“What makes Nazareth Home unique is the person-centered care. We try to recreate a home environment as much as we can,” Buckman says. The home has common areas with fireplaces and televisions so that residents can gather and watch the news or movies. “We have one area called Cheers, which is a larger gathering area. The residents come up with all the names on their own,” he says.

altIn order to even apply for the Facility of the Year contest, Nazareth Home had to go three years with no citations or problems with care. Then they had to put together a written entry with testimonials from past patients, their families and community leaders, and written statements from the home’s administrators. Then there was an on-site visit by a panel of judges not affiliated with KAHCF, and a phone call from a mystery shopper who talked to the staff about the facility. KAHCF splits the state up into five districts and a winner was picked for each district. After Nazareth won its Central district, then there was a second round of on-site visits from a different panel of judges who picked the Facility of the Year from the five district winners.

McClain says the judging panel was impressed with the long list of activities that Nazareth Home offers its residents, including bridge, yoga and zoo visits. The judges were also impressed with the nursing home’s leadership in dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. “What they do is unique and different,” McClain says. “In addition, they take part in the Advanced Excellence in American Nursing Home Programs. They are staying abreast of current treatment trends and trying new things of their own. That’s the kind of standard-bearer the association wants to have.”

altTheresa Riddle, a long-term care patient at the home, says she’s experienced the Nazareth Home magic firsthand. The wheelchair-bound 83-year-old says she was reluctant to enter a nursing home but was forced to relent because it was getting harder for her to take care of herself and she didn’t want to burden her family. Nazareth Home was the only facility that interested her, and after a rough transition she’s not only come to accept her situation but to treasure it as well.

“It was hard,” Riddle says. “I had a lot of friends where I was before, but once I got settled, it was wonderful. And I’ve made so many more friends here. Now, this is home.”

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