Compare Nursing Homes

By Judy Maloney RN

New health data provided by the government shows that CARE QUALITY in skilled nursing homes across the United States is improving!  Ratings of 4- and 5-stars have increased about 4%, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), after studying and surveying over 15,000 care facilities in America, showing improvement in care quality and staffing.

They report improvements in customer satisfaction, staff satisfaction, and in almost all meaningful quality measures in long term and post-acute care.

5-star scores (providing quality “much above” average) according to www.medicare.gov/nhcompare are based on 3 areas, including Quality Measures (QM), Staffing, and Health Inspections. 5-star ratings were granted to 16% of nursing homes in the US, and 27% received 4-star ratings, 41% received 2 or 3-star ratings, and 16% were 1-star (“much below” average quality delivered). It showed that for the most part, Non-Profit facilities rated better, especially in the Staffing category, and the smaller the nursing home, the better the rating.

On the Nursing Home Compare website, it will ask you to enter the names of the facilities you want to compare or the zip codes and state. You can find the names and zip codes of nursing homes in the state you’re interested in comparing at www.assistedcarefacilities.net and enter the information into the required fields on the Medicare website. It will list these different categories with how each facility rated: Overall, Health Inspections, Nursing Home Staffing, Quality Measures, Program Participation (Medicare and/or Medicaid), Type of Owner (for-profit, non-profit, LLC, etc.). Each category has a place to click on “What Is This?” which may be helpful, to understand more about each topic. It also offers information on “Resident and Family Council” for each facility. You can choose up to 3 nursing homes to compare at a time.

Remember, comparing the star-ratings of these care facilities is NOT a replacement for a visit, but it does give you an idea of how each nursing home rates according to this system. For more information on ideas on visiting a care home, check out “Tips on Touring” on www.assistedcarefacilities.net/blog . Please write on the blog under “What’s Your View?” if you have an opinion or had experience with any care home.

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