating for each nursing home, and a separate rating for each of the following three sources of information: health inspections, staffing, and quality measures.
“The significant improvement we have seen in quality of care at the Home demonstrates what a difference an experienced and cohesive management team can make,” said Secretary Bullock. “Bill Peterson and his staff are doing an excellent job, and the staff at the Home continues to improve. I am truly impressed by the dedication and compassion they display on a daily basis. While our progress is impressive, I continue to press for further improvements in not only the care the residents receive, but the quality of their living environment. There are always opportunities to make things better, and no one is more deserving of the best quality care than those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy.”
The Delaware Veterans Home opened to residents in June 2007 and currently serves approximately 120 veterans in both skilled nursing and dementia care environments. Over the next year and a half, 30 more beds will be made available in a currently unused wing thanks to an allocation of resources by the General Assembly and Governor Markell this year. The funds will mainly pay for new personnel to serve the 30 additional residents.