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Poway Nursing Home Is Rated Tops, Even Without TLC Factor

Times Staff Writer

“It’s almost like home,” said a resident of the Villa Pomerado Nursing Home in Poway.

The comment is just one more compliment for a facility that impressed federal inspectors so much that they gave Villa Pomerado a perfect score earlier this month on its operations. Of the state’s 940 nursing homes inspected, only five besides Villa Pomerado scored a 100% for health care.

The inspection, made May 5, came after Villa Pomerado had been open less than a month and had only seven residents in its 149-bed facility--a factor that the administrator, Cheryl Wilson, acknowledges made it easier to look better than older, crowded facilities.

Now 30% Occupied

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But, she said, Villa Pomerado will continue to maintain its excellence as it grows. It is now 30% occupied.

“I am going to be in here, or one like it, some day,” Wilson said. “I want it to be the best.”

Wilson, an Australian by birth and a nurse by trade, signed on as a consultant for the skilled nursing home 1 1/2 years before it opened. She has helped plan the social activities and the rehabilitation programs. She even collaborated on decorating the rooms, using warm colors and soft materials.

Wilson recruited a staff that, she said, is interested in Villa Pomerado residents “as individuals,” not just as patients who must be aided in dressing themselves, keeping clean and doing the daily tasks that others can do without thinking.

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The Villa Pomerado staff, from administrator down to aide, pitches in to make the facility as close to a real home as an institution can get.

There are manicures on Monday and the beauty parlor is open twice a week. “Memory Awareness” and “Body Dynamics” classes alternate each morning; formal English teas are commonplace on the afternoon social schedule.

Memory Lane

One of the more popular activities is a “reminiscence session,” encouraging the elderly residents to recall the joyful events of their younger years. Bernice Nyder remembers when her brother got some piano crates and built her a wonderful dollhouse. Another senior remembers when she did housework “for a sack of wheat a week,” and a third recalled the wonderful smell of fresh-baked bread her mother made each morning.

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None of its special activities and none of the state-of-the-art air beds or bathing facilities won Villa Pomerado its perfect score.

The federal Health Care Financing Administration, in a 75-volume report issued earlier this month, measured less-personal factors such as proper medication dispensing and bedsore treatment. On these, Villa Pomerado scored 100%, while 15 of 22 other San Diego County nursing homes inspected failed to measure up on proper medication procedures, personal hygiene or food handling. About 15,000 skilled nursing facilities were rated nationwide.

Being affiliated with Pomerado Hospital, which is next door, helped the nursing home achieve its high standards, Wilson said, adding that a “caring staff” was the key.

“As I said, some day I will be in a place like this and I will be just horrible to deal with because I know just how good a place it can be,” Wilson said.

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