U.S. News & World Report Names Rolling Green Village Among Best in South Carolina

GREENVILLE, SC—Rolling Green Village has been recognized as a best nursing home for its short-term rehabilitation for 2022-2023 by U.S. News & World Report.

The annual best nursing homes rating, now in its 13th year, assists prospective residents and their families in making informed decisions—in consultation with their medical professionals—about where to receive short-term or long-term nursing home care. Only 16% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities earned the best nursing home designation this year.

Rolling Green Village’s short-term rehabilitation received a high-performing rating, with more than 66% of residents able to return home after being discharged. This rating is over 12% higher than the average of other communities in South Carolina. The community also reports lower fall and major injury rates, compared to other communities in the state.

“Our team is truly honored to receive this distinction,” said Bob Benson, executive director of Rolling Green Village. “We have watched one another put in long hours, especially during the pandemic. It is truly wonderful to see this hard work pay off, both in the smiling faces of our residents and through this industry accolade.”

U.S. News & World Report Names Acacia Health Center One of the Best Short-Term Rehabilitation and Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care Communities

PHOENIX, AZ—Acacia Health Center, the on-site health center for Sagewood Senior Living, was recently recognized as one of the best nursing homes for both short-term rehabilitation and long-term care in the 2022-2023 U.S. News & World Report.

The annual best nursing homes rating assists prospective residents and their families in making informed decisions—in consultation with their medical professionals—about where to receive short-term or long-term care. Only 16% of U.S. skilled nursing facilities earned the best nursing homes designation this year.

“We pride ourselves on Acacia’s top-of-the-line care, outstanding staff and comprehensive services,” said Natalie Miko, Acacia Health Center administrator. “It is an honor to be nationally recognized as one of the best care facilities in the nation. At the end of the day, it is about making sure our residents are well cared for, and I am proud to say we go above and beyond.”

For 2022-2023, U.S. News rated more than 15,000 nursing homes on care, safety, infection rates, staffing and health inspections. For the first time, the best nursing homes rating featured new measures on weekend staffing and infection rates that led to hospitalizations.

“Choosing the right nursing home based on care needs and comfort is a critical decision for prospective residents and their families,” said Zach Adams, health data engineer at U.S. News. “The best nursing homes rating highlights nursing homes that excel in short-term rehabilitation and long-term care needs.”

The best nursing homes methodology factors data such as resident care, safety and outcomes. To calculate the best nursing homes rating, U.S. News evaluated each nursing home’s performance using a variety of data obtained from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Both short- and long-term ratings include data on consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs and success in preventing ER and hospital visits. The short-term rehabilitation rating also includes measures of a home’s success in preventing falls, preventing serious infections and making sure residents are able to return home; the long-term care rating also includes measures of whether a home changed ownership and how well they were staffed on weekends.

Cross-Industry Collaboration Drives National Conversation on Creative Aging

EVANSTON, IL—Three organizations—Mather, an 82-year-old not-for-profit dedicated to creating ways to age well; Georgetown University’s aging and health program; and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, working with its Office of Accessibility and VSA (Very Special Arts)—recently collaborated on a unique cross-industry initiative to answer a critical question: How can innovations in creativity developed in response to the COVID pandemic fight ageism and support healthy longevity? The results have been compiled into a creative aging innovation report, titled The Next Wave in Creative Aging.

Creative aging is a movement that has been gaining momentum for the last 15+ years, initially growing out of a study by the National Endowment for the Arts and National Institute of Mental Health in 2006, which found that older adults who engage with the arts have better outcomes in physical health, mental health and social connection, and that humans are wired to become more creative as they age. The movement has sought to make meaningful creative encounters more available to older adults and look to where arts and culture can be part of the solution to society’s most pressing needs related to aging.

Working together, Mather, Georgetown University’s aging and health program and the Kennedy Center hosted three virtual creative aging innovations forums between January and March 2022, welcoming thought leaders from arts organizations, senior living organizations, academic institutions, philanthropy and government to investigate the challenges and opportunities presented by COVID, particularly as they may impact or inform creative aging.

