Mission Ridge Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and Refugio Nursing & Rehab are now under new ownership.

Creative Solutions in Healthcare acquired the Refugio facilities on March 1. With more than 75 homes, the company is one of the largest nursing home chains in Texas.

Mission Ridge, 401 Swift Street, opened back up in August of 2020, after having been rebuilt due to the destruction caused by 2017’s Hurricane Harvey.

The facility has 55 residents with the capacity to house 90 residents. They have 65 full and part-time employees.

Refugio Nursing & Rehab is a facility for female dementia patients. Currently, there are eight residents.

As a result of the new ownership one of the most notable changes for Mission Ridge and Refugio Nursing & Rehab has been the menu for residents’ meals. 

“One of the biggest changes is an increase in raw food budget allowing us to provide a higher quality meal to our residents,” said Mission Ridge Administrator Jennifer  L. Steele.

“The residents are loving the new menu items and enjoying the meal service.”

She added that some of the new favorite items being served are certified angus beef roast and steak, General Tso’s chicken, seafood salad, pulled pork on bun and barbecue ribs.

The response to the new menu has been equally as positive at Refugio Nursing & Rehab.   

Administrator Nancy Foster expressed that they  are now able to serve a  wide variety of foods including fried shrimp, grilled steaks and chicken and waffles. Foster stated, “The food is fabulous.” 

The food is not the only positive change that has come to the facilities.

When asked how Gov. Abbott’s decision to relax  mandates relating to COVID-19  has made a change to the day to day operations of the facility Steele replied, “It has been a breath of fresh air for our residents.”

Previously, visitation was limited to window visits, supervised outdoor visits and one essential care giver.

Residents are now  allowed to have two essential caregivers at one time. They may go outside and visit with family and friends without staff supervision. Masks are still required of everyone doing all visits and a distance of six feet is kept from other residents and staff.

Free COVID-19 testing is available, but not required, to all visitors.   Appointments for visitation can be made, but they are not required. All visitors must undergo a screening process prior to each visit.

In addition, residents are allowed to leave the facility. When they return, a series of questions is asked to determine their risk of exposure. If deemed necessary, the resident may be placed in quarantine to protect all residents and staff.

Roommates are considered members of one household and may sit in the television area together or at the same table in the dining room. “This has allowed our residents to be more social and resume dominoes and card games,” Steele added.

In early April, a letter outlining the new guidelines concerning visitation was mailed out to the families of residents and placed on the facility’s Facebook page. That letter also spelled out the precautions and safety measures that are still be followed.

Foster stated that Refugio Nursing & Rehab follows the same protective measures and protocol as Mission Ridge, including the guidelines for visitation.

Both facilities provide activities for the residents that help keep them as physically and mentally active as possible. They are required to have a minimum of five activities per day.

Bingo is one of the favorite activities at Mission Ridge and is played  at least three times a week. On occasion, someone comes in to play the piano for the residents of Refugio Nursing & Rehab.

Beginning May 1, the activities department, at Refugio Nursing & Rehab, will begin to offer appetizers  to the residents before lunch. 

Foster said the setup will be similar to that of a  cooking show where a chef makes a dish in front of an audience. 

Each day a different appetizer will be prepared in the presence of the residents. 

This activity will help stimulate the senses of smell and sight for the residents, as well as, arouse their appetites.

All major holidays are celebrated. To celebrate Easter, Mission Ridge held an indoor Easter egg hunt and a coloring contest for its residents. Foster dressed up as the Easter Bunny at Refugio Nursing & Rehab.

Both resident and staff birthdays are recognized monthly at each facility.

Foster mentioned that Creative Solutions in Healthcare places a lot of emphasis on the employees. Cake and ice cream are provided for staff birthdays. Each employee receives a punch card good for five free meals, as well as, a birthday card sent from the corporate office. Employment anniversary dates are also recognized. 

The administrators at the Refugio nursing homes, and their staffs, are dedicated to providing the maximum quality of care for their residents, while making the nursing home experience the best it can be. The new ownership and the relaxation of state mandates have helped them continue in their efforts. 

•bmartin@mysoutex.com•

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