Sprenger Health Care Bluffton Named 2022 Silver Award Winner for “Best Nursing Home”

Sprenger Health Care Bluffton has been named the 2022 Silver Award Winner for “Best Nursing Home” by in The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette.

Members of the community voted for Sprenger Health Care Bluffton online as part of the publications’
2022 Lowcountry’s Best Competition. The annual competition relies on the support of the community to
cast their votes in order to highlight the very best of area businesses across multiple industries.

Sprenger Health Care Bluffton is proud to be selected by the community and looks forward to continuing
helping community members stay active, be social and “live their best life” through its skilled nursing,
long-term care, respite care, assisted living, memory care and rehabilitation services.

For information about the facility, please contact our Sprenger Bluffton Admissions Team at (843) 548-

New at Smithville Western: On-Site NxStage Hemodialysis

Sprenger Healthcare’s Smithville Western campus is excited to announce the addition of NxStage Hemodialysis directly at our facility – without having to be transported to an off-site location.

Residents can benefit from on-site hemodialysis 4-5 days per week vs. the conventional 3 days per week in-center. This means shorter treatments, no need for transportation, and more time for rehabilitation and socialization. Treatments are performed in as little as 2-3 hours, per session, in our exclusive den. More frequent hemodialysis treatment reduces the amount of time there is for fluid and toxins to build-up between treatments, resulting in an overall healthier, happier resident. 

Since frequent hemodialysis mimics how healthy kidneys function, residents typically experience the following health benefits after treatment:

  • Increased energy and vitality
  • Improved appetite
  • Fewer cardiac-related hospitalizations
  • A decrease in the number of medications taken
  • A reduction in the amount of stress placed on the heart
  • Improved survival
Howie and Marge Walch celebrate 65th anniversary at Anchor Lodge

It is not every day a couple celebrates 65 years of marriage, but at Sprenger Health Care Anchor Lodge a couple got to celebrate theirs. Howie and Marge Walch celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on June 11th, 2020 at Sprenger Health Care Anchor Lodge. The couple met at Howie’s cousin’s wedding, while they were both dating other people. Howie and Marge dated for two years before getting married on June 11th, 1955, and went on to have three children and nine grandchildren. 500 of their friends and family were in attendance at their wedding in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. The couple had plans to celebrate this milestone with their family at Olive Garden, their favorite restaurant but due to the global pandemic, those plans had to change. The Anchor Lodge staff decided they needed to make the day special for the Walch’s. There was sparkling cider, cake, a toast, and the presentation of a wall canvas the staff made to honor 65 years of love. Tears were shed as the couple sang their wedding song, My Happiness by Connie Francis to one another and their daughter surprised them and joined the celebration of her parents’ love through the facility window. When asked what makes a marriage last Howie responded “A good woman.” The 65th wedding anniversary is represented by the blue sapphire which symbolizes wisdom, virtue, and holiness. It is not every day you get to be a part of a celebration so special and filled with love, but the Anchor Lodge staff was able to make the couple feel as special as possible on this monumental day.

Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll Earns AHCA/NCAL 2018 Bronze National Quality Award

TALLMADGE, OHIO – Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll Nursing & Rehabilitation has been recognized as a 2018 recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award for its commitment to improving the lives of residents through quality care. The distinction is the first of three progressive award levels through the National Quality Award Program, presented by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), the leading association for long term and post-acute care. The program honors association members across the country that have demonstrated their dedication to improving quality of care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

“We are honored to be recognized for our commitment to improving residents’ lives through quality care at Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll,” said Kevin Kauffman, Vice President of Operations for Sprenger Healthcare. “Working together to reach this milestone has made our team even better. We will never stop improving.”

The National Quality Award Program has three levels: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Providers begin the quality improvement process at the Bronze level, where they develop an organizational profile with essential performance elements such as vision, mission statement, and key strengths and challenges. Bronze applicants must also demonstrate their ability to implement a performance improvement system. Trained Examiners review each Bronze application to determine if the center has met the demands of the criteria. As a recipient of the Bronze – Commitment to Quality Award, Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll may now move forward in developing approaches and achieving performance levels that meet the Silver – Achievement in Quality Award criteria.

