By Steve Moran

The short answer is: I don’t know but I hope so!

You might be most familiar with Joint Commission for Accreditation of acute care hospitals, with more than 80% of all hospitals being accredited by The Joint Commission. They also do accreditation for a number of related healthcare service providers including skilled nursing. Though only a number of nursing homes are accredited (less than 500).

A few months ago they announced they were going to begin accrediting assisted living communities. Then on Friday, September 16, they announced the accreditation of The SelfHelp assisted living community, which is part of The Selfhelp CCRC in the Chicago area.

The SelfHelp Home

The SelfHelp Home was founded in 1938 under the cloud of the Nazi regime as a volunteer mutual aid society for refugees and survivors to find community and build a new life in America. They became a “Home” in 1951 when they purchased the old Drexel Mansion in Hyde Park.

They were and are Jewish people helping Jewish people.

Today they serve 144 residents with 72 independent and assisted living apartments and a capacity of 72 in their skilled subacute nursing section.

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Sheila Bogan the executive director, Efrat Dallal, chief marketing officer, and Anne Marie “Raclyn” Cauinian, director of nursing, about getting accredited. Here is some of what they had to say:

  • They have been rated 5 stars by CMS for eight years.
  • They have been recognized each year as an outstanding nursing home by US News and World Reports.
  • Three years ago, they decided to take the additional step of applying for Joint Commission accreditation for their nursing home.
  • For their board and leadership, this was all about setting their own standards at the highest level, then achieving those goals.
  • As they looked at their assisted living residents, it was clear that they were frailer and had more medical needs than ever before. They were looking more and more like nursing home residents in earlier years.

    So when the Joint Commission opened up accreditation, they jumped on the opportunity.
  • While it took tremendous effort, it did help that the nursing home was already accredited. 
  • They then worked with Kathleen O’Connor and Suzanne Armstrong at Achieve Accreditation to get ready.

The Goal

I asked them why they did this. It takes some effort and costs some money. Here is what they told me. It was all about being the best they could possibly be, setting the highest possible bar. It is all about saying to residents, prospective residents, and family members, “we are the best of the best. We will provide great care and high quality of life for you and your loved one.”

They continue to proudly and lovingly serve the Jewish community in the Chicago area including 11 or so holocaust survivors.

The SelfHelp Home is now on my list of communities I have to visit. 

Congratulations on this amazing achievement.