By Loretta Humble
Last week I spent a lot of this column bragging on my own companies. It probably wasn’t the best time to do so, because the main news in that column was that Jerome James had given our community two beautiful sculptures. I said how great that was, and then launched right in to telling you how great my own companies were for all they do for the community.
Then I had the nerve to send the column to Mr. James, who was gracious enough to compliment the column, and ask for a copy of the paper when it was printed.
I’m pretty sure I chose the wrong time to start bragging, but it came out of the recognition that I brag on everybody else more than I do my own Cedar Lake Nursing Home and Cedar Lake Home Health and Hospice, and that is not fair. So I resolved to do better. I didn’t intend to do this much this quick. Here I am bragging on them again. But how can I help it?
The recent issue of US News and World Report listed the best nursing homes in the country. You can go to their site, or to www.medicare.gov/nursinghomecompare and type in a zip code and find the most highly rated nursing homes in your area. In this area, it is us. Cedar Lake Nursing Home. This is big, folks. We got the five stars. That is tops. The next nearest five star nursing homes are in Ennis and Teague. There is one in Waco, and one in West. There are no other five star nursing homes in Henderson, Anderson, Kaufman, Limestone, Navarro, Smith, Van Zandt, or Gregg counties. I got tired of looking after that, but I do know there are a number of them in Dallas.
Now comes the disclaimer. There are a lot of four star nursing homes around here. Four-Star still means better than average. And they, as well as some of the lesser star homes may have just been caught by the inspectors on a bad day. I think you have to have a perfect inspection to get five stars, and can you imagine how difficult that is to get when you are dealing with that many residents and that many people who care for them? Perfect inspections don’t happen often. Not with us, either.
We’ll be having another inspection soon, and, who knows? Maybe we’ll slip up, or maybe the inspectors will look extra hard and find something to ding us on, just to keep us on our toes. I’ll admit, if they take a star or two away from us, I won’t be spreading it all over the newspaper and the Internet like I am now. But whichever nursing home gets the most stars will. And I won’t blame them. We are just going to do our best to have it be us.
I’m not going to launch into a big commercial about how good and loving we are, stars or no stars. You just need to come hang out with us sometime and see for yourself. And here’s some useful advice: If you are considering a nursing home, now or in the future, whether it is Cedar Lake or not, do your homework. Go meet the administrator, talk to some nurses and some aides and especially some patients. See if it smells good. See if the meals look good. See what their rehab department is like.
In fact, a really good sneaky way to find out about Cedar Lake or any other nursing home, is to become a volunteer. Almost any nursing home will welcome you. (If they don’t, that is your first clue.) There are always some residents who would love for you to visit them. Maybe you would like to help with activities, or even come up with a new one, while you discover whether we, or any of the rest of us, deserve our stars.
Loretta Humble is the owner of Cedar Lake Nursing Home as well as their Home Health and Hospice. The former publisher of The Malakoff News, she has been covering the area for 20 years. Semi-retired for day-to-day running the companies, she is now a full-time spreader of (mostly) good news in her community through her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/aroundthetown. Since she is supported in this endeavor by her Cedar Lake companies, she jokes that she is the inspiration for the Michael’s and Jeff’s creation of Henderson County Now.