“Our organizations came together during a time of disruption,” said Caroline Edasis, director of senior living community engagement at Mather. “We saw a chance for creative engagement to transform the systems that support older Americans. Instead of continuing to tackle questions of isolation, access and meaning across the lifespan in silos, these forums allowed us to generate new ideas and use cross-industry collaboration to run with them.”

The group employed an interactive problem solving approach to reveal themes and ideas for the next stage of development. The participant list included an awe-inspiring group of practitioners, researchers and change-makers in aging, the arts, academia and policy, along with older adult artists and residents of Mather senior living communities in Arizona, IL and coming soon to Tysons, VA.

Exploratory questions based on critical issues in supporting the health and well-being of older adults led to the identification of three main themes:

  • Autonomy, mastery and belonging
  • Access and inclusion
  • Redefining care systems through a strengths-based lens

These themes were then developed in small group incubators with diverse representation across senior constituencies, workforce and academic leaders. The outcome became 16 idea abstracts that represent the potential for interdisciplinary problem solving in four areas: research and innovation, systems-level change, infrastructure and spaces and intergenerational lifelong learning. The idea being that other organizations or groups could then take the concepts generated and implement or build on them.

“It is our hope that others will continue the conversation originating from the creative aging innovation forums,” said Pamela Saunders, associate professor and director of the aging and health program at Georgetown University. “We encourage the implementation of the abstracts developed by forum participants that include key elements for their actualization.”

Some of the ideas generated include, Changing Names to Change Minds: New Strength-Based Terminology for Senior Living Communities; Creating Children’s Books Centered On The Adventures Of Older Adults; Intergenerational Activism to Save the Planet; and Rural Arts Creativity Houses (REACH), which will identify creative places and program strategies for asking and answering, ‘What do you (older adults) hope for?’—especially within under-resourced communities—and working to build coalitions to answer these needs and desire to break down isolation and build social engagement.

“Envisioning and cultivating inclusive and accessible arts practices that embrace every human of every age in every community—in other words, to encourage and support creative aging—is vital,” said Betty Siegel, director of accessibility and VSA at the Kennedy Center. “This report makes clear that the techniques and strategies to bring the arts to all persons are within our grasp. What we need now is commitment by those in the field of arts, disability and aging—from the grassroots to the leaders across many sectors—to engage the arts as a viable and critical component of any healthy society.”

The group will continue to meet for periodic updates and future exploration and collaboration going forward. “The process was invigorating, inspiring and full of palpable potential and momentum,” said Edasis. “It makes me optimistic for the future of aging in this country, for what it could mean for older adults to have increased access to creative encounters in their communities and for how we must continue to work in more collaborative ways to bring new ways of living, working and creating to life as we age.”

Record Senior Housing Demand in 2022 Supported Strong Occupancy Rate Gains

The senior housing occupancy rate increased 0.9 percentage points from 82.1% in the third quarter of 2022 to 83.0% in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to data from NIC MAP Vision. The occupancy rate has increased 5.2 percentage points from a pandemic low of 77.8% in the second quarter of 2021.

The senior housing occupancy rate increased for the sixth consecutive quarter due to continued strong demand that outpaced inventory growth. Because new inventory has been added during the pandemic, however, the occupancy rate has not yet reached pre-pandemic levels. On the inventory side, about 3,300 units were added within the 31 NIC MAP Primary Markets during this quarter, while more than 8,600 units were absorbed on a net basis. This robust demand led to a new record high total number of occupied units: Within the NIC MAP Primary Markets, the total number of occupied units exceeded 574,900, surpassing its pre-pandemic first quarter 2020 level by nearly 7,000 units.

“More older adults than ever before are now residents in senior housing properties, which speaks to the tremendous need for senior housing and care services,” said Chuck Harry, NIC’s chief operating officer. “The demand from aging adults seeking senior housing and care is on the rise, and the industry continues to meet that need.”

