Ivan Natividad

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April 10, 2014
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U.S. World & News Report: Golden Empire one of 2014 best nursing homes

Golden Empire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center was named one of the nation’s best nursing homes of 2014 by U.S. News and World Report.

Located on the 100 block of Dorsey Drive in Grass Valley, the center has helped provide nursing and rehabilitative care to the county’s geriatric population for more than 35 years.

“We’ve always been a good and huge presence in the community,” the center’s Administrator, Vicki Young, told The Union. “More than half of my employees have been here for five, 10, 20 years, so we don’t have huge turnover, which sets us apart from other places.”

The center has more than 200 staff members, with close to 150 residents, and provides a wide variety of care for residents that need rehabilitation services for their return home, or long-term residents who can’t live at home any longer and need a skilled level of care.

Golden Empire also has a secured Alzheimer’s Unit that offers specialized care and activities to residents with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

“We have a great facility and dietary department,” Young said. “We’re good. What can I say? We’re good.”

According to U.S. News and World Report, roughly 1.4 million people in the country, including one in every 34 individuals over the age of 65, live in a nursing home. To help families find a sufficient facility for their family and friends, the publication compiles information for nearly 16,000 facilities across the country. Each center receives an overall rating of one to five stars.

Three main factors are taken into account: health inspections, nursing staff and quality measures.

Golden Empire received an overall five star rating from U.S. News and World Report, and is one of more than 3,500 centers in the nation that were given that distinction, along with a profile badge that recognizes this status.

The data used to give these ratings came from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in January 2014. These ratings indicate how well a home has complied with standards for health-related activities during state inspections conducted approximately every 15 months.

“We had a four-star rating three years ago, but we’ve had a five star the past two years,” Young said. “We go by the rules, we strive to be the best and we all work really hard at it.”

In their state-conducted health inspection, Golden Empire was reported to have two health deficiencies, the state average being nine, and the national average coming out to six.

The inspection also found that Golden Empire nurses spent an average of three hours and 53 minutes with each resident in their home.

Assistant Staff Developer, Pat Ivey, often works with the nurses at Golden Empire and says they are all very caring for their residents.

“I think we have really great staff. It’s a profession that if your in it for the money you’re in the wrong profession,” Ivey said. “They really care and have compassion for all of our residents. The number one concern for our employees is the happiness and well-being of our residents.”

The third and final criteria in ranking the homes is the quality measure of care residents are receiving. Nursing homes are required to provide clinical data detailing the status of each individual Medicare and Medicaid resident.

The percentage of residents who got recommended care, such as flu vaccinations, and percentages of residents who had pain, bedsores, urinary tract infections, and other care-related problems, are tallied up to provide the quality measure ranking.

Golden Empire home reported that 100 percent of their long-stay residents were assessed and given, appropriately, the pneumococcal and seasonal influenza vaccines.

The state and national averages were 95 percent of residents.

“We get attached to our residents and we get attached to their families, so we make sure they have everything they need,” Ivey said.

“They feel very comfortable here and they feel like they are part of our family too.”

More than providing medical care, Golden Empire Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has embraced the concept of resident-centered care, giving their clients a home-like environment with plants, patios, animals and community events.

Joe McIntosh’s wife is a resident at the Golden Empire home, and he says the facility has a wide range of activities for everyone to participate in.

“Every year they have a dance here, a prom type of thing, they dress the residents up in formal type gowns and fix their hair and put makeup on, and they have food and dancing,” McIntosh told The Union. “So they have a lot of activities you can do here.”

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email inatividad@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

A previous version of this story had the wrong picture depicting administrator, Vicki Young.

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The Union Updated Apr 14, 2014 11:51AM Published Apr 10, 2014 01:14AM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.