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Hanceville Nursing and Rehab Center named Alabama's top nursing home

Cullman Times - 7/14/2022

Jul. 14—Donna Guthrie always knew the Hanceville-based nursing home her father started half a century ago was a special place. Now, thanks to national recognition as the top facility of its kind in Alabama, others do, too.

"My father was an only child, and he started this place because of the experience he had in wanting to care for his mother," says Guthrie, the current administrator for the Hanceville Nursing and Rehab Center. "That was his focus: His saying was, in every service meeting and staff meeting, to 'Treat each patient as if they were your own mom and daddy.'"

It's a core value that's yielded big benefits for the 208-bed nursing home and the local community it serves. In partnership with global research data firm Statista, Newsweek magazine has just ranked Hanceville Nursing and Rehab Center Inc. as the best nursing home in the state. It's the second time is as many years that the nursing home has taken home the magazine's best-in-state recognition.

Guthrie learned of the new ranking not through any official contact at the magazine, but rather because people spotted the accompanying Newsweek article and started sending their best wishes. "We got a congratulatory email from someone, but it wasn't from Newsweek. It was someone else — maybe an insurance company!" she says.

To assess the best nursing homes in the 25 most populous U.S. states, Newsweek and Statista relied on criteria in three areas: "overall performance data, peer recommendations and each facility's handling of COVID-19, relative to in-state competition," according to the magazine's report.

To this day, the facility Jim B. Moody first opened in 1965 has remained family-owned. That's a rarity, says Guthrie, in a present-day medical landscape that largely favors corporate ownership. "There're only a couple of us left in this state, but my father first built it — and it's still owned by the Moody family.

"Back then, he had complained several times about the care his mother was getting when she was in a nursing home," explains Guthrie. "He was told, 'If you don't like, it build your own.' Well, that was back in a time when you could actually do that. He didn't have any money; I think he said that he walked out of one bank and right across the street into another. When he finally opened, he started with a 40-bed facility. We have grown through the years, and we're at 208 beds today."

The nursing home is currently in the early stages of erecting a new expansion that will make room for a new slate of services, while opening space in the existing main facility to accommodate more long-term residents.

"We're in the process of building a new rehab wing," says Guthrie. "It will be a 36-bed skilled short term therapy wing with a new therapy gym, and we will be able to offer outpatient physical therapy when it is opened. The good thing about the new wing is that it's going to have really nice accommodations, while we also get to take 36 semi-private rooms and have them become private rooms. That will increase the total of private rooms in our main building to more than 120."

Guthrie says her father's guiding ethos remains a cornerstone for everyone at the nursing home when it comes to compassionately approaching patient care. "We've held onto that through the years," she says. "It's on T-shirts. It's on letterheads. We even have it framed and it's in the hallway. If we practice that, and keep it center focused for us — then we're gonna be alright, I think."


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