St. Catherine’s Village Receives CARF Accreditation As Continuing Care Retirement Community

St. Catherine’s Village has once again been issued accreditation from CARF International, an independent, nonprofit accreditor of health and human services. This outstanding achievement is an indication of the Life Plan Community’s dedication and commitment to improving the quality of the lives of the persons it serves.

Effective April 2021 through May 2026, the five-year accreditation acknowledges that St. Catherine’s Village has conformed to a set of internationally recognized standards set forth by CARF. According to survey results, residents, families and staff have expressed high levels of satisfaction with the Life Plan Community, describing a family-like atmosphere. In addition, St. Catherine’s Village’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was swift and well-orchestrated to minimize impact within the Continuing Care Retirement Community. St. Catherine’s Village has demonstrated its ability to grow and adapt to the changing environment and has achieved positive outcomes.

CARF identified the following strengths for St. Catherine’s Village.

St. Catherine’s Village is in a beautiful, pastoral setting in central Mississippi. Established in 1988, the 160-acre campus has evolved to meet the changing needs of residents and staff over the past three decades. The campus is a mixture of both formal and informal outdoor spaces. There are multiple ponds that are used frequently by residents, staff, and (on occasion) family members for fishing and other outdoor recreation. Walking paths are available and accessible for all. Views of the lakes from resident spaces are maximized as much as possible.

All interior spaces at St. Catherine’s Village are light and bright and designed to accommodate the needs of aging seniors. A chapel is available for Catholic and other spiritual services. The stained-glass windows (made by a resident) and the elaborate high-ceiling architecture provide residents, families and staff a beautiful spiritual environment to pray, meditate or attend services; and there is a quarterly celebration of life in the chapel to honor all residents who have recently passed away.

The staff is dedicated to the mission of St. Catherine’s Village. Staff members are committed to providing care and compassion for their residents and described St. Catherine’s Village as a family-like environment. One staff member said, “It is a ministry to many of us.”

The organization’s leadership team is cohesive and enthusiastic about its work. Each member has a firm grasp of the member’s area of expertise and offers up knowledge readily, adding great value to the work of the organization. This was especially evident by leadership’s dedication to the residents’ safety and social well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. Introducing enhanced communications for residents, staff and family members; helping residents with virtual visits, in-house parades, variety shows, and grocery shopping services; opening a dedicated COVID-19 wing; and implementing COVID-19 diets were but a few of the innovative solutions used to combat the negative effects of the pandemic.

Residents appreciate the safety and security provided at all levels of care. The gated entrance is manned 24 hours a day. In interviews with residents, many expressed never feeling the need to lock their doors. The daily check-in for residents living in the garden homes and apartments adds another layer of security for residents and their families.

Residents are highly involved in the life of the community and are supportive of each other. New residents are welcomed through a variety of activities and offerings of food, practical advice, and companionship by existing residents. The Village News, provided by staff on a regular basis, and the Villager, a resident publication, communicate activities and information in a timely manner.

Healthy and delicious meals are served in a variety of dining venues. There is ample space for residents to gather in both small and large groups. Resident feedback is routinely reviewed and acted on by the Food Committee. Catering services are provided for private gatherings, and residents report a high level of satisfaction in these offerings.

Care to residents with cognitive impairment is provided in Campbell Cove, an assisted living facility. Dementia education is provided to staff and residents on a routine basis. Staff do a “journey through life” assessment when residents are admitted to provide care and services that mimic a resident’s normal routine and preferences.

There are multiple settings in which skilled nursing care is provided, including the Hughes Center, which was recently constructed and serves to care for residents in Campbell Cove whose needs exceed what can be provided in the assisted living setting. All rooms have been designed with different levels of lighting to enhance vision and minimize disturbance to residents. Closets are large enough to store adaptive equipment.

Activities provided to residents throughout the continuum by a creative and dedicated staff. While this has been extremely challenging throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, staff has made exceptional efforts to keep residents engaged and connected to family and friends. Support groups have been facilitated through the activities department to address the grief, cognitive stress, and depression that have been exacerbated by the isolation from normal life imposed during this difficult period. Residents and staff are looking forward to a return to getting together to play bridge, bingo, and croquet, as well as to attend club meetings, dine together, and fish in the ponds.

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