Friday, August 11, 2006

Group: Fairfield Home Among Top 10 Percent in USA

Group: Fairfield Home Among Top 10 Percent in USA
By Andrea E. Garcia

FAIRFIELD - A Fairfield nursing home is ranked among the top 10 percent by a consumer group.

The Laurel Creek Health Center, an independent nonprofit located in Paradise Valley Estates, achieved that distinction in a report by the Consumer Union published this week in Consumer Reports.

More than 16,000 nursing homes were studied across the United States by Consumer Reports, revealing the best and worst facilities in the country.

"We have a policy of maintaining the highest quality of care within our community, but it really goes back to the staff and their diligence of performing their duties," said Ron Ridley, executive director of Paradise Valley Estates.

The report, based on an analysis of the three most recent state inspection reports along with three key quality indicators, also identified that other factors play a role in quality care.

Their findings show that nonprofit and independently run homes are more likely to provide good care versus for-profits and chains. Laurel Creek Health Center is nonprofit and run independently.

Conversely, the report also concluded there has been very little change since the passage of a federal law two decades ago to clean up the nation's homes. In the Consumer Union's analysis, which began in 2000, poor care persists nationwide mainly in small-town, for-profit homes.

"One of the problems that confines the care or the limits of care is the reimbursement level, particularly by the state with their medical program," Ridley said. "The rate is so low that they can't afford to pay the salaries and have adequate staffing to provide the quality of care we do.

Ridley also said that the health center has competitive rates.

Currently, nursing homes need to have 3.2 nursing aides/nurses per day per resident. According to Ridley, Laurel Creek Health Center has 5 nursing aides/nurses per day per resident for direct patient care, which is close to double the required amount.

Another way Laurel Creek Health Center provides care is to have students from the nursing programs at Solano Community College in Rockville and Touro University in Vallejo visit the facility at least four times a week.

The report listed 45 homes in California on the "consider" list based on their good performance. Meanwhile, 26 facilities were listed statewide as homes to avoid, none in Solano County.

The analysis looked at the number of more serious deficiencies cited such as those given for substandard quality of care; patients in immediate jeopardy; hours of nursing care per patient per day; and incidences of bedsores or urinary tract infections.

For a listing of nursing homes to consider or avoid, visit their Web site at

Reach Andrea E. Garcia at 427-6953 or

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