Look for the Stars when Comparing Nursing Homes: Good Shepherd is Wheeling’s Only 5-Star Option

Looking for a nursing home for yourself or a family member? The federal government suggests that you look for the stars.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) created the Quality Rating System to help families evaluate nursing homes. Every year, the federal government ranks nursing homes on a scale from one to five stars. Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Wheeling has earned a five-star rating from the U.S. government every year since the government began rating nursing homes. It was the only nursing home in Wheeling to earn five stars from CMS, and one of only two facilities within 25 miles to earn the top rating.

Government ratings are a good way to judge a nursing home, said Virginia A. Dulany, M.D., a family physician who practiced in West Virginia and Maryland. “I’ve cared for patients in nursing homes throughout most of my career, and I’ve seen some places that weren’t very good,” she said. “I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that Good Shepherd Nursing Home is the best.”

Dr. Dulany said it’s also important to visit nursing homes under consideration. “Talk to the residents and their families,” she advised. “Walk through and see how the residents and staff interact.” She offered special praise for Good Shepherd’s staff. “Everyone here is very kind,” she said. “Residents can get excellent medical treatment in house, and the place is always clean and residents are well cared for.”

Good Shepherd Administrator Donald R. Kirsch said he is proud of the commitment that nursing home staff have made to residents. “Everyone who works here – from the dietary and activities staff to housekeepers, maintenance workers, nurses, administrators, therapists¬ and social workers – is deeply invested in the health and happiness of our residents,” he said.
The Nursing Home Compare Web site (https://www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare/) enables families to check the ratings of nursing homes they’re considering, with a quality rating system that gives each nursing home a rating of between 1 and 5 stars. Nursing homes like Good Shepherd with 5 stars are considered to have much above average quality and nursing homes with 1 star are considered to have quality much below average.

Mr. Kirsch said Good Shepherd’s five-star rating is significant since Good Sheperd is not part of a large nursing home chain. “The nursing home chain facilities have a large number of specialized personnel and greater financial resources to deal with the extensive regulatory requirements with which nursing homes have to comply,” he said. “It’s a tribute to our staff that Good Shepherd has earned five stars every year since the federal government began issuing ratings.”

In addition to providing long-term nursing care, Good Shepherd also offers skilled care and rehabilitation services to help people recover and return home after surgery or a medical emergency. Residents receive care in-house from nurses and physical, occupational and speech therapists, and receive regular visits from podiatrists, dentists, psychiatrists and their personal physicians. They also have access to a range of activities and amenities designed to enhance their quality of life. These include Daily Mass and weekly nondenominational services in the beautiful Good Shepherd chapel, regular entertainment programs, art classes, games, sing-alongs, birthday parties, walks in the beautiful gardens and exercise classes.

Good Shepherd Nursing Home is part of a continuum of senior living options offered by the non-profit Welty Corporation to deliver the features that discerning seniors need and want. In addition to Good Shepherd, the Welty Corporation operates the Welty Home, which consists of 52 assisted living suites for seniors who need some help in managing daily living tasks. Welty Corporation also maintains 121 comfortable, maintenance-free apartments for seniors in the Clara Welty Apartments at 1276 National Road, Bertha Welty Apartments at 1315 National Road, Welty TownHomes at 1287 National Road, and Braddock Apartments at 153 Edgington Lane. These properties are designed for people who want to live independently but appreciate the added measures of comfort and security of apartment living.