Happy Birthday America!

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FOURTH OF JULY FUN! Columbia Basin Care celebrated the national holiday by taking part in The Dalles Independence Day Parade. Wearing stars, stripes and colorful hats, residents and staff loaded up the shuttle bus and cheered for freedom and fun.

We Like Visitors!

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Want to brighten a day? Visit us!

We love special guests and visitors of all ages. Please drop by for a one-time visit, a weekly call, or a monthly event. Just a bit of your time and attention makes a big difference.

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AT PLAY: Youngsters from the neighborhood preschool visit Columbia Basin Care each week.

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SING A SONG: Hardshell Harmony brings musical cheer to Columbia Basin Care.

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SUNNY DAYS: A small child brings big smiles to residents and staff at Columbia Basin Care.


STAR POWER: Pianist Rule Beasley and singer Lloyd Walworth entertain residents and staff.

A Note of Thanks

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letter from residentWe love letters.

This one is from a resident who recently returned home:

“I’d like to give special thanks for good care from nurses like Pat, and all the rest that I do not know names, and all the therapy people that helped me so much with my exercises that I really needed. . . I give special thanks to Alesia O’Brien for the way she is helping the people with entertainment in all ways. It helped me pass the time. I enjoyed all the activities very much. . . .

Good job everyone. Thank you very much.”



For Profit. Not-for-Profit. What’s the Difference?

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Quick question: You’re choosing a nursing home for someone you love. Do you pick an independent non-profit facility, or a large for-profit chain?

What you choose can make a big difference.

Studies show not-for-profit nursing homes offer higher quality of care. An analysis of 82 studies comparing quality of care in for-profit and not-for-profit nursing facilities reported that nearly all the studies found higher quality, higher staffing, and fewer pressure sores in not-for-profit facilities.

The thorough review involved thousands of U.S. nursing homes and compared quality-of-care measurements in 82 individual studies that collected data from 1965 to 2003.

“The results are unequivocal and completely consistent with other studies comparing for-profit versus nonprofit care,” said Dr. Gordon Guyatt, author of the study, and a leader in evidence-based medicine.

This is good news for not-for-profit facilities such as Columbia Basin Care in The Dalles, but bad news for people living in areas with limited choices in facilities. In the U.S., nearly all nursing homes — 70 percent — are for-profit facilities, according to the Center for Disease Control.

In Oregon that number is even higher: 80 percent of nursing homes operate as for-profit facilities, with just 17 percent operating as not-for-profits, and 3 percent government-owned.

At the same time, Oregon’s elderly population is growing rapidly. By 2030, the number of people over age 85 — the age group most likely to need long-term care services — is expected to grow 66 percent.

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only community-owned, not-for-profit skilled nursing facility. Founded in 1964, Columbia Basin Care has served the community for over 50 years and employs over 80 people.

The long-term care facility is run by a volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of individuals who live and work in The Dalles. Aidan Health Services, a management company, provides oversight and support. While Wasco County owns the building and grounds, Columbia Basin is an independent compa­ny with local control and decision-making authority. As a non-profit, there are no owners or investors, and funds are dedicated to facility upgrades and staff improvements to increase quality of life for residents.

“This is our community, our neighbors, and our families,” says Valerie Hiveley-Blatz, a geriatric nurse practitioner who serves as primary care provider for residents at Columbia Basin Care. “We get to know and care for every resident on an individual level. Our office is here, so we are able to respond to any need quickly. And every person here, from nurses to aides to the kitchen and housekeeping crew, wants what’s best for the residents.”

Most experts agree that a quality facility is based on staffing levels, and note that for-profit facilities — and particularly large corporate chains — often cut corners to save money and boost profits.

Nurses working in nonprofit nursing homes were significantly more satisfied with their jobs, according to a study of 900 registered nurses working in 300 skilled nursing facilities. A similar study show certified nursing assistants were more satisfied and preferred working in non-profit facilities.

“The for-profits don’t have enough staff,” said Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the Center for Medicare Advocacy. Non-profits, he says, “staff at a higher level, and that’s why their care is generally better.”

Aubree Olmstead, executive director of Columbia Basin Care, acknowledges the gap. “The care and concern for our residents is genuine, and that makes such a difference,” she says.


Paint On!



paint---alesiapaint---canvasPaint Day is one of our most popular activities — bringing residents, nurses, and volunteers together for creative fun.

With the help of staff and volunteers, residents are guided through step-by-step painting instructions, often with stellar results.

Want to join the fun? We’re seeking volunteers to help us find our inner artists.

Discover the joy and fulfillment of working with the elderly. To learn more, drop by or call, 541-296-2156.

Aubree Olmstead named Executive Director


4525-AubreeColumbia Basin Care is happy to welcome Aubree Olmstead as executive director of Columbia Basin Care, the only community-owned, not-for-profit skilled nursing facility in the Columbia River Gorge.

An Oregon native, Olmstead is a graduate of Oregon State University where she earned a degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Management and Policy, and a minor in Business.

“I have a passion for geriatrics,” she says. “Long-term care is a critical part of the health system. How we treat our elderly is a direct reflection of who we are, and what we value.”

Born and raised in Hood River, Aubree is happy to return to the Gorge, where she will lead a facility of over 60 residents and more than 80 employees.

“My roots are here,” says Olmstead. “I wanted to return home to make a difference in the community I love.”

Olmstead spent nearly a year immersed in the operations of Columbia Basin Care, gaining first-hand knowledge and critical experience in every aspect of the facility, from food service to billing, nursing to activities, housekeeping to transportation and more.

Olmstead is especially drawn to Columbia Basin’s personal approach. “I get to spend one-on-one time in building relationships with residents, their families, and our staff,” she says. “We get to know each other, and create meaningful connections and experiences.”

Situated on nearly five acres, Columbia Basin is located in the sunny climate of The Dalles, just over an hour east of Portland. Founded in 1964, the facility has been in service to the community for over 50 years.

Columbia Basin Care offers the area’s only on-site geriatric nurse practitioner; Valerie Hiveley-Blatz is an in-house primary care provider, specializing in geriatrics. In addition, a team of on-site, licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists provide comprehensive rehabilitation and restorative services and are equipped with top therapy technology such as the Omni VR (virtual reality), as well as electric, ultrasound and thermal therapy.


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BINGO CALLS: Alesia, Activity Director, leads residents in the game.

Bingo is one of the most popular activities at Columbia Basin Care. It’s in such demand we offer the game three days each week. We play for small prizes and pocket change, but mostly we play to keep the mind sharp and the chance to visit with our neighbors.

And what looks like a breezy game of chance is really an exercise of the mind and body. Through Bingo, residents practice motor skills, eye and hand coordination, visual cues, listening skills — all while boosting social interaction and mood.

Want to get in the game? Volunteers are always welcome. Call or drop by for a visit. We’d love to play a game (or two, or ten!) with you.


BINGO!: Lucille is a winner.

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GET IN THE GAME: Alesia and Ashley keeps the game lighthearted and fun.







Easter Fun


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Easter is for all ages! When it comes to decorating eggs, the heart is young and the hands are able. Residents at Columbia Basin Care enjoy the small actions that trigger memories and deliver joy.

Youngsters Bring Smiles

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sittin pretty - head start coloring w head start kids Columbia Basin Care has been enjoying visits from our next-door neighbors: children from Head Start! Filling the halls with laughter and smiles, these youngsters bring a wonderfully contagious joy. We like visitors! Thank you, Head Start, for brightening our days.