New Community Extended Care Facility, a non-profit skilled nursing center at 266 South Orange Ave. in Newark, has achieved an overall five star rating—the highest possible score for a nursing home—from Medicare.gov.
The new rating catapults Extended Care to the top of the list of quality nursing homes in Newark, according to Administrator Robert Smolin.
“We’re the only five star (facility) in the city of Newark,” Smolin said.
Medicare.gov releases ratings for nursing homes across the United States on a quarterly basis via Nursing Home Compare, an online database that’s accessible to the public and shows how many stars a nursing home has achieved (on a scale of one to five) in the following three areas: quality measures, staffing and health inspections.
Located in the heart of Newark in the city’s Central Ward, New Community Extended Care Facility was established in 1986 and has built a reputation of providing quality, holistic care to the most vulnerable residents in the community.
“The people we serve are people who have been through a lot,” Director of Nursing Veronica Onwunaka said. Many people who come to Extended Care have dealt with major health challenges, whether related to chronic illness or general aging.
“We look beyond that—we look at where they are coming from, what they have been through in life,” Onwunaka said, referring to the comprehensive approach that the staff use to care for a person’s body, mind and spirit.
Lillian Morales, 65, is president of the Extended Care Resident Council and said that she was thrilled to learn that the facility she’s called home for the last six years scored high marks.
“I know they have the best nurses. The nurses are very competent,” Morales said. “I’m pretty comfortable,” she added.
Previously, Extended Care was rated as an overall four-star facility, with five stars in the category of quality measures.
“I’m happy they have a five star rating. They worked hard for it,” Morales, a Newark resident, said.
Onwunaka has worked at Extended Care for about 25 years and said that the improved rating that NCC earned “builds courage and confidence” among her staff. “If I keep doing good, I could achieve more,” she said of the message that the five star rating sends to employees.
“I was very happy. I want my staff to have the fulfillment that their hard work eventually paid off,” Onwunaka added.
In addition to acknowledging the role of the nursing home’s residents and staff, Onwunaka emphasized that each family member plays an important role in creating a successful plan of care for the residents.
“It took everyone—residents, families and staff—in order to get it done,” Onwunaka said of achieving the five star rating.
“I think they deserve a big applause,” she said of the families who entrust their loved ones to the caring and professional staff at New Community Extended Care Facility. “It takes a lot for somebody to trust you,” she said.