The New Community Extended Care Facility in Newark has earned a four-star rating on a nationwide survey of nursing homes, with staffing levels at the center also rated “above average.”
In the most recent Medicare.gov Nursing Home Compare report, New Community’s 180-bed nursing home and rehabilitation center earned even higher—a five-star rating—the highest possible, in the category of “quality measures,” which looks at how well the residents of a facility are being cared for when it comes to their physical and clinical needs.
“What this rating means is that we are giving our residents the highest quality care possible, which is demonstrated by their physical and overall well-being,” said Monsignor William J. Linder, New Community’s founder and board chairman, who opened the facility back in 1986.
Overall as a nursing home facility, Extended Care received a four-star rating in this latest survey. In the category of staffing, New Community also earned a rating of four stars, indicating that the staffing level at Extended Care is head and shoulders above what the average nursing home is offering. As a state, New Jersey was recently ranked 15th overall in nursing home care in another survey, with the state receiving an overall grade of “B.”
The news of Extended Care’s ratings did not surprise Johnnie Patterson, 60, a resident for the last 10 months. Patterson was admitted to the South Orange Avenue facility following a heart attack and bypass surgery, saying the ordeal left him “on my back for a couple of months.” But with the rehabilitation and medical care he has received at Extended Care, Patterson says he has made a “complete turnaround” and is looking forward to being released soon.
“I was in really bad shape,” he said. “They pay more attention to the patients here, making sure they have what they need and are comfortable and being cared for adequately. My progress has been good. I look much better and feel much better.”
How a facility is rated on the Nursing Home Compare report is important because families often use this when deciding on where to place their loved one, according to Veronica Onwunaka, Director of Nursing at Extended Care. She said the fact that Extended Care’s staffing was rated “above average” and on quality measures “much above average” is extremely important because it speaks to the level of attention residents receive and how their medical needs are being met.
“Those are really the two basic things families are interested in,” Onwunaka said. “It can make or break a facility and here at Extended Care, we are proud of our caring, compassionate staff and the fact that they are delivering quality medical care to our residents, whom we consider and treat like members of our family.”
Admissions Director Rhonda Nobles agreed and said what also sets NCC’s nursing home apart from others is that “we pride ourselves more so on the home-like and community-inspired atmosphere created to comfort our residents during their stay.” And that includes the food, which includes a variety of dishes that were requested by the residents.
The physical appearance of a facility is also key, which is why Extended Care is in the midst of a major renovation that has already transformed areas like the lobby so that it looks more like the reception area of a luxury hotel. Other common areas of the facility are also being renovated and plans call for all patient rooms to eventually undergo a makeover.
When patients check into Extended Care, a multidisciplinary team of professionals stands ready to serve them. The team is led by the medical director, who is a physician specializing in the care of the elderly. The staff also includes an assistant medical director, assistant director of nursing, social worker and chaplain.