St. Dominic Village unveils new plans, renovations

October 29, 2013

HOUSTON — Every morning across Houston, certified nursing assistants (CNAs), licensed vocational nurses (LVNs) and registered nurses (RNs) are getting families ready for school, packing lunches and then driving or traveling by METRO to St. Dominic Village, a senior care community funded by DSF in the Texas Medical Center. They are not alone as office staff, housekeeping, maintenance, dietary, volunteers and management are all part of the 200 employees fulfilling the Archdiocese mission of serving the elderly.

Founded in 1975, St. Dominic’s Village adopted the phrase “Caring for our elders with the compassion of Christ,” which is pervasive throughout the community. 

As the Houston area’s only Catholic senior housing community, its unique Catholic nature is preserved with daily Mass celebrated at the Warren Chapel, located on the village campus. Residents not strong enough to attend Mass can watch it on the in-house television station.
Although adjacent to the Texas Medical Center, St. Dominic sits on its own 27 acres of lawns and trees.

Designated as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), the facility offers multiple levels of care for its patients and residents. The Independent Living area, The Assisted Living area, and St. Dominic Village Rehabilitation and Nursing Center are all part of the continuum-of-care model. 

The facility is also home to retired priests who can live in an affordable, independent living setting in the Pope John XXIII Residence. 
Lastly, a unique but valuable service is the Angel House program, which gives families of Texas Medical Center patients and outpatients themselves, a place to stay in a low-cost and safe setting.

Renovations of both departments and facilities are underway. A few months ago, the Archdiocese brought in consultants to allow management to step back and take an objective look at how things could improve. In a short period of time, the Archdiocese’s commitment to senior care and to future success resulted in a plan. 

The rehabilitation center, in a bid to become a leader in short-term rehabilitation, is adding a new distinct unit featuring 10 private rooms and four semi-private rooms. A new director of rehabilitation has joined the team and has expanded rehabilitation services to seven days per week. 

Corridors are being painted, interiors are being freshened up, and attention to exterior aesthetics and “first impressions” is a new priority. Residents, families and employees are all being engaged through initiatives, such as Town Hall, resident and family council meetings. 

These have all been reinvigorated with the goal of improving employee morale, as well as improved communications between residents, their families and staff. 

In the Independent and Assisted Living areas, carpets are being cleaned, patios spruced up and increased staffing in some areas is just the beginning. A Memory Care Unit in the Assisted Living Unit is currently being evaluated and will be coming soon. 

Like all areas of health care, finding high-caliber staff is often challenging. At St. Dominic Village, a strong group of seasoned professionals is already in place, and management is constantly on a quest to expand the team. 

The goal going forward is not only to improve quality of care, but to develop people so CNAs are encouraged to become LVNs, LVNs aspire to become an RN and so on.

This is made possible through leadership development programs and tuition reimbursement, which are all part of the new employee benefits package at the facility.

Many non-profits, including religious affiliated, do not accept Medicaid, so residents who have spent all their funds are forced to leave those facilities. At St. Dominic Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, that is not the case. 

Despite Medicaid cuts and resident’s costs being higher than the reimbursement provided, St. Dominic Village offers affordable senior living, with some units starting as low as $1,395 per month.