What makes Catholic, not-for-profit nursing homes unique?
The unique qualities of Catholic nursing homes go beyond our not-for-profit status. All Catholic health and elder care facilities are committed to reaching out and meeting the needs of the underserved. We provide pastoral care and mission-related services and offer a wide range of specialized services that other providers may choose not to provide due to inadequate reimbursement through public payment sources. Our pain management and palliative care programs are innovative in the nursing home industry, but originate in our Catholic tradition of care with compassion. Our employees take pride in carrying forth the mission of Catholic long term care as is evidenced by their comments and also through letters of appreciation from residents and their family members.
Many Catholic nursing homes are located in urban areas, where they were founded by religious communities who came to this country to care for the poor and underserved. In fact, some of Covenant's nursing homes were founded as poorhouses and orphanages before converting to long term care facilities to better serve the changing needs of the community. We have remained in our communities at a time when many competing providers have moved to more affluent suburbs, and we have re-focused our services to be culturally sensitive to the needs of the new immigrant populations who are now turning to us for care. As always, we are committed to serving those in our community regardless of their religious faith. In fact, Covenant Health Systems sponsors workshops in order for our employees learn more about the various cultures we are privileged to serve.
Offering Specialized Care
Today, the trend towards specializing in long term care is common; however, Catholic nursing homes have been specializing for years. We have traditionally been known for our compassionate care in caring for the terminally ill, those with tuberculosis, persons with AIDS, mental illness and other often underserved populations. Many Catholic nursing homes have also established specialized Alzheimer's Units, created adult day care programs and developed assisted living services. Catholic nursing homes have been on the forefront of program innovation for low income older adults, developing subsidized housing programs, affordable assisted living and generally carrying out activities which respond to our mission to serve.
Commitment to the Poor
Catholic nursing homes are committed to serving those who need care regardless of their financial situation. Despite our often high dependency on Medicaid reimbursement Catholic nursing homes continually provide high quality care as demonstrated by the high number of nursing hours most Catholic nursing homes provide. A survey of Catholic nursing homes in Massachusetts showed that more than 85% exceeded spending caps imposed by Medicaid on nursing expenditures which directly affects the high level of quality that our nursing homes offer.
Catholic nursing homes are major employers in the community and are committed to their employees. We offer many benefits including employee assistance programs, child care services, tuition reimbursement and retirement benefits. When possible, we assist our employees to enhance their skills and to move up the ladder from lower, unskilled labor to professional positions within our organizations. It is not uncommon for our employees to work in our homes for 20 years or more.
Commitment to Pain Management/Palliative Care
Our mission is to offer our residents positive, life affirming care at the end of life which addresses the issues of pain, suffering and loss of control. In order to fulfill this commitment we make significant efforts to develop comprehensive palliative care and pain management programs. These programs range from high-tech to high touch with the focus of effectively addressing chronic and terminal pain as well as providing education for our staff on innovations in this area. Among the programs instituted by Catholic nursing homes are patient-controlled analgesic pumps to deliver morphine and the initiation of alternative therapies.
Catholic nursing homes strive to preserve residents' dignity and individuality and believe that all of life is a gift from God especially in its final moments.
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