Joanne Harney understands the importance of being prepared for all that life throws her way.
Moving to Ashby Ponds, an Erickson Living-managed community in Ashburn, Va., in 2009 with her husband Greg, the need to plan for the future weighed heavily on her mind.
"Choosing Ashby Ponds was the culmination of visiting many sites on the East Coast," she says. "The continuity of care through the on-site medical center and the continuing care neighborhood was the number one reason why we chose Ashby Ponds."
Ashby Ponds' continuing care neighborhood, known as Maple Grove, offers skilled nursing, assisted living, post-acute rehabilitation, and memory care services to community members and guests. More than 175 employees make up the continuing care team, including nurses, care associates, dietitians, culinary professionals, therapists, social workers, programming assistants, housekeepers, maintenance staff, and administrators.
Unlike Joanne, the on-site continuing care neighborhood did not play a role in Connie Bubon's decision to move to Ashby Ponds. But, since her move in 2012, she's seen, firsthand, its importance.
"When I moved to Ashby Ponds, continuing care was low on my list of priorities," she says. "My husband and I were in good health, and our primary focus was making life easier by eliminating the many chores involved with owning a large house. But then, my husband died of an aggressive form of leukemia, and now, eight years older, I appreciate and understand the importance of continuing care."
No matter what the future holds
According to Ken Harris, director of NYAHSA's Center for Senior Living and Community Services, "The idea behind the continuing care retirement community is to meet the evolving residential and medical needs of people as they age in place, allowing them to remain in the community no matter what level of care they require."
Although the majority of Ashby Ponds community members may never need the services provided at Maple Grove, its presence and stellar record of service provide community members with peace of mind when it comes to the future.
"Should we eventually need the care, it is there for us, on the same campus as our friends and minutes from our spouse," says Joanne. "And as members of the larger Ashby Ponds community, we would enjoy visitors, parties, companionship, classes, and interaction with the community volunteers who visit every day."
Exceeding high standards
In recognition of the superior care offered at Maple Grove, the continuing care neighborhood received the maximum score in three signature categories of Nursing Home Compare, a consumer information portal administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The community earned a five-star rating in the Overall, Staffing, and Quality of Resident Care categories.
"We take great pride in the fact that Ashby Ponds earned these five-star ratings," says Michael Wehrle, director of continuing care at Ashby Ponds. "It is a wonderful tribute to the professionalism and compassion of our employees who care for residents each and every day."
CMS developed Nursing Home Compare and the star rating system to provide consumers with an easy way to search for communities that offer the quality of care they desire. All of the data found on Nursing Home Compare are a service to the public.
The information comes from three key sources: the CMS health inspection database, a national database of resident clinical data known as the Minimum Data Set (MDS), and Medicare claims data.
"The CMS system gives a better understanding of how we are regulated and judged in the quality of service provided to our residents, and these rankings are an important tool for families and caregivers," says Wehrle.
Doctors down the hall
In addition to Maple Grove, Ashby Ponds community members enjoy access to the on-site medical center staffed with full-time, board-certified physicians specializing in senior care, nurse practitioners, and medical specialists.
"Since our move to Ashby Ponds, we have utilized the medical center for everything, including our six-month checkups," says Joanne. "On site, we have an ophthalmologist; an audiologist for testing, aids, and service; and a podiatrist. There is great peace of mind from knowing that with a pull of one of the four emergency pull cords in our home, security will be with us in minutes and proper medical attention will be immediate. It is certainly a blessing."
Connie also enjoys the numerous benefits of on-site medical care.
"I used the on-site medical center when the allergy medication I was taking was not enough to alleviate my symptoms," she says. "I saw Dana, the nurse practitioner, who ordered an over-the-counter nasal spray, which did the trick. In addition, I was able to walk just a few steps [to the on-site pharmacy] and pick up the prescription for immediate use."
Because the commitment to excellence in medical care at Ashby Ponds is a top priority, staff members continue to look for ways to improve.
"We truly implement a holistic approach when it comes to personalized resident care," says Wehrle. "Our continuing care team and medical center professionals consistently communicate, and we go above and beyond recommended training requirements. Our entire team has embraced a 'guest-ready' culture that promotes open conversation and engagement with residents and family members."
Community members and their families are thankful for this focused, highly developed level of care.
"The commitment to help us all is huge," says Connie. "They work so hard to keep us safe and healthy, and for that, we are so grateful."