Best nursing homes in DC area named


ASHINGTON — Out of the 2,975 facilities that U.S. News & World Report has awarded Tuesday with the “Best Nursing Home” distinction, 117 are in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

And, of those, 32 were ranked as “high-performing” in both of U.S. News’ key ratings.

In addition to an overall rating, U.S. News rated facilities on their short-stay care (less than 100 days) this year — the first year it has done so. This new rating is aimed at patients who might need “intensive rehabilitation or nursing services before they return home after a surgery, stroke, accident or illness,” U.S. News said in a statement.

“Short-stay rehabilitation can be necessary for anyone who’s been hospitalized for any number of conditions,” said Ben Harder, U.S. News & World Reports’ chief of health analysis. “… And, very often, the patients who need this kind of care immediately after a hospitalization are very healthy overall.”

U.S. News evaluated more than 15,000 homes nationwide. This year, it altered its rating methodology to place more emphasis on staffing quality. Facilities that were rated “high performing” in either the overall or short-stay rehabilitation rating and average or higher in the other rating received the “Best Nursing Home” designation.

ocal standouts
In D.C., the Lisner-Louise-Dickson-Hurt Home and Sibley Memorial Hospital’s Renaissance Skilled Nursing Facility excelled in the overall rating as well as in the rating that measures the quality of short-stay care.

In Northern Virginia, the facilities that excelled in both overall and short-term ratings included the following:

  • ManorCare Health Services in Arlington;

  • Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads in Falls Church;

  • The Jefferson in Arlington;

  • Loudoun Nursing and Rehab Center in Leesburg;

  • The Virginian in Fairfax; and

  • Ashby Ponds Inc. in Ashburn.

In Montgomery County, Maryland, six facilities excelled overall and in short-stay care:

  • Potomac Valley Nursing & Wellness Center in Rockville;

  • The Village at Rockville;

  • Maplewood Park Place in Bethesda;

  • Brighton Gardens of Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda;

  • Riderwood Village in Silver Spring; and

  • Ingleside at King Farm in Rockville.

Advice for finding the right facility
U.S. News also unveiled Tuesday this year’s Nursing Home Finder, which offers “comprehensive information about care, safety, health inspections, staffing and more” on nursing homes nationwide. The tool allows for a customized search of highly rated facilities by location, Medicare/Medicaid coverage, care for Alzheimer’s patients and size.

One thing to keep in mind when looking around, Harder said, is that a given facility’s fit depends on a prospective resident’s needs. In terms of long-term care, a patient might be best served by a facility that specializes in handling dementia, for instance, or in providing round-the-clock medical care.

And, a visit to the prospective facility, he said, is “critically important” to ensure adequate availability of nurses and physical therapy.

“One important thing to do, if possible, is to visit a nursing home at different times of day and different times of the week,” Harder said.

“It can be relatively easy for a nursing home to have sufficient staff during the 9-to-5 period. But, on the weekends and late at night, when some patients need care, some nursing homes aren’t able to keep their staffing levels up at those times. And that’s where we can see bad things happen — patients needing to go back to the hospital unexpectedly and having other complications of care.”

And, a major red flag to beware of, he said, is how a place smells.

“Nursing homes that smell bad tend to provide bad care,” Harder said. “And, researchers have actually demonstrated that. So that’s one important reason for family members to visit a nursing home and really assess the place with their own eyes, ears and nose.”

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