MIDDLETOWN — Norm Hathcoat struggled with placing his brother Bernie in a nursing home.
“It’s hard to put someone in a nursing home,” he said. “You want to do what is best for them and more than anything you want them to be safe.”
After making various inquires, Norm Hathcoat discovered there were long waiting lists at several local nursing homes and others did not offer the kind of environment he wanted for his older brother.
Then he visited Miller’s Merry Manor.
“It seems like they really care here – it’s not a job for them,” Hathcoat said.
That attitude of caring has translated into a five-star rating for Miller’s from the agencies that monitor nursing home care and patient surveys.
According to Medicare.gov, only two local nursing homes have received the five-star rating and both are Miller’s Merry Manor facilities.
Rebecca Paulie, admissions director for Miller’s Middletown location, said the rating is similar to a hotel rating and can help consumers measure the performance of a nursing home against other nursing homes.
“Our dedication is to our residents and patient care,” Paulie said. “We want to know a person by name, what do they like to do, more than just day-to-day care kind of things.”
The Hathcoat brothers were very close growing up and still talk on the phone at least twice a day. Norm Hathcoat said one reason he opted for a nursing home for his brother was because he was afraid people would start taking advantage of his condition.
“He got to where he was getting lost and he did not want to live by himself,” Norm Hathcoat said.
Marge Hathcoat, Norm’s wife, said her brother-in-law has been blessed with good health.
“He asked the Lord for longevity. Now he is not so sure that was a good idea,” she said.
Living at Miller’s Merry Manor has improved Bernie Hathcoat’s outlook. Today, if he is not playing cards, 86-year-old Bernie can be found in his favorite chair surrounded by friends.
“It is run very businesslike, yet it is very homey,” he said. “I’m a people person and they are helping me.”
Being homey is one of the unique aspects of the nursing home, Paulie said.
“Each of Miller’s Merry Manor is a little different because each community is different,” she said. “What works here would not work in Indianapolis. Here, people don’t like it if you don’t know their name – you have to become part of the community.”
Patient satisfaction is one of the aspects of the rating system given by Medicare.gov, Paulie said. A five-star rating is also difficult to obtain, Paulie said, because it is based on a variety of aspects including health inspections and patient care.
Last year, Paulie said, the nursing home received a four-star rating. Miller’s Merry Manor administrator, Jance Peterson, said that is the nice thing about the rating system — it keeps nursing homes competitive as a rating can improve from year to year.
“We don’t have a brand-new, fancy building, but we have quality care,” Peterson said. “We have always been focused on resident care and that is what our scores show.”
Time has also changed the traditional nursing home setting.
“People used to come here to live, now they just stay long enough to get better and then go home,” Paulie said.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, after the age of 65, about 40 percent of Americans will spend some time in a nursing home. Some of the services offered at Miller’s include adult day services, physical therapy, short-term rehabilitation, occupational therapy and speech therapy.
Norm Hathcoat said several of the nursing homes he initially contacted have since notified him of openings, but he said the Middletown location has become his brother’s home.
Overall, 19 of the 32 Miller’s Merry Manor facilities in the state have received five-star ratings from Medicare. There are 59 accommodations at Middletown, Paulie said, stressing those who live at Miller’s are residents not patients.
“We treat everyone as if they are wearing a sign that says, ‘Make me feel important,’” Paulie said.
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Nursing home ratings come from: Health inspections Staffing Quality measures A star rating is provided for each of these three sources and then these three ratings are combined to calculate an overall rating. The Five Star Quality Rating System is not a substitute for visiting a nursing home. A rating of 1 to 5 stars based on resident assessment data that show how well the nursing home cares for residents' needs. More stars are better. This system can give you important information, help you compare nursing homes by topics you consider most important, and help you think of questions to ask when you visit the nursing home. Use the Five-Star ratings together with other sources of information when making a decision. Source: medicare.gov. Ratings Much below average: (1-star) ManorCare Health Services Meadowbrooke Rehabilitation Center & Suites Below Average: (2-star) Countryside Manor Health & Living Community Edgewater Woods Community Northview Care Center Middletown Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Average: (3-star) Bethany Pointe Health Campus Alexandria Care Center Above Average: (4-star) Rawlins House Health & Living Community Community Parkview Care Center Summit Convalescent Center Much Above Average: (5-star) Miller's Merry Manor in Chesterfield Miller's Merry Manor in Middletown Compare nursing home reports and government ratings at medicare.gov.