Candlewood Valley Health and Rehabilitation Center in New Milford has announced it has earned a 5 Star Rating from CMS (Medicare).

In addition, the center has also secured a Veteran Association Contract to provide long- and short-term care benefits to qualifying veterans and relatives.

The 5 Star national rating system consists of three components spanning from 1-5. The first is staffing, the second is home inspections and the third is quality of care.

“Earning a 5 Star Rating has been a collective goal for our entire staff,” said David Segal, CVHR administrator.

“We are constantly adding new clinical programs to broaden and improve our patients’ services and outcomes,” he said. “An example of such programming includes those allowing us to care beyond the common hip and knee replacement needs to treat more complex patient scenarios.”

CVHR Medical Director Dr. Kenneth Marici said the center has also “added new protocols to help manage length of stays, which is only 14 days.”

“Our hospital re-admissions is only 10 percent, which is much lower than the typical rate,” Marici said.

Out of the estimated 220 Connecticut nursing homes, only about 56 are 5 Star, according to Segal, who said that number has been decreasing.

“What we are most proud of, however, is a nearly 100 percent patient satisfaction across our long-term care and short-term rehabilitation departments,” Marici said.

He said the staff is “earnest in their goal of providing the most compassionate and competent care.”

Kathleen Horvath, recreation director, emphasized daily resident activities and relationships formed.

“We refer to (residents) as our friends - and that is what they are to all of us,” Horvath said.

Residents remain active, too. Some recently traveled to see a theater production.

“We truly love our residents and enjoy having a relationship with our inpatients and outpatients that lasts for years,” said Jennifer Kolwicz, MS PT, DPT and director of CVHR’s short-term rehabilitation department.

The center’s physical, occupational and speech therapists provide care seven days a week, with individualized treatment plans.

Andrew Matusiak, a licensed social worker from Supportive Care, regularly visits CVHR to execute behavioral programming for residents.

“We work closely with the staff to develop and execute programs to help improve the overall quality of life for residents — from medication management to therapeutic services — we help to properly access and treat anything standing in the way of a resident’s enjoyment of life,” he said.

“In fact, we are currently developing a resident support group to help reduce anxiety and depression during the transition of moving to a skilled care facility and beyond for long term patients,” he related.

Missy Werner said Cindy LeCour, the center’s social services director,” came to (her) immediate rescue on a strategic, financial and emotional level” when her mother was placed in Hospice care at the center.

“The best decision I ever made was to have my mom transferred from a New York hospital to CVHR,” Werner said.

Candlewood Valley Health & Rehabilitation is a 148-bed skilled nursing and rehabilitation facility offering a broad range of heath care services, including but not limited to post-acute care, and short-term inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation and long-term skilled nursing.

The center also has a 42-bed secure unit dedicated to supporting those affected Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive conditions.

For more information about outreach programs, call 860-355-0971, ext. 11, or for a facility tour, call 860-355-0971, ext. 24.