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Nursing Home Ratings — Have You Checked?

Placing a beloved family member in a nursing facility is a major step that most families take with apprehension. There are so many stories of harm to elders due to abuse or neglect that it’s natural to hesitate. But most families simply cannot dedicate the time, nor do they have the expertise, required to care for a sick or unwell senior. It’s vitally important to investigate the facility to which you entrust your elder loved one. One tool that’s available is the website Medicaid.gov, which features a rating system for nursing facilities throughout the country called Nursing Home Compare.

Nursing Home Compare allows you to search and compare nursing homes in your area. It features a five star rating system and draws on reliable data from two sources:

  • Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — The CMS health inspection database tracks nursing home characteristics and health deficiencies from state inspections and complaint investigations. CMS also records staffing issues and penalties assessed against nursing homes.
  • Minimum Data Set — This national database collects assessments that certified nursing homes perform at regular intervals on every resident's health, physical functioning, mental status and general well-being.

Nursing Home Compare rates nursing homes across three categories:

  • Health inspections
  • Staffing
  • Quality measures

Each category gets a star rating out of a maximum of five, and an overall rating when the categories are combined. The rating system is a useful tool for measuring nursing home quality, but it only provides a snap shot. It’s still important to do your own research, including a visit to the nursing home and talking to the care providers.

When making a decision for your elder loved one’s health and welfare, the more information you can gather, the better. But even after you made a decision on a facility, you must remain vigilant. Visit frequently and develop relationships with your loved one’s caregivers. If you suspect mistreatment or substandard care, bring it to the administrator’s attention immediately, then contact an experienced elder attorney.

If you fear mistreatment of your elder loved one, Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban can investigate nursing home abuse or neglect, and fight for compensation. Call us at (866) 866-8387 or contact our office online.

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