“I applaud Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll for taking this important step towards quality improvement,” said the AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Board of Overseers Chair Alana Wolfe. “I encourage Sprenger Health Care Heather Knoll to continue on its path to achieving superior outcomes.”

The awards will be presented during AHCA/NCAL’s 69th Annual Convention and Exposition in San Diego, California, October 7-10, 2018.

About Sprenger Healthcare

Sprenger Healthcare is a leading developer, owner and operator of senior living communities in Ohio, Indiana, and South Carolina. Through our 12 communities encompassing nearly 2,000 beds, we provide exceptional health care services for the aging, including long-term nursing care, assisted and independent living, memory care, hospice, respite care and short-term post-acute rehabilitation.

From a small family-owned nursing facility to an expansive enterprise employing 2,000 professionals, Sprenger Healthcare is actively growing and adapting to the ever-changing needs of the communities we serve. With a strong focus on innovation and quality, Sprenger’s third generation is building a legacy while maintaining the same philosophy of personalized care initially established by Grace Sprenger in 1959.


The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) represent more than 13,600 non-profit and proprietary skilled nursing centers, assisted living communities, sub-acute centers and homes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. By delivering solutions for quality care, AHCA/NCAL aims to improve the lives of the millions of frail, elderly and individuals with disabilities who receive long term or post-acute care in our member facilities each day. For more information, please visit www.ahca.org or www.ncal.org.

We’re Looking for a Holiday Star!

We’re looking for a HOLIDAY STAR!

Give back in the spirit of the season and WIN!

Sprenger Healthcare is holding a company-wide competition between facilities and individuals! We want to see you get into the spirit of the holiday and new year by giving back to your community! The facility and individual with the most memorable holiday deed will be rewarded! Work together and on your own.

Contest will run Dec. 9th thru Jan. 31st

Chosen facility wins a catered lunch/dinner for all staff! Individual winner gets a $100 gift card AND $100 donated to a charity of choice!

Winners will also be featured on the Sprenger website and a press release will go out to local newspapers!

What can you do?

  • Fundraise for a cause
  • Volunteer your time
  • “Adopt” a family or child in need
  • Participate in a fundraising event
  • Collect canned foods, coats, toys or other items
How to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s

Many people think that all you can do when it comes to Alzheimer’s Disease is pray for the best. However, research suggests you may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, slow down the disease or even reverse its effects.

In 2014, an estimated 5.3 million Americans were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. The average onset of the disease occurs around the age of 65 years or older and 75 percent of those diagnosed are women. Due to increased life expectancy and population growth, it is expected the number of people diagnosed will reach upwards of 7.1 million by the year 2025 unless a preventative cure is found.

Alzheimer’s Disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. While those diagnosed with the disease typically live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable, survival can range from 4 to 20 years depending on age and the interaction of other medical conditions.

It is important to emphasize that although there is currently no known cure for Alzheimer’s Disease, there are things we can do to reduce our risk. It is believed that the majority of Alzheimer’s cases occur due things we cannot control, specifically age, family history and heredity.

The good news is that research has indicated making changes in general lifestyle and wellness choices, as well as proactive management of other health conditions can be beneficial in reducing that risk. The Alzheimer’s Association provides the following research-based guidelines to reduce the risk of developing the disease:

  • Avoid head trauma: Studies found there may be a strong link between serious head injury and risk of Alzheimer’s. Avoid head trauma by wearing a helmet when participating in sports, wearing your seatbelt and avoiding falls.
  • Monitor heart health: Evidence shows your heart health can directly affect brain health. Your heart nourishes your brain with its network of blood vessels. The risk of Alzheimer’s appears to increase in individuals with conditions that damage the heart blood vessels, such as diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. Work with your doctor to monitor your heart health and treat any problems that arise.
  • Live a healthy lifestyle: Using strategies for overall healthy again may also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. This includes watching your weight, staying social, exercising your mind, staying fit and avoiding excess alcohol and tobacco.

Improved understanding about this disease and methods to prevent controllable risks can facilitate better health. Should you have concerns related to any of the symptoms described above be sure to contact your doctor.  You can also visit the Alzheimer’s Association website for information concerning the disease and how loved ones can provide support.

