Windemere scores big in state survey
Martha's Vineyard Hospital's Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has earned high scores in a statewide nursing home satisfaction survey conducted by the state Department of Public Health (DPH).
The DPH survey, dated June 2007 and released earlier this month, finds that when measuring overall satisfaction, the Island's only nursing home scored better than the majority of nursing homes across the state.
The 2007 DPH survey tested 439 facilities. By law, all licensed nursing homes had to participate in the survey.
In 2005, the DPH conducted a similar survey, but participation was not mandatory.
The nursing and rehab facility, owned by Martha's Vineyard Hospital, ranked 36 among the 297 nursing homes that agreed to participate in the 2005 survey, the first of its kind, and numbered 3 out of 17 nursing homes on the Cape and Islands.
The Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Photo by Susan Safford
The 2007 survey asked a total of 54 questions. The survey results are based on a scale of 1-5, with 1 = very dissatisfied; 2 = dissatisfied; 3 = neither satisfied nor dissatisfied; 4 = satisfied; and 5 = very satisfied.
(A copy of the survey results is available here)
According to the survey report, Windemere has an overall satisfaction score of 4.57 out of 5. The term overall satisfaction refers to the question, "Overall, how satisfied are you with this nursing home?"
In 2007, the statewide average score for overall satisfaction was 4.19.
Other highlights of the report show that Windemere had a score of 4.35 for meeting residents' needs. The statewide average was 4.06.
In 2007, 90 percent of all respondents indicated they would recommend their respective facility to a friend or family member. For Windemere, 96 percent said they would recommend the facility.
Tim Walsh, Martha's Vineyard Hospital chief executive officer, said he was very happy with the results. "This is pretty good stuff," said Mr. Walsh. "And it verifies what we have always thought about Windemere."
Windemere administrator Ken Chisholm was equally pleased. "This is a tremendous accomplishment," aid Mr. Chisholm. "It makes me proud of all our employees and reflects the fine work they do each and every day."
Mr. Chisholm said that based on an analysis of the report, Windemere performed equal to or better than 89 percent of all the nursing homes included in the survey.
The 2007 survey was divided into eight separate categories or domains, each with a series of questions. Statistically Windemere scored higher than the state average in all categories, which included overall satisfaction (4.57); administrative and personal care staff (4.32); physical environment (4.31); activities (3.97); personal care services (4.31); food and meals (4.21); and resident personal rights (4.33).
Windemere scored lowest (3.97) in the category of activities. Nursing homes in the south region of the state scored 3.88. Only those nursing homes with 60 beds or fewer scored higher at 3.98.
Among its peer groups and overall, Windemere got high marks for food and meals.
Of the 54 questions asked, 37 scored a 4 or above. The lowest score, a 3.46 came in answer to the question of satisfaction that there are enough outdoor activities. The statewide score was 3.39.
Mr. Walsh gave credit to Windemere administrator Ken Chisholm and the staff for scoring high marks. He said that the costs associated with operating a nursing home anywhere in the state, but especially on the Island, are daunting.
Windemere ended 2005 with a $3,958 profit. When combined with gifts, the nursing home had a total gain of $57,821. That was a drop from 2004 when Windemere ended the year with its first-ever profit for a total gain of $149,881.
Windemere did not do as well in 2006. The costs associated with the replacement of a rooftop air conditioning unit and bringing in temporary skilled help put the nursing home into the red. The facility ended 2006 with a loss of $92,868 that was reduced with gifts and other income to $13,834.
"It is a difficult climate for nursing homes," said Mr. Walsh. "What is amazing to me is that they can hold the finances together and still be on top when it comes to patient satisfaction."
Cost-cutting, higher state reimbursements, and an emphasis on providing rehabilitation services contributed to the relative financial health of the once troubled institution.
In 1994, its first year of operation, Windemere lost $1.8 million and in 1996 filed for court protection under chapter 7 of the federal bankruptcy code. Windemere emerged from bankruptcy two years later but continued to struggle financially. After a period of huge losses, hospital officials under the leadership of Mr. Walsh, former chief operating officer, managed to staunch the flow of red ink to an acceptable level.
In the 2003 fiscal year, Windemere lost approximately $200,000. The Island's nursing home ended 2004 with its first-ever gain.
The survey also includes copies of verbatim comments included along with the responses. The names and family relationships are omitted to protect the privacy of the respondents.
A consistent theme runs through all of the comments: the staff treats residents like family.
"Windemere is absolutely terrific in the professionalism of its staff, the quality of care... and responsiveness to family inquiries and communication and update responsibilities," said one commenter.
"I am really impressed by the staff, especially the RN's and CNA's. I would not want my [omitted] anywhere else," wrote another.
Another comment read, "My [omitted] has always been treated with respect.... The staff is always attentive and caring."
"I am very happy with the care Windemere gives to my [omitted]," wrote another. "The atmosphere is cheerful and caring and homelike. He seems very content there. Being attached to the hospital is a big plus and so is the medical care he receives." wrote another.
"We are very fortunate to have Windemere Nursing and Rehab on Martha's Vineyard. I cannot praise the staff enough. It is very comforting to know how much they care about my [omitted]," commented one person.
But other reviews were mixed.
"The staff has been exceptional in their many kindnesses and caring for my [omitted]. I have no complaint whatsoever regarding their approach to care. There does seem to be fewer weekend staff and as a result less activities," one comment read.
Another comment said, "There have been several times when patient has rung bell and it somehow gets turned off with no response from staff. Bell rung at night (late night shift) sometimes is answered very slowly."