This trend of high demand and slow inventory growth was consistent throughout 2022. Fewer than 11,000 units were added within the NIC MAP Primary Markets this year, which is the weakest inventory growth since 2014. This contrasted with a robust demand, with net absorption for the year registering a record 27,845 units. Combined, these conditions allowed the occupancy rate to rise 2.8 percentage points since the beginning of 2022.

Construction starts were relatively weak at 3,013 units in the fourth quarter, continuing the slower pace seen in the third quarter. Total units under construction equaled 35,719 units, which is the fewest units under construction since 2015. For 2022, starts totaled 14,665 units, which is weaker than in 2021, but stronger than in 2020.

“Development activity slowed sharply in the second half of 2022, as the rise in interest rates and a more stringent lending environment slowed loan issuance,” said Beth Burnham Mace, NIC’s chief economist. “With higher interest rates expected in the early months of 2023, slower development pipelines are likely to continue, which could continue to impact inventory growth and therefore positively affect occupancy rates.”

Occupancy improved across all property types. Assisted living had the largest quarterly gain, with robust demand pushing the total number of occupied assisted living units to their highest level ever. More specifically:

  • Assisted living occupancy increased 1.1 percentage points to 80.7%, up 6.8 percentage points from its pandemic low of 73.9% in the second quarter of 2021, but still below the pre-pandemic level of 84.6%.
  • Independent living occupancy increased 0.6 percentage points to 85.2%, up 3.6 percentage points from its pandemic low of 81.6% in the second quarter of 2021, but still below the pre-pandemic level of 89.6%.
  • Nursing care occupancy increased 0.7 percentage points to 80.0%, up 6.0 percentage points from its pandemic low of 74.0% in the first quarter of 2021, but still below the pre-pandemic level of 86.6%.

Twenty-eight of the 31 NIC MAP Primary Markets saw occupancy increases in the fourth quarter of 2022. Boston (88.9%), Baltimore (86.7%) and Portland, OR (86.2%) had the highest senior housing occupancy rates within NIC MAP’s Primary Markets, and Houston (77.9%), Atlanta (79.0%) and Cleveland (79.4%) had the lowest rates.

Asking rental rates for senior housing across the NIC MAP Primary Markets saw their largest increase since NIC MAP Vision began reporting the data in 2006, having increased by 4.9% on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter.

Claiborne Senior Living Awarded Prestigious WELL Certification

HATTIESBURG, MS—Claiborne Senior Living has announced that it has been awarded a WELL Certification at the Health-Safety level for its family of senior living communities by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). This prestigious distinction was awarded through IWBI’s WELL v2—the latest version of the WELL Building Standard. WELL is the premier building standard that focuses on enhancing people’s health and well-being through the buildings where we live, work and play.

Claiborne Senior Living consists of 10 communities across Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina. Their boutique senior living communities provide independent living, assisted living and memory care services to older adults. Claiborne is committed to enhancing the lives of their employees, their residents and the families they serve by crafting meaningful relationships within their communities and delivering excellence.

Created through seven years of rigorous research and development and working with leading physicians, scientists and industry professionals, the WELL Building Standard is a performance-based certification system that marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based scientific research. Claiborne earned the distinction based on 10 categories of building performance—air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, sound, materials, mind and community—and achieved a Health-Safety level rating. IWBI is the leading authority for transforming health and well-being with its people-first approach to buildings, organizations and communities.

“We decided to pursue our WELL certification as it perfectly coincides with our desire and passion to create the best possible environment for our residents and team members,” commented Justin Wray, chief operating officer of Claiborne Senior Living. “Learning and understanding that we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, regardless of age, was even more of a driving factor to focus on environmental changes that promote well-being.”