Author: Nancy Dawkins, SLP

Caring for your skin and feet as you age

It’s extremely important to take care of your skin – after all, it’s your body’s largest organ. Dr. Ferraro, President and CEO of Comprehensive Surgical Wound Care Consultants (CSWCC), recently shared tips for skin care as you age during an informative talk at Rose Lane Nursing and Rehabilitation. If you missed his presentation, don’t worry – we have the information for you!

Your skin plays a large role in the function of your body, as it offers protection to your internal organs, regulates your body temperature, communicates sensation, and balances your fluids and electrolytes.

As you age, you may notice a difference in the appearance of your skin; however, there’s more going on than cosmetic changes. Underneath the surface, more serious changes take place over time, including:

  • Loss of dermal thickness – Your skin gets thinner and is more prone to tears.
  • Decrease in fatty layer underneath skin – Your body can’t hold in heat as well.
  • A lesser amount of collagen fibers – This affects the elasticity of your skin.
  • Decline in the number and function of sweat glands – Not enough sweat causes dry skin.
  • Changes in blood vessels – Your skin has a lower blood supply, which causes decreased healing properties.

Skin care tips

How can you take care of your skin and combat these changes as you age? Most people already know to use moisturizing cream and avoid exposure from the sun to keep your skin healthy. However, here are some tips from Dr. Ferraro you may not already know:

  • Avoid baths: A prolonged period of soak time is not good for your skin, as it drains your oil glands and causes dry skin.
  • Avoid lotions with lanolin for daily use: Lanolin is an ingredient in some lotions that can build up actually cause breakdown of skin, if used daily.
  • Do not use band aids: Seniors should avoid using band aids, or any other adhesive on your skin, as this can cause tearing. Consult your doctor on how to properly dress a wound.

Foot care tips

When taking care of your skin, you should pay extra attention to your feet. Your feet are very vulnerable to injury, which can be high risk for seniors. With a decreased blood supply to your feet as you age, the healing properties are diminished and a simple foot ulcer can lead to amputation and even death. Older adults are also at risk of Neuropathy, which can cause loss of feeling or weakness in hands and feet. This is a common cause of foot injury.

We want to help you keep your feet in top shape and injury-free. Follow these tips for taking care of your feet:

  • Inspect your feet daily: Everyone should inspect their feet as they get older on a daily basis – especially people diagnosed with diabetes. When inspecting your feet, check for any discoloration. This could mean there is a deep tissue injury from pressure. Consult your doctor if you see any discoloration or any other wounds.
  • Choose the correct type of shoes: Choose comfortable shoes made of soft leather or athletic material. You should never wear a new pair of shoes for more than two hours at a time and you should always inspect your feet after wearing a new pair of shoes. Take extra precautions when wearing sandals or open toed shoes.
  • Choose the correct socks: You should always wear socks with your shoes. When choosing socks, avoid synthetic materials and wear cotton or nonirritating blends. Additionally, pay attention to the fit of the top of your socks. Tight fitting socks can cause pressure ulcers on your ankles or legs.

Visit your doctor regularly and ask what you can do to care for your skin. Seniors should have their feet checked each time they visit their doctor. See your doctor right away if you develop an area of skin with poor color, a blister, a callus or a sore.

Dr. Ferraro provides wound care at three of our Sprenger Health Care communities: Rose Lane Nursing and Rehabilitation, Grande Village Retirement Village, and Heather Knoll Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Vitamin D’s Role in Reducing Osteoarthritis Knee Pain and Preventing Fall

By: Phyllis J. Molnar, R.D., L.D. 

Reducing the pain from osteoarthritis in our knees and preventing falls are two important concerns for seniors. Research indicates that vitamin D may help with both.

Arthritis pain

In a recent study, adults with low blood levels of vitamin D were shown to have significantly more osteoarthritis knee pain than adults with healthy vitamin D levels.

Aging and carrying extra weight are prime factors in knee osteoarthritis pain.  When researchers increased the study participants’ vitamin D levels to normal, they experienced significantly less osteoarthritis knee pain—in spite of the fact that they were older and overweight.

Those with higher vitamin D levels were also better able to walk, had better balance and had an easier time getting up from a chair than participants with low vitamin D levels.

Preventing falls

Falls are the major cause of injury mortality in Americans over 65 years of age. 

Studies have shown that persons with low serum (blood) levels of vitamin D of less than 30 ng/mL (75nmol/L) have increased balance problems, more muscle weakness and an increased rate of falling.

Whereas, participants having an average vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL (75nmol/L) experienced significantly fewer falls and bone fractures.

Source of information: The American Geriatrics Society’s 2014 consensus statement, “Vitamin D for Prevention of Falls and Their Consequence in Older Adults.”

Vitamin D sources

Achieving a vitamin D level greater than 30 ng/mL (75nmol/L) can be difficult without taking a vitamin D supplement –especially for seniors.

Foods alone cannot provide sufficient vitamin D. Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D.  Studies have found that persons who spend most of their day indoors have low levels of vitamin D.

And as we age, our skin cannot produce vitamin D as efficiently from the sunlight and our kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form.

Therefore, most seniors need a vitamin D supplement to achieve optimal vitamin D blood levels.

Vitamin D supplements

Only your doctor can determine the correct dose of vitamin D for you based on your current vitamin D level, daily sun exposure, age, weight, medical conditions and medications.

Obesity increases the amount of vitamin D needed. Persons with malabsorption conditions such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, cystic fibrosis and other inflammatory bowel diseases need larger doses of vitamin D.  Medications that block fat absorption, such as cholestyramine and others, also increase the need for vitamin D.

Increasing vitamin D absorption

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, so we need fat to help absorb it. Studies have shown that taking a vitamin D supplement with a meal containing significant fat or oil increases its absorption by 32 percent.

Many people take their vitamins with breakfast. A breakfast of cereal, fruit and milk contains little fat. Thus, little vitamin D will be absorbed. Instead, take a vitamin D supplement with a meal containing more fat such as supper or lunch. Never take vitamin D with water between meals.

Facts about Vitamin D

  • In northern Ohio, we can only make vitamin D from the sun during the late spring, summer and early fall.
  • Vitamin D is made from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) B rays.
  • Complete cloud cover reduces UVB exposure by 50 percent.
  • Shade (including that produced by severe air pollution) reduces it by 60 percent.
  • UVB rays do not penetrate through clothing, glass windows or sunscreens with a sun protection of 8 or more.
  • The skin may produce approximately 20,000 IU vitamin D in response to 20 to 30 minutes of unobstructed summer sun exposure.  The body can store vitamin D.
  • You cannot get too much vitamin D from excessive sun exposure.  Sustained heat on the skin degrades (breaks down) vitamin D.
  • Persons who are obese typically have lower blood vitamin D since vitamin D gets trapped in body fat and is unavailable for use. 
  • One 8 ounce glass of milk contains only 100 IU of added vitamin D.
  • Yogurts and most cheeses are made with milk which is not fortified with vitamin D.
  • Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, with the exception of canned salmon (processing with heat removes some water, concentrating the vitamin D).

Salmon Tetrazzini

4 ounces spaghetti

1 can (14.75 ounces) salmon

Low-fat milk (about 1 ½ cups)

2 Tbsp. canola oil

2 Tbsp. flour

¼ tsp. salt

Dash of pepper and nutmeg

2 Tbsp. red wine

Sliced mushrooms (1 small can or 4 fresh), optional


2 Tbsp. dry bread crumbs mixed with 2 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain. Set aside.

Drain canned salmon reserving liquid in a 2 cup measuring cup.

Add enough milk to make 2 cups of liquid.

In a bowl, break up salmon into large pieces and crush bones. (Do not discard bones)

In a large saucepan, heat oil. Using a whisk, stir in flour, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Add salmon-milk liquid all at once.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture thickens and is bubbly.

Add 2 Tbsp. wine. Stir in cooked spaghetti, mushrooms and salmon.

Pour into 1 quart casserole dish. Top with bread crumb-Parmesan cheese mixture.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Nutrition note:  Fresh fish is significantly lower in vitamin D. During the heating process of canning, water is evaporated, concentrating the amount of vitamin D per serving in the fish.

By Phyllis J. Molnar, R.D., L.D. 

Registered Dietitian

Elyria City Health District