Hale Aloha Convalescent Hospital, 1711 Richland Ave., hosted an open house Thursday evening to celebrate it being awarded a Bronze Award for Quality by the American Health Care Association (AHCA).
Of 1,300 rest homes in California, Hale Aloha is only one of 33 to be given the honor and one of over 350 nationwide.
The open house, open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., featured refreshments and a bake sale as well as tours. Many of the 40 employees were in attendance.
The bronze award was bestowed after the hospital on Richland Avenue demonstrated that it is improving the quality of care to patients. In Hale Aloha's case, significant staff effort has been undertaken to prevent bedsores and enhancing the healing of wounds. The home was also noted for its staff retention, which lends to better patient satisfaction. Some staff members have been a part of the Hale Aloha "family" up to 11 years.
"This is one of the best kept secrets in the Central Valley," said Don Wessels, the new administrator of Hale Aloha. "A lot of people are under the mistaken belief that only a large facility can provide the best quality of care and I'm here to tell you that is just not the case."
Four inspectors from AHCA spent four days at the Ceres convalescent hospital to go over the operation with a fine-tooth comb. They looked at all aspects of operation, including sanitation, water temperatures, the activity schedule and nursing practices, and found only four minor things that needed correction, said Wessels.
"Nursing homes are more regulated than nuclear power plants," he said.
A total of 44 patients live in 23 patient rooms. Hale Aloha typically experiences a 95 percent occupancy rate but sometimes has a waiting list.
Wessels said the party was thrown as a celebration for the employees as much as the community. "I want them to feel good about what they have accomplished."
Suzy Vernon, the Social Service Director at Hale Aloha, said staff and residents have a high level of satisfaction at the facility.
"There is the misconception that people come here to die," said Vernon, "and that's not necessarily the case. It's not always true that this is the end of the line. Some residents have been here for 11 years."
Ceres resident Carolyn Gollihar said Hale Aloha was an answer to prayer when she needed to place Fred, her husband of 58 years, into a rest home facility due to advanced Parkinson's Disease. When she met the welcoming and friendly staff, Carolyn said "God opened all the doors" as they faced difficult choices.
"I can sleep at night knowing he is well taken care of," Gollihar said at the event.
She added that the facility is very clean and the staff "personable" and "outstanding."
Violet Radcliff of Ceres also spoke highly of Hale Aloha. She promised a best friend before her death that she would get the best care for her 43-year-old disabled son who is blind and paralyzed from an accident.
"I'm very, very happy with this place," said Radcliff. "All the girls go out of their way to notify me of concerns. They keep (Luther) very clean. He's always clean and well kept. They're so wonderful."
Hale Aloha is owned by Mach One, a Turlock company which also owns and operates Elness in Turlock and Bel-Air in Modesto.