Project features that helped Claiborne communities achieve its WELL Certified Health-Safety level rating include:

  • Smoke-free environment
  • Ventilation effectiveness
  • Moisture management
  • Humidity control
  • Promoting movement, physical activity and active living
  • Waste management
  • Mental health support and education
  • Restorative spaces, support and programs
  • Emergency preparedness
  • Community access and engagement

WELL is grounded in evidence-based research that explores the connection between the buildings where we spend approximately 90% of our time, and the health and well-being impacts on the people inside these buildings. To be awarded a WELL Certification by IWBI, all Claiborne communities underwent rigorous testing and a final evaluation carried out by third parties to ensure it met all WELL Certified Health-Safety performance requirements.

The Virginian Short-Term Rehabilitation Named Best in Virginia by U.S. News & World Report

FAIRFAX, VA—The Virginian has been recognized as a Best Nursing Home for Short-Term Rehabilitation for 2022-2023 by U.S. News & World Report. The rating evaluates post-acute short-term care for residents or patients recovering from a hospital stay, such as after a stroke, heart attack, infection or accidental injury. Only 16% of U.S skilled nursing facilities earned the Best Nursing Home designation this year.

The Virginian offers short-term rehabilitation services as part of The Virginian Senior Living Community, which is undergoing a $61 million multi-phase renovation through next year. Three areas where The Virginian surpassed both state and national outcomes include:

  • Residents able to return home: 64.1% of residents were able to return home after being discharged, compared to 54.9% (Virginia) and 53.8% (U.S.) averages.
  • Nurse staffing: 5 hours and 1 minute of nurse staffing per resident per day, compared with 3 hours and 29 minutes (Virginia) and 3 hours and 45 minutes (U.S.) averages.
  • Physical therapist staffing: 10 minutes of physical rehabilitation per person per day, compared with 5 minutes (Virginia and U.S) averages.

“This recognition is a true acknowledgement of the work of The Virginian’s 65 member health care team,” said Jasmine Montgomery, the new health care administrator at The Virginian. “Our nursing staff nurtures every dimension of wellness—physical, emotional, social and spiritual—which combines with high-level skill and ability to offer a comprehensive approach to resident care.”

The Virginian also recently took first place in the Environments for Aging design award for Shenandoah Memory Care at The Virginian for its best-in-class memory care design. The Virginian offers a full continuum of care, with the option for additional services when and if residents need them. The community renovations will be completed in mid-2023, adding new high-end amenities and programs, multiple dining venues, a wine cellar, sports bar, indoor golf simulator, state-of-the-art theater, entertainment venues, three full-service salons, spa and swimming pool. In addition to a large beautiful outdoor courtyard, activity areas include pickleball, bocce ball, a putting green, ‘Central Bark’ dog park and fire pit area.

Lorien Health Services Named a Best Nursing Home by U.S. News & World Report

ELLICOTT CITY, MD—Lorien Health Services, a family-owned and operated assisted living/nursing home company and industry innovator, is among the 16% of facilities nationwide that were recently recognized as Best Nursing Homes for 2022-23 by U.S. News & World Report.

Five Lorien Health Services locations earned Best Nursing Homes status by achieving the highest possible rating of “High Performing” for short-term rehabilitation and/or long-term care, including Bel Air, Bulle Rock, Columbia, Mays Chapel and Mt. Airy.

As nursing homes and facilities across the country continue to rebound from the effects of the pandemic, the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes ratings offer individuals and families a starting point in their search for a nursing home—whether they are in need of short-term rehabilitation or long-term care, or they’re interested in knowing the quality of a home’s overall care.

U.S. News gives the designation of Best Nursing Home only to those homes that satisfy U.S. News’ assessment of the appropriate use of key services and consistent performance in quality measures.

“Since Lorien’s founding over 45 years ago, we’ve been guided by our founders’ pride of ownership and their principal value that ‘we are family taking care of families, friends and neighbors,’” said Lou Grimmel, CEO of Lorien Health Services. “Being recognized by this prestigious ranking is a testament to Lorien’s team taking this approach to heart, while tackling unprecedented challenges throughout this pandemic. Our team also embodies a care-forward perspective that can be seen every day through their dedication to our residents and communities.”

Now in its 13th year, the U.S. News Best Nursing Homes ratings and profiles offer comprehensive information about quality of care, COVID vaccination requirements for residents and staff, flu and pneumonia vaccination rates and infection control violations listed on the resident safety summary. Individuals can easily conduct customized research for a highly rated nursing home by location, size and Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

This year’s methodology included an emphasis on nursing homes meeting certain standards of patient safety, which could limit a home’s ability to achieve a “High-Performing” rating. These standards included a minimum threshold for the staff COVID vaccination rate, overuse of antipsychotic drugs and frequent visits to the emergency department, among other criteria.

Nursing homes that have below a 75% COVID staff vaccination rate are not considered a leading facility. A significant percentage of short-term rehabilitation and long-term care programs that would otherwise have qualified as “High-Performing” were downgraded for failing to meet that vaccination rate.

The ratings include data on staffing, success in preventing ER visits and pneumonia vaccination rates, among other metrics. Among the 15,178 nursing homes evaluated by U.S. News, 1,658 were “High Performing” in short-term rehabilitation, 1,103 were “High Performing” in long-term care and 335 were “High Performing” in both.

The short-term care rating incorporates measures of quality, including consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs and success in preventing falls.

U.S. News Reveals the 2022-2023 Best Nursing Homes

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in hospital rankings and consumer advice, revealed earlier this week the 2022-2023 Best Nursing Homes ratings to assist prospective residents and their families in making informed decisions (in consultation with their medical professionals) about where to receive short-term or long-term nursing home care.

Now in its 13th year, Best Nursing Homes evaluates more than 15,000 nursing homes on care, safety, infection rates, staffing and health inspections. For the first time, the Best Nursing Homes ratings feature measurements on weekend staffing and infection rates that led to hospitalizations.

The 2022-2023 ratings highlight nursing homes that earned a high-performing rating in short-term and long-term care. California has the most nursing homes rated as high-performing, with 206 receiving a high-performing rating in short-term care and 148 ranked as high-performing in long-term care. Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas follow California among the states with the highest number of nursing homes earning high-performing ratings.

“Choosing the right nursing home based on care needs and comfort is a critical decision for prospective residents and their families,” said Zach Adams, senior health data engineer at U.S. News. “The Best Nursing Homes ratings highlight nursing homes that excel in short-term rehabilitation and long-term care needs. This year, newly available data on weekend staffing and infection rates that led to hospitalizations provides even more information about how nursing homes rate when it comes to the safety of their residents.”

The Best Nursing Homes methodology factors in data such as resident care, safety and outcomes. To calculate the Best Nursing Homes ratings, U.S. News evaluated each nursing home’s performance using a variety of data obtained from CMS. Both short- and long-term ratings include data on consistency of registered nurse staffing, use of antipsychotic drugs and success in preventing emergency room and hospital visits. The long-term care rating also includes measures of whether a nursing home changed ownership and how well they are staffed on weekends. The short-term rehabilitation rating also includes measures of a nursing home’s success in preventing falls, preventing serious infections and making sure residents are able to return home.

Senior Living DEIB Coalition Releases Survey Results and Industry Toolkit

The first-ever Senior Living DEIB Survey on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) and the Senior Living DEIB Toolkit to aid industry operators and organizations in advancing DEIB practices are now available. The survey collected information across the participating companies and reviewed both the degree to which DEIB programs are deployed and the diversity of their respective staff. The survey results indicated opportunities for senior living companies to give more focus to DEIB efforts, and the DEIB Toolkit was developed for interested companies to customize programs suited to their respective firms.

Released by the Senior Living DEIB Coalition—a partnership among Argentum, the American Seniors Housing Association (ASHA) and the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC)—the new survey marks the first industry-wide effort to summarize the data on DEIB.

Industry leaders hailed the study’s release and stressed that the work on DEIB is just beginning. “As an industry focused on service and growth, creating diverse and welcoming organizations is the right path and a critical aspect of expanding talent and human capital to meet workforce needs within senior living,” shared James Balda, president & CEO of Argentum. “The survey and toolkit are just the first steps towards this industry-wide need and effort.”

Survey Results

The executive summary provides a snapshot on the current state of DEIB within the industry. Administered by Ferguson Partners, the survey uncovered several practices being implemented by senior living organizations and the percentage of organizations executing on specific DEIB initiatives. It also provided demographic breakdowns related to gender, race, orientations and other diversity measures.

“The survey signifies the beginning for senior living to measure year-over-year progress of DEIB efforts,” said Chuck Harry, COO of NIC. “It serves as a catalyst for additional dialogue within organizations around the practices necessary to advance DEIB.”

The executive summary of the survey results can be found here.

DEIB Toolkit

The DEIB toolkit, developed by The Axela Group, is the Coalition’s first initiative to help organizations advance DEIB practices. It is designed to inform, educate, encourage and drive stakeholders to resources to assist them in DEIB pursuits.

“The toolkit is where the rubber meets the road and senior living organizations take action to either launch or advance DEIB initiatives,” stated ASHA President and CEO David Schless. “It contains resources to inform, equip and catalyze positive impact and thinking around DEIB and will undergo periodic upgrades as we learn more and advance our industry.”

The DEIB Toolkit can be found here.

United Church Homes and Miami University Join Forces to Positively Impact Aging

MARION, OH—United Church Homes (UCH) is pleased to announce its collaboration with Miami University’s Scripps Gerontology Center in Oxford, OH, through a National Institute on Aging grant to test the feasibility of a positive psychological intervention in older adults living with dementia.

Katy Abbott, Ph.D., MGS, executive director of the Scripps Gerontology Center, was awarded the $175,000 grant through The National Institute of Aging’s Imbedded Pragmatic Alzheimer’s Disease Clinical Trials (IMPACT) Collaboratory.

Abbott will partner with the interdisciplinary teams within 10 UCH-owned and managed communities to pilot a pragmatic clinical trial to engage people living with dementia in positive ways that enhance well-being and address behavioral responses. Abbott’s Individualized Positive Psychosocial Intervention (IPPI) program engages in 10 minutes of one-to-one, preference-based activities twice a week, with the goal of decreasing feelings of distress and enhancing well-being among residents. The primary goal is improvement of mood and behavior among the residents who participate in this study.

As a healthcare systems scholar, Abbott has completed significant research focusing on preference-based person-centered care and social networks in long-term care settings. She co-founded Preference Based Living, a collaborative organization with the mission to conduct studies that build understanding of individual preferences through a comprehensive assessment (IPPI). Additionally, she leads an interdisciplinary team, which provides training and guidance to long-term care services and supports for quality improvement.

“My aspirational goal is that all individuals living with dementia receive preference-based, person-centered care. As a researcher, I believe I have a role to play, by partnering with providers to co-create efficient processes that can support their efforts to assess, honor and communicate individual preferences throughout the care delivery process,” said Abbott. “United Church Homes was the first organization I thought of to partner with because I know their mission, vision and values align closely with our preference-based research.”

President and chief executive officer of United Church Homes, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Daniel, said more than 50% of residents in UCH nursing communities have a diagnosis of dementia. “Collaborating together in this manner to improve the quality of care for our residents living with dementia is a high priority for our organization, and we are eager to see how this research enhances the lives of those living in our communities,” he added.

Together with UCH, Abbott will identify potential barriers to implementing new initiatives in the 10 nursing communities, collaboratively identify IPPI program processes and outcomes of interest to stakeholders, integrate a pragmatic process and impact outcome measures in the UCH electronic medical record, and build a strong foundation of trust and collaboration.

UCH values this relationship with Miami University and other academic partners, said Amy Kotterman, director of customer experience. “We are excited to team up with Dr. Abbott and Scripp’s Gerontology on this research to improve the quality of care for individuals living with dementia and their care partners,